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How Weather Affects Our Energy Bills

Another winter has passed, but fortunately the cold temperatures were not nearly as brutal as they were the previous winter season. Spring is just around the corner and it is a great opportunity to give our heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC) a break as well as reduce our energy cost.

This brings up a great point, why do our bills fluctuate the way they do? What are the major causes of high energy bills? There are many variables that can affect our power usage but the primary one is the weather.

Let’s look at an example of a typical electric bill from a WCEC member.

The green bars in the graph below represent the usage in kilowatt-hours, while the black lines indicate the average temperature on a given day. Notice how when the days are colder the usage is higher. This is due to the fact that our heating and cooling systems (in most residential cases) represent the largest portion of our power bills, followed by lighting and water heating.

Setting your thermostats to 68 degrees in the winter months while you’re awake and setting it lower while you’re asleep or away from home can help significantly in reducing your bill. By turning your thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees for 8 hours or longer can save you 5% to 15% a year on your heating bill. Keep in mind that the colder the temperatures are, and the longer the duration of the cold temperatures, your heating system must work harder to maintain your comfort. Working harder means more kilowatt hours used which in turn means higher electric bills.

The same holds true for the upcoming summer. Set your thermostats to 78 degrees when at home and raise the setting 10 or more degrees when gone for the day. By doing this your summer bills will certainly be less. Whether it is winter or summer, a programmable thermostat can help substantially. Although thermostats can be adjusted manually, programmable thermostats will avoid any discomfort by returning temperatures to normal before you wake or return home. These thermostats are certainly not cheap, but will pay for themselves quickly and save you money for years to come.

All WCEC members can manage their accounts online or with their mobile devices using the SmartHub Application. Creating a SmartHub account is easy and only takes a few minutes. Members can click on the SmartHub icon on our website at wcecnet.net, enter your profile information and you’re all set.  SmartHub lets members see detailed usage on their account/accounts and view information on a daily, monthly or even a yearly basis. This information can be used to stay within a budget, monitor usage, and manage energy efficiency and more.

At Wharton County Electric Cooperative, our primary concern is to provide safe, reliable and affordable electricity to our members. Unlike investor owned utilities, there are no stock holders profiting from your hard earned dollars. You, our members are the owners. WCEC has been serving you since 1938 and will be right here to meet your future needs for many years to come.

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