This Electric Life

Ahhhhhhh!!!!!! How did I use so much electricity last month?

Why did I use more than last year at this time? Hasn’t it been warmer this year?

These are questions we get a lot this time of year.  Often, after some investigation, we find the answers together.

For example: to answer “Why did I use more than last year at this time? Hasn’t it been warmer this year?

Guess what? This past December hasn’t been warmer than last year.  We think it has, myself included, but here are the average December temperatures for the last three years:

Dec 2009   37 deg
Dec 2010   43 deg
Dec 2011   40 deg

Here’s another example:  “How did I use so much electricity last month?”
Check out the blog post from December 14th.  ( IT’S ALL ABOUT HEATING NOW ) If you heat with electricity, like I do, your bill has gone up 3 or 4 times since the summer.   That’s how it is if I don’t want to wear a parka indoors!

What are some other culprits that cause our homes to use more electricity this time of year?
1. Not using window coverings. Windows are like holes in the wall.  If you cover them, less of the heat ($$) from the room will go out the window.
2. Attic access doors which are not sealed and insulated. Heat ($$) rises right out the roof if you let it.
3. Emergency heat strip settings on thermostats. Did it accidently get left on? You should never put your heat pump in that mode unless your heat pump is not keeping the house warm. Heat strips will consume about 3 times as much electricity as the heat pump alone. This is different than the auxiliary heat mode which comes on usually when the temperature falls below 35 deg.
4. Close the fireplace damper tightly when you are not using it. It’s just like an open window!
5. Lighting. It’s dark outside and our lights are on longer. Did you know CFL bulbs  use one quarter the energy of incandescent bulbs but provide the same amount of light?
6. Hot Tubs. No explanation needed.

Always remember we are here for you. Now that OPALCO has completed the rollout of digital Automated Meter Reading meters, our Member Services team can review your daily consumption trends with you to try to pinpoint your heating and other high consumption sources. Also, reads can now be pulled just a few days before billing.  This means billing periods may not be consistent year over year for comparison.  Always remember to pay close attention to the reading dates and “Days Served” on your bill when comparing historical consumption.  See Understanding Your OPALCO Bill for a visual explanation of you bill.

Our Energy Services Department can help you with a more in depth investigation of your home. Consider a Home Snap Shot Energy Assessment by one of our Building Performance contractors.