CHELCO: Most winter bills will show an increase due to colder temperatures

Published: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 05:10 PM.

Given the unusually cold January temperatures experienced across the panhandle, most CHELCO members should anticipate increased electric bills.

By looking at the increases in kilowatt usage by members, CHELCO anticipates that members’ bills could be from 30 percent to more than 100 percent higher than during the same time period last year.

With temperatures dipping below 20 degrees two days in January and into the low 20’s several other days, CHELCO members were likely using considerably more energy than usual.

“When the temperature drops below freezing, particularly below 25 degrees, depending on the individual home, a heat pump will use its auxiliary heat strips, which are not nearly as efficient as the compressor,” said Vice President of Member Services Steve Wolfrom. “Therefore, on the coldest days this year, this auxiliary heat, sometimes called emergency heat, was operating and, unfortunately, making those meters spin twice as fast as usual.”

In looking at the actual data available, CHELCO found that this winter was extreme.

“We recorded 517 heating degree days in January 2014, compared to 174 heating days last January," Wolfrom said.

Heating degree days (HDD) are a way of measuring the heating needed to keep a structure comfortable.

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