When winter temperatures drop, demand for electricity and energy bills rise

842_3827409During the past few weeks, many Bluebonnet members called us or commented on our Facebook page about being surprised by their high electric bills caused by winter temperatures driven by a series of strong cold fronts through Central Texas beginning in November. It’s never fun to open a bill and see a figure larger than you expected, especially around Christmas.

When temperatures drop into the 20s and 30s like they have a few times this winter, demand for electricity and energy bills rise.  No one can control the weather. But Bluebonnet provides its members with a powerful, online tool they can use to monitor their current energy use and show how weather impacts electric consumption and cost. This gives our members more control over how and when they use electricity and possibly save money on their electric bills.

Bluebonnet members who have an online account on Bluebonnet’s website, the Net Energy Market, can see how much energy they’ve used, how much it’s cost them and see what their bill is projected to be at the end of their billing cycle at bluebonnetelectric.coop. Those who don’t have an online account can easily set one up. All that’s needed is their account number, the name on the account and to follow the easy directions.

A temperature overlay feature on the Net Energy Market shows the relationship between low-in-the-winter and high-in-the-summer temperatures and electric consumption and cost.

So far this winter, Central Texas has been hit with two strong cold spells that lasted a few days each, with the likelihood of more to come. The normal average daily temperature for December is 52.5 degrees Fahrenheit; the observed average daily temperature for December 2013 was 50.3 degrees. The normal average daily temperature in January is 51.5 degrees, and February is 55 degrees.

According to Bob Rose, meteorologist for the Lower Colorado River Authority and no relation to Bluebonnet’s General Manager Mark Rose, a pattern of slightly colder than normal temperatures will continue through the remainder of January and into February. Bob Rose projects strong cold fronts will move through Central Texas from time to time during the next two months, punctuated by short periods of mild temperatures.

Weather is the biggest factor in energy consumption. With the temperature overlay and the information available online, our members should no longer be surprised by a high electric bill. Adjusting the temperature on your thermostat just a few degrees can make a big difference in your electric bill.


About Will Holford

Have you ever wondered about the future of electric use? Perhaps you’re curious about how some global or national events might impact your power, the environment or your bill? Maybe you’re just interested in what’s going on at Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative. We want to share what we know, and that’s what the Bluebonnet Blog is about. Will Holford, Bluebonnet’s Manager of Public Affairs, is going to write most often for the blog. He’s been with the co-op since 2007, and has worked in communications for more than 14 years. Will enjoys learning about energy – and writing about it. He and other Bluebonnet employees (and occasional guest contributors) will get the conversation going -- about everything from where your power is generated to where it’s used, advances in technology, changes that will affect you, and interesting peeks behind the scenes at the co-op. We welcome your comments, questions and ideas. Email Will at will.holford@bluebonnet.coop.
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