How Winter Impacts Your Electric and Natural Gas Bill
Colder weather means higher bills.
As the weather begins to change, so does our energy usage—and that can mean higher bills. This can be challenging for many customers, but we’re here to help.
Managing your energy use
There are many factors that contribute to your winter bill.
What factors impact my bill?
The arrival of sustained colder temperatures in winter means heating systems run more frequently and for longer periods of time, dramatically increasing energy use. This is important to know given that the cost of heating your home can make up 40% to 60% of your monthly winter bill. You can generally expect to see your energy bills start increasing in October and peaking in January or February.
The number of days in a billing cycle can vary month-to-month, ranging from 27 to 35 days. This variation is due to the actual number of days in a month, the timing of weekends and holidays, and the accessibility of our meter (e.g. meter readers may be unable to access meters buried in snow). Longer billing cycles can result in higher bills.
Additional activities and visiting family and friends can mean more cooking, showers, laundry and dishes, all of which use more energy. School vacations can cause us to keep our homes warmer for longer periods of time and can mean kids are using or charging more electronics.
When natural sunlight becomes scarce, we rely more heavily on interior lighting. Using more lights throughout the home for longer periods of time means more energy use.
A major energy culprit, air drafts rob our homes of the warmth our heating systems have worked so hard to produce. Air leaks in ductwork, around windows, doors and even fireplaces, as well as walls and ceilings with inadequate insulation, let warm air out and cold air in, leaving us cold and uncomfortable.
The age and type of heating source in a home can have a big impact on energy bills. Baseboard, wall and space heaters use a lot of energy and can be difficult to regulate. Although forced air furnaces are often the most energy-friendly choice, aging or malfunctioning systems can be costly to use. Open dampers on fireplaces can also impact energy use.
Hot tubs, shops, heated outbuildings or driveways, and recreational vehicles can use a lot of extra energy in the winter.
Bill payment or assistance options
- Energy Assistance and Payment Plans. There may be assistance or payment plans available. Visit our assistance page for more information, including energy assistance grants, payment plans, and more.
- Flexible due date. In some cases we may be able to adjust your due date. Contact us for more information.
- Comfort Level Billing. Comfort Level Billing can even out the seasonal highs and lows of your bill by dividing your yearly energy use into equal monthly payments. Learn more.
Tools to help you understand your usage
To use these tools, sign into your account.
- Usage details
- Billing days
- Average daily cost
- Billing days
- Average daily temperature
- Monthly and yearly bill comparison