Why Is My Electricity Bill Higher In The Winter?
The heat of the summer has turned to cold winter days and perhaps you’re thinking that with no air conditioner constantly running, your electric bill may be a few dollars cheaper. But you open your bill each month and that is definitely not the case. So you’re asking, “Why is my electricity bill higher in the winter?” There are a few season specific factors that drive up energy costs, plus a few household tips that could also be affecting your bill.
We Use More Electricity In Winter
Trends show that consumers use more energy in the winter months than they do in summer. Air conditioners and ceiling fans transition to space heaters, electric blankets, and a higher demand for hot water. Trends also show that people spend more time in their homes in winter months, so more electricity is being used for more hours than the summer months. The electricity bill will fluctuate along with the power consumption.
Causes of high gas bills
There are several factors that could contribute to an expensive gas bill:
Across the country, houses are heated with natural gas, oil, propane, and electricity. In many parts of the country, natural gas is the most common fuel used to run furnaces in homes. Although the US is in the midst of a natural gas boom with relatively inexpensive gas coming from the Mid-Atlantic, the price of natural gas and your respective gas bills seems to keep increasing every winter.
In places like the Northeast, a large contributor to this trend is the electric sector shifting away from coal and towards more natural gas. Due to this cheap supply of natural gas throughout the year, natural gas recently overtook coal as the largest source of electricity generation nationwide, according to the Energy Information Administration. New England, in particular, is run largely on natural gas because every coal unit in the region has either already retired or announced a date in the near future by when they will shutter operations.
This means that in the winter when you need natural gas to heat your home, you might be competing for that natural gas against the electric power plants that also need the natural gas to run. As a result, your gas bill is so high due to the simplest economic principle: supply and demand.
Some regions are calling for an increased natural gas pipeline capacity to keep up with the rising demand. However, building a pipeline costs a significant amount of money, which eventually gets passed on to you as a homeowner through gas or electricity bills. Even though supply would increase, your baseline cost for gas may also increase throughout the rest of the year to pay for any additional pipeline capacity. (This is to say nothing of the local and global environmental impact of building new pipelines, which has been covered to great length elsewhere.)