The record-setting cold temperatures this month has kept most of us indoors and looking for ways to stay warm.  Please be aware that you may see higher-than-normal electric bills, which begs the question:  “Why does my bill go up when it’s cold outside?

  1. It’s a frigid fact that you use more energy in cold weather.
  2. In cold weather, your heating system works much harder to keep your home comfortable.  Even if you don’t change your thermostat setting, it runs longer to heat your home.  And if it’s an older furnace or heat system, it may have to work harder to keep you warm enough to combat those bone-chilling temperatures we experienced.  About half of our home energy costs comes from heating and cooling our homes.  We recommend keeping your thermostat set to 76°F in the summer and 68°F in the winter.  In the extreme summer heat and cold winter months, it takes more energy to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.  You can't control the weather, but you can control your thermostat, which has a big effect on your bill.  You can expect a 3 percent to 5 percent increase in energy use for every degree you set the thermostat lower in the summer and higher in the winter.
  3. Even gas heating systems use electricity to power the fan and distribute the warm air.
  4. You may have also used space heaters and electric blankets more than usual, which can consume a lot of energy when left on for hours.