While the cold, snowy and icy winter may be behind us, you may still be recovering from the chill of your winter electric bills. The SVEC call-centers have been flooded with inquiries from members wondering why electric bills for February were higher than normal. The higher bills were the result of winter weather that was colder than we had last year and in 2020.
When you receive your SVEC bill it has been over two weeks since the usage reading for that bill, and the bill is for the use 30 -31 days before the reading. By the time we get or bills most of us have forgotten what the weather was like six 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 you will use more electricity in your home in times of extreme weather conditions.
“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 and the 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:
• Don’t get caught off guard. Keep watch on your electric usage every day by tracking your daily usage with the SVEC app or at www.svalleyec.com.
• Know how much your bill will be every month. Sign-up for “Budget Billing,” the ‘even-pay’ option and your bill will be the same amount every month, and once a year you will “settle-up” with a payment or credit to your account.
• Make your home more energy efficient to lower your energy bill. When your home is well insulated and sealed, less of the air you are paying to heat or cool escapes. This allows your heating and cooling system to run less often and use less electricity.
• Limit the use of space heaters. Space heaters are usually resistance heaters which use much more electricity than an energy efficient heat pump. Over use of these heaters can contribute to higher electric bills.
• Heat pumps operate by using the heat from the outside air. When temperatures near freezing the equipment cannot draw enough heat from the air to warm your home to a comfortable temperature and will switch over to auxiliary heat. If your heat pump utilizes resistance heating as the auxiliary source it will use more electricity than normal while in the “aux” mode which will increase your electric bill. If the auxiliary light is on all the time your system may be malfunctioning and need repair to avoid an increase in electric usage.
Any way you look at it, it takes more energy to keep you comfortable when temperatures are extreme, but there are steps you can take to help keep those costs to a minimum. If you have questions about your electric bill, please give us a call or email us.