Cold weather impacts electric bills

CARLSBORG — Cold weather means higher utility bills, and so far this winter has been colder than usual, according to the Clallam County Public Utility District.

“While it is not uncommon for utility bills to be higher this time of year due to weather, this particular year has been colder than last year so customers need to be prepared,” said Mike Howe, PUD spokesman, in an email.

Howe said higher bills are because of icy temperatures and not because of an increase in rates that was approved this month. The higher rates will begin in April.

“Commissioners and staff purposely waited to implement the increase until after the colder months.” Howe said.

He compared the first 21 days of December this year to those last year.

For 2015, the average daily temperature was 42 degrees Fahrenheit, he said. The PUD’s electric system power usage was 49,904,190 kilowatt hours.

For 2016, the average daily temperature was 33 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Howe, and usage was higher: 60,159,453 kilowatt hours.

The total increased usage is 21 percent higher in 2016 than it was in 2015 for the same time period, Howe said, adding that residential customers alone used 26 percent more energy this year compared to last year for that same period.

“Weather does matter and it does impact your bill, but there are steps that can be taken to mitigate higher bills during cold spells,” Howe said.

He directed customers to energy efficiency programs and incentives offered by the PUD such as duct sealing, high efficiency replacement windows, high efficiency heat pumps and ductless heat pumps.

Details are at http://tinyurl.com/PDN-PUD incentives.

Those having difficulty paying bills can check for options such as low-income senior citizen discounts, low-income disabled discounts and assistance through local community action agencies at http://tinyurl.com/PDN-PUD assistance.

For additional information on the PUD, visit www.clallampud.net.

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