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Understanding Your Winter Electric Bill

With the holidays and heating needs the winter season brings, it’s common to see changes in your electric bill. We’ve put together some answers to frequently asked questions and energy-saving tips to help our customers navigate the higher electricity costs they may experience during the colder months.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve been gone for Christmas break, why is my bill so high?

Your heat will run at its set temperature whether you are home or not, and the colder it is outside, the more energy it uses to keep that desired temperature. To counteract this, you can set your thermostat even lower if you know you’ll be gone for an extended period of time, just not below 60 to prevent pipes from freezing.

My heat is set to 68 where I always keep it, why did my bill go up?

The colder it is outside, the more your heating unit has to run to keep your desired temperature, which makes the overall usage go up. A higher bill can also be the result of hot water heating and additional lighting. The water coming into the water heater in the winter is colder so it requires more electricity to bring it up to the desired temperature. Nights are also longer in the winter, requiring the use of lights for longer periods of time. These things combined with an increase in the fuel factor can impact your bill.

Tips for Conserving Energy During the Winter

  • Contact Community Housing Partners to see if your home qualifies for weatherization modifications that could help make the home more energy efficient.
  • Change the air filter for your heat pump once a month to help with efficiency.
  • Seal off any drafts. Outlets and light switches that are located on outward-facing walls can be modified with draft stoppers. HEC has some of these available for free to customers.
  • Have your HVAC system inspected and cleaned so that it runs at peak efficiency.
  • Use expanding foam or caulk to seal any gaps around light fixtures, pipes, wiring, etc. that allow airflow from outside.
  • Apply weatherstripping around windows and exterior doors in areas where you can feel a draft.
  • Make sure your walls and attic are properly insulated.
  • Use a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust the temperature based on your schedule. It’s best to not change the temperature more frequently than 8-hour increments and keep the temperature above 60ºF, but lowering your thermostat 7-10º when you’re gone for extended periods of time can help reduce your energy bill.
  • If your HVAC is older and in need of repair, consider replacing it with an energy-efficient model.
  • Join our community solar program, Friendly City Solar, to reduce the fuel costs you have to pay each month.
When you’re reviewing your bill, be sure to note the reading period and current usage listed on the bill. We’ve included a prior usage history chart for all previously billed usage as a comparison to your current usage.