What can you count on this winter? The recent polar vortex, extreme cold temperatures, and persistent winter storms are going to hike up your electric bills. “Electricity prices jumped last month by more than 50 percent on average in the Capital Region and statewide, fueled by cold winter weather and surging demand for natural gas, which is used to generate much of the state’s electricity as well as for heating,” The Times Union reports. Here’s what to expect, and what you can do to save money on electricity:
Electric Bills Skyrocket Thanks to Extreme Cold and Winter Storms
“In New York, a megawatt-hour of electricity (enough to power 1,000 average homes for an hour), sold into the ISO for $66.39 in December, up 53 percent from the month before, when it sold for $43.27, according to NYISO. During that same period, the price of natural gas in the state spiked by 46 percent,” according to The Times Union. Prospects (and electricity rates) aren’t much better in other states. All 50 states reported freezing temperatures at some point during the recent polar vortex, The Guardian adds. Cranking up the heat, wherever you live, is likely to impact your electric and utility bills.
How to Save Money on Electricity
There are ways to save on electric bills — even when you’re using more heat. First and foremost, compare electric providers to get the best rates. Some electric utility suppliers offer discounted rates, different payment plans, or incentives for using clean and/or green energy. For example, consumers may be able to pay less by locking electricity prices at a certain rate (rates normally fluctuate based on demand for electricity and natural gas).
Consumers with especially high bills may want to consider asking a professional to audit their home. Energy audits pinpoint problems, or areas in your home where you are losing heat and energy, and often suggest steps for improvement. Your electricity provider or local weatherization and energy office should be able to recommend the best professional to get the job done.
Don’t be surprised if frigid temperatures hike up your energy bills, and don’t pay more than you have to. Compare electric providers and make home improvements to keep electricity bills reasonable and relatively inexpensive. To learn more, read this.