Arctic Blast Brings High Electric Bills
Aulander, NC (Jan. 12, 2018) – As member-owners of Roanoke Electric Cooperative (REC) receive their electric bills in the coming days and weeks, many will notice the bill is higher than normal. “Did the electricity rate go up or is my meter turning too fast?” they might ask. The answer to both questions is no. Instead, they are likely seeing how extreme temperatures affect electricity use, and ultimately the electric bill.
“Winter Storm Grayson brought severe weather to our region and much of the eastern seaboard. As a result of the record-breaking low temperatures, winter energy use peaked,” said Curtis Wynn, REC president and chief executive officer. “These extreme temperatures created higher than normal electric bills for our members.”
The period between Dec.28 – Jan.8 saw extreme temperatures of 27 degrees Fahrenheit or below throughout REC’s service territory. Such a significant drop in temperatures causes heating systems and water heaters to work harder in order to sustain heat. In addition, many people resort to using stand-alone space heaters for supplemental heat, which also increases energy use.
The co-op’s Chief Operating Officer Marshall Cherry said, “Members with electric heat or a heat pump with electric heat back-up will see a significant increase in their energy use during the recent 12 consecutive days of severely low temperatures. Under normal circumstances heating and cooling costs are frequently the largest part of a residential electric bill and can account for as much to two-thirds of energy use. And those 12 days were anything but normal.”
When temperatures drop, electric heating systems use more energy in order to sustain the temperature inside the home. The majority of heating units require some use of electricity, such as electric fans that must circulate heated air. So even homes with heating systems using natural gas, propane or oil likely used more electricity than usual.
“The same can be true for water heaters if they are located in unconditioned spaces such as a garage or basement,” said Cherry. “If a water heater is located in an area that is cold it must run longer in order to sustain the temperature of the water. An increase in energy use causes an increase in energy bills.”
“Roanoke Electric offers member-owners a variety of options for how to pay and budget for their power bills, along with Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) support,” said Susan Tann, vice president of member services, marketing and public relations. “We encourage our member- owners to contact us at 252-209-2236 or firstname.lastname@example.org for information and assistance.”
Roanoke Electric Cooperative, 518 NC Hwy 561 West, Aulander, NC 27805 Outages: 1-800-358-9437 Office: 252-209-2236