Why has my power bill gone up this summer?

Warmer temps means more energy use

You sometimes probably wonder why your electricity bill goes up and down, and is higher at certain times of the year. If you’re paying close attention, you may have noticed that the spikes generally occur during the warm summer months and cold winter months. That’s because your heating and cooling system is working harder during these months to keep the inside of your home comfortable. Typically our highest energy use periods of the year will occur in June through September and then again in January and February. When there is a larger difference between the outside air temperature and the temperature you have the inside of your home set at, you use more energy to maintain the comfortable setting you like.

We're spending more time at home

On top of the warmer temperatures, we have all been spending more time at home this summer. You may have kids at home during the day and on the weekends, and we haven't been able to get away like normal due to COVID-19 restrictions. We are all seeking refuge from the warm temperatures and social distancing by spending more time at home. Which also means that we are using more electricity.

 

So what can you do to help save energy?

Install a programable thermostat.

You can save money on your heating and cooling bills by simply controlling the temperature of your home when you are asleep or away. You can do this automatically by installing a programmable thermostat, which will allow you to adjust your thermostat on a pre-set schedule. By installing a programmable thermostat, you can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling costs by automatically turning your thermostat back for 8 hours a day from its normal setting.

Raise your thermostat.

We recommend setting your thermostat to 78 degrees during the summer months and 68 degrees during the winter months. When you are away from home, you can bump the thermostat up during summer and down during the winter by 7 to 10 degrees if you have a programmable or smart thermostat. You can save up to 10 percent on your heating and cooling costs by adjusting your thermostat while you are away.

Use your drapes.

If the sun shines directly on a particular side of your home, keep the drapes closed in the summer and open during the winter. During the summer this will help keep the sun from raising the temperature in your home and during the winter it lets the sun help keep your home warm.

Adjust your water heater temperature.

The recommended temperature for your water heater is 120 degrees, but you can bump it down to 115 degrees if you are comfortable with that setting. This will help save on water heating costs and standby energy loss if you have a tank unit.

Make the upgrade to LED bulbs.

They use 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs. Plus, they emit less heat, which means less work for your A/C. Don’t forget to turn off the lights when you leave a room.

Postpone running appliances that produce heat.

Appliances like ovens and clothes dryers emit heat into your home. This can increase the indoor temperature and cause your cooling system to work harder to maintain the thermostat setting — especially on days when outdoor temperatures are already high. When possible, wait to use these appliances during cooler evening and nighttime hours.

Use the microwave or grill outdoors.

You’ll save energy and time when cooking in the microwave rather than using your stove or oven. You’ll reduce the amount of heat released into your home, too. Grilling outside is also a fun energy-saving option.

Plug into savings with power strips.

TVs, computers, gaming systems and other electronics quietly drain electricity when plugged in, even when they’re not in use. Those energy dollars can add up quickly. Switch on savings by plugging these items into power strips that you can switch OFF.

These are just a few ways you can help save money during the warm summer months, and also when the temperatures turn cold in just a few short months from now. For more tips and tools on how to save, visit the Energy Efficiency section.