Freezing temperatures bring increased energy use

We closed out 2017 and welcomed 2018 with bone-chilling temperatures as an arctic outbreak swept across much of the nation bringing record-breaking cold. These cold temperatures bring higher energy bills as heating equipment inside members’ homes and businesses is challenged to fight the unusually frigid weather.

In December, temperatures dipped into the lower 20s, and we saw more snowfall than we have in decades across our service area. The heavy, wet snow resulted in widespread outages. Crews worked for three days to restore outages to the 19,694 members affected during the snowstorm with peak outages at noon on Friday, Dec. 8.

Preparations for such events are ongoing throughout the year. Electrical line construction and maintenance are conducted constantly to improve the capacity and reliability of your electric system, and devices and equipment are continuously monitored to ensure their ability to handle significant load increases.

Less than a month later, we started out the New Year with temperatures dropping into the lower teens while not rising above freezing for several days.

As a result of the cold temperatures and increase in energy use, members should expect higher monthly bills. How much weather affects your electric bill depends on many factors, including your home’s original construction materials, insulation and air leaks. When a house stays at 68 degrees, but the outdoor temperature drops to 14 degrees, as we experienced for several days in January, demand for heating can be significant.

We are committed to working with our members to ensure you are able to pay your electric bills, especially following record-breaking cold weather where the use of energy to stay warm and safe is an absolute safety necessity. We have a number of different billing options including prepay and levelized billing services. Visit emepa.com or call your local office for more information.

We should all use the extreme winter conditions as a reminder of the importance of wise energy efficiency habits. This is an important time to address areas of your home or business that are not as energy efficient as they could be. Insulating attics, caulking windows and doors and letting the sunshine in during the daylight hours to add heat are all things you can do to save money on your energy bill this winter. Energy efficiency is a solid investment benefiting both EMEPA and our members.

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