The effect of the cold weather on electric bills

Posted on Feb 18 2024 in Bartholomew County REMC

Were you surprised when you opened your last REMC bill? Cold weather can mean a more expensive winter bill, especially for those who heat with electricity. Unfortunately, the cold experienced by most of the country in mid-January will significantly affect electric bills received in February.

Frigid temperatures require more energy use

To keep your house at the desired temperature, more energy is used for each degree the temperature drops outside; if your electricity usage doubles, your bill doubles. Remember, every degree you can decrease your thermostat saves you 2% on your bill.

Temperatures this winter

It’s been colder since December, but we sometimes forget how cold it’s been when the bill gets to your home.

  • December: the average high temperature was 47 F, and the low temperatures were an average of 33 F.
  • January 1-19: the average high was 33 F, and the average low was 22 F.

Electric heat customers

If you have electric heat or a heat pump with an electric heat backup, you will see a use increase from the cold temperatures. The increase will be based on how insulated and airtight your house is and the efficiency of your HVAC unit.

Gas heat customers

Even customers with natural gas or propane furnaces most likely have an electric starter and fan on their furnaces. When the temperatures are colder, the gas furnace engages the starter more often, and the electric fan runs more frequently.

Other appliances use more energy in the cold

Outdoor hot tubs, for example, are out in the cold and are set to maintain a specific temperature. The hot tub will use more energy and run more frequently as the temperature drops to keep the water from freezing.

If you are plugging in a truck, semi, or bus with a block heater. The cost of the heater will run about $0.11 an hour.

Space heaters can also raise electric bills. Use them strategically to keep the room you’re in warm, and turn down your furnace thermostat to accommodate for the additional electric use. Remember, regardless of the brand or design, space heaters cost $0.16 an hour to run.

BCREMC has programs to save you money. A few that could help you this winter include:

  • A rebate on a new, energy-efficient heating and cooling system with a higher SEER rating.
  • A tune-up on your HVAC system will ensure it works as well as it can, and don’t forget to replace that furnace filter often.

We can help

BCREMC offers several payment options, and payment assistance programs are available in the area to help you manage your electric bills. Indiana Winter Assistance programs are available for members who qualify.