Low temperatures lead to higher electric bills

Daily Temperatures in Monteagle and Pikeville January 2018, from 
the National Weather Service

The cold, snowy and icy winter has left some members feeling a different kind of chill after seeing their most recent electric bill. The SVEC call-centers have been flooded with inquiries from members wondering why electric bills for January, and especially February, were higher than normal. The higher bills were the result of winter weather that was colder than we have had in the past year or two, which increased consumer energy consumption by 42% across the state.


When you receive your SVEC bill it has been almost a month since the reading of your use for that bill. And the bill is for the use 30 -31 days before the reading. By the time we get our bills most of us have forgotten what the weather was like six to eight weeks ago. So the amount of the electric bill may come as a shock to some.


It is important to remember that your electric bill reflects your electric use and it is a fact that you will use more electricity in your home in times of extreme weather conditions. The temperatures his past December and January – the basis for the January and February electric bills— were colder than December of 2016 and January 2017. The temperatures area-wide were so low that in January TVA hit its highest winter peak in 80 years.


“Weather matters and we want our members to be aware of steps they can take to be energy efficient even as temperatures change,” stated Mike Partin, SVEC President/CEO. “The colder it is outside, the more electricity you use. For example, on a very cold winter day, a home heating system runs longer to circulate warm air through the home, even though the thermostat may be set at the same temperature as normal. In addition, more people stay inside on cold days. More people in a home usually results in using more electricity,” Partin continued. So, what can you do to manage a higher-than-normal electric bill? Here are a few options:

  1. Don’t be surprised when you get your bill, instead keep up with your daily usage at http://bit.ly/2FYI1Do or with the SVEC App. When you see your usage go higher than you want, make some changes inside the home right away. 
  2. We have NOT increased rates and charge the same amount per kWh no matter what day or time you use energy.
  3. Even if you don’t make any changes inside your home, when it is extremely cold out, your heating system has to work harder to keep you comfortable.
  4. Heating accounts for up to 70% of your electric bill. Keep your thermostat at 68 degrees when you’re home and set it even lower when you leave. Seal around doors and windows and make sure you keep them closed and locked.
  5. When temperatures drop below freezing, most heating systems go into "auxiliary" or "emergency" heat mode, which uses 3 to 4 times more electricity. Keep your thermostat setting as low as you can tolerate (68 degrees or lower), and bundle up!
  6. Limit use of space heaters. The cost to heat with a 1500 watt space heater for 12 hours a day can add over $65 a month to your bill. That is for only 1 space heater!  
  7. If you pay your bill on time each month, consider switching to Budget Billing so your payment will be the same amount every month and you “settle-up” once a year.
  8. Need a little extra time to pay your bill? Don’t wait until it’s late, call us right away and we can set-up payments for you. Call your local office to find out more about payment arrangements.

Any way you look at it, it takes more energy to keep you comfortable when the temperatures go to extremes. But there are steps you can take to help keep those costs to a minimum. Visit “Member Center” on this site and click on “Save Energy & Money” for information on SVEC programs designed to help you improve the energy efficiency of your home. If you have questions about your electric bill, please call your local office and talk to a customer service representative.