Temperatures are plummeting for the second
time this December. Klickitat PUD would like to be proactive in preparing
customers to expect higher bills and urging them to conserve energy. Due to
this high December usage, January tends to be the highest monthly bill of the
By alerting customers to weather-induced
higher bills, Klickitat PUD is hoping to avoid unexpected surprises, like last
January, when a spike in electricity bills caught many customers off guard.
Consistent meter reads.
Klickitat PUD strives to keep the time
between meter reads consistent by keeping to the meter reading schedule within 1-2
days, plus or minus. This keeps the number of billing days usage
consistent. We recommend customers with self-read meters provide these
reads consistently on the same day each month to avoid day’s usage
December forecast 15 degrees below November
Low temperatures are expected to hold
steady and additional precipitation is predicted next week, according to
Accuweather. The average local area temperature for December is forecast to be
33 degrees, which is 2 degrees lower than the average for last December.
The dramatic difference between November and December’s average temperatures
(15 degrees) could lead to a big spike in energy usage and surprise customers
when bills arrive in January.
Heat loss factor increases as temperatures
colder the weather, the more heat you use. Even a few degrees difference
in sustained, colder temperatures can boost electricity use as heaters have to
work harder to keep homes and businesses warm. This is especially true
for temperatures we are seeing this winter, because heat loss percentages
dramatically increase. Going from 40 degrees to 30 degrees, heat loss
might be 10%; whereas, going from 30 degrees to 20 degrees the heat loss might
be 20%. This happens because heat loss through insulation, doors or
windows is not proportionate and increases faster at lower temperatures.
Heat pumps are not as efficient at low
around 37 degrees many heat pumps reach what is called the balance point.
At or near this temperature the heat pump needs to run constantly to produce
enough heat to maintain a comfortable consistent indoor temperature. This
increases usage for homes with heat pumps
The utility has provided a list of tips for
conserving energy in the winter to try to help customers save money on
electricity bills. We encourage customers to call the utility if they
have any questions or concerns. Klickitat PUD is happy to work out
payment plans to relieve temporary hardships and reduce the stress of higher
than normal bills as a result of winter usage.
Energy Saving Tips
Here are some low or no-cost
tips from the PUD for saving energy:
• Lower your thermostat when
you go to bed or when you’re not home. Use an Energy Star® programmable
thermostat, so it’s automatic. Every degree lowered can decrease the heating
portion of your electric bill by 2 percent (assuming you have electric heat).
• Turn your Christmas tree
lights off when you are not home. Turn outdoor Christmas lights on in the
evening and off during the day.
• Make it a habit to shut off
lights, computers and other devices when you’re not using them. Consider
plugging electronic devices into an energy smart strip.
• Close your fireplace damper
when there’s no fire. Leaving it open is like having a 48-inch-square hole in
• Change your furnace filters
monthly to eliminate restricted airflow and increase energy efficiency.
• In the winter, open south
facing drapes and blinds during the day to let heat in and close all window
drapes and blinds at night.
• Windows can cause some draft
and if you keep your drapes closed, that will help insulate the cold from
coming inside. Caulking or weather stripping around the windows is
helpful to keep drafts out as well as sealing heavy-duty plastic film to the
inside frame of your windows.
• Doors and windows may have
cracks and cause a draft. You can use rags or towels along the cracks to
keep the draft out.
• Water heating is the third
largest energy expense in your home. Set your water heater at 120º F , which is
comfortable for most uses. Turn your water heater temperature down or set to
vacation mode if you’re going to be away for more than a week. Repair leaky
• Run only full loads in your
dishwasher and clothes washers, and wash clothes in cold water.
• Air-dry your dishes or use
the air-dry feature on your dishwasher. Use a clothesline to dry clothes when
• Unplug laptop or cell phone
battery chargers when not in use. Many draw power continuously, even when the
device is not plugged into the charger.
• Set your refrigerator between
36- 39º F. Vacuum the condenser coils regularly to increase efficiency. Consider using jugs of water to occupy the
empty spaces in your fridge. It takes more energy to cool an empty fridge than
a full one.
• Use a microwave or toaster
oven for cooking and heating small portions.
• Use zonal-heat (baseboard, ceiling
or wall heat) to your advantage by only heating rooms that are in use.
A complete list of
conservation tips can be found at: http://www.klickitatpud.com/conservation.aspx.