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Cold Weather Impacts and Consumption

by Feb 12, 2019

As the snow continues to fall, and the winter temperatures remain below freezing for the next week or so, Klickitat PUD wants to provide customers information to urge energy conservation and promote understanding of energy consumption.  


Cold Hard Late Winter

As the snow continues to fall, and the winter temperatures remain below freezing for the next week or so, Klickitat PUD wants to provide customers information to urge energy conservation and promote understanding of energy consumption.  

Heat loss is slowed down by a warm winter coat (good insulation).

Heat is lost through a building's envelope (exterior roof and walls) at a rate directly proportional to the difference in temperature between the inside and outside of your home.  In other words, the colder it is outside, the faster your precious heated air leaves.  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 of the consistently low temperatures.  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%.  You can't stop heat from leaving your home, but you can slow it down.  Having a well-insulated home is like having a warm winter coat for your house.  The coat itself doesn't generate heat, but it slows down the loss of heat, so your home stays warmer longer.
 
house scarf

 

Heat pumps run on expensive back-up heating elements.

 

Many customers at Klickitat PUD have conventional heat pumps.  At roughly 37 degrees many heat pumps reach what is called the balance point.  At or near this temperature the heat pump is not able to pull heat from the outside air and it has to rely on its expensive back-up heating elements. 

 

This means that you may not have changed the thermostat from 70 degrees, but your heat pump has to work constantly to maintain that temperature because it is so cold outside.  This increases usage for customers significantly, especially when compared to previous February’s.  

 

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.  We also recommend the budget plan, which is best started in the spring.  This program estimates a customer's yearly bill based on past usage, and divides that amount into equal payments over 12 months.  This helps level-out high winter heating bills.

 

Meter Reads Estimated if Unable to Obtain

Water customer could receive an estimated bill unless the water meter is radio read.  Obtaining reads from the underground meters is extremely difficult in this type of weather.   If there is not a clear access to the electric meter or we encounter other obstacles, the electric meter could be estimated.  Klickitat PUD meter readers are on the ground doing the best they can to obtain your obtain your meter reads, maintain a schedule and stay safe. 

We apologize for estimated reads or additional read days, but assure you the usage (and usage costs) will be adjusted with the next actual meter read. 

frozen meter

Energy Conservation Programs

Klickitat PUD has a dedicated Energy Conservation Specialist that is happy to discuss energy audits, rebates or the Kill-A-Watt appliance tester available through KPUD.  Give Anita a call at 509-773-7622.