Understand Your Usage
Cold Weather Impacts on Energy Use
The Polar Vortex brought extreme cold temperatures to the Northeast
During the week of January 28, frigid air from the polar vortex in the Midwest traveled into the Northeast bringing below normal temperatures.
Electric usage varies from day to day and month to month, depending upon a variety of factors including your daily habits, the weather, and the time of year. An increase in your electric usage could be caused by a variety of factors:
Bills may be higher during the winter months, due to both the increased energy requirements for home heating and fewer daylight hours, resulting in increased use of lighting.
Changes in the Weather
Your heating system is the largest energy user in your home. As the weather gets colder the heating system operates longer, increasing your bill. If you use an energy-efficient heat pump, your electric bill will be higher. Be sure to review operating instructions for maximum efficiency.
A sudden spike in energy usage may indicate a repair problem with an appliance, heating system, or water heater. A spike can also be caused by a period of very cold weather in the winter. Don't forget that since billing cycles are about a month long, sometimes it can be a few weeks before the effect of really cold weather will be seen on your bill.
An Empty House
If your home is empty for extended periods of time during the winter, you won't necessarily use less electricity. Your daily activities when you are at home generate a fair amount of heat. When you are gone the lack of activity means your heating system must work harder to keep the house warm.
A Full House
If the number of people living in your home increases, your energy use can go up. More people means more showers, cooking and laundry, which can significantly increase your energy use.
We offer FREE tools to help you better understand your electricity use.
- Our Energy Analyzer tool gives you targeted energy efficiency information, advice and support to help you achieve savings
- Review our free and low-cost Energy Savings Tips
- Visit our Smart Energy section to view our menu of energy efficiency resources
Helping you understand
When looking at your winter bill, consider these activities that may impact your use of electricity.
- Additional people in the home (children out of school, guests)
- Heat pump hot water heater / heat pump
- Outdoor hot tub
- New appliance / seasonal appliance
- Pumping wet basement
- Electric portable space heaters
- Heat tapes on pipes, roofs and walkways
- Home construction
We offer the following to assist with managing your energy bills:
Budget Billing: This program allows you to keep your bill consistent on a monthly basis to avoid seasonal variations.