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Arctic Blasts Affect Energy Bills

If you thought last month was colder than normal, you’re right.

Degree day graph for 2017, 2018
This degree day graph shows the amount of heating needed for Jan. 2018 is significantly higher than the same month last year.

Repeated Arctic cold fronts brought wave after wave of frigid air to Walton EMC’s service area. Just how cold was it?

For starters, the average high temperature for the first 18 days of the month was only 45 degrees. That’s about 10 degrees cooler than normal. The lowest temperature during the same period was 14 degrees, with 12 of 18 mornings being below 26 degrees. The average low was 31.

That means it took a lot of heat to stay warm. The first 18 days of January required more than twice as much heating as the same time period in 2017.

Heating systems ran twice as much, sometimes for hours on end, causing consumers’ energy bills to increase significantly. That’s true no matter what fuel source – electricity, natural gas or LP gas – the heating system uses.

For electricity, heating can be as much as 60 percent of the total bill. For natural and LP gas, that figure could rise to as much as 80 to 100 percent.

“Consumers should not be surprised when their energy bill covering January is up significantly,” said Walton EMC's Greg Brooks.

Use these tips to take a bite out of the arctic chill:

  • Make sure your home is properly insulated and weatherstripped. The most cost-effective place to add more insulation is the attic. Caulking gaps in the outside of your home is also an economical energy fix.
  • Open blinds and drapes facing south during the day to take advantage of solar heating.
  • Keep exterior doors closed as much as possible.
  • Wear heavier clothing indoors, like a jogging suit or thermal underwear and socks. This allows you to keep the thermostat at a lower temperature. Every degree lower can save 3 to 5 percent in heating costs.
  • Help your heating system. Change filters regularly and don’t block vents with furniture or rugs.
  • Sign up for Walton EMC’s levelized billing. Levelized billing spreads costs from higher months throughout the entire year.
  • Get detailed information on daily energy use by using the resources at mywaltonemc.com.