Winter Cold Snap Could Lead to Higher Electric Bills

January 09, 2017

If your current Umatilla Electric bill looks a little higher than usual, most members can blame the cold weather in December and January.

Temperatures began to drop on Dec. 5, 2016, with little relief before the ice and now arrived in January. Many homes’ electric heating systems are working overtime to maintain comfortable temperatures inside the home.

Average low temperatures in the Hermiston-Boardman area are 27 degrees in December and 26 degrees in January. This winter, the lows have dipped to zero and below for several nights.

During the first eight days of January 2017, the temperature did not rise higher than 26 degrees, day or night.

The colder temperatures may have a dramatic impact on the amount of electricity you used.

Electric bills increase during the winter for a variety of reasons – holiday gatherings, houseguests, and shorter days and longer nights. Small measures, like turning down your thermostat, replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs and washing clothes in cold water can help control energy costs.

  • Set your thermostat to 68 degrees maximum in winter; turn down to 60 degrees at night
  • Seal air leaks. Close doors and windows tightly; close crawlspace vents.
  • Use less hot water. Adjust setting on your electric water heater to 120 degrees. Insulate the tank and hot water pipes.
  • Limit use of electric space heaters. 
  • Spare fridge or freezer? If not kept full, it should be emptied and unplugged until needed. Fridges and freezers are not designed to be kept in cold or hot areas like a garage.

Longer term, caulking around windows and doors and adding insulation can also help reduce high winter bills. For more advice on saving energy, or to troubleshoot what might be causing high energy use, contact Umatilla Electric at 541 567-6414.

Excerpt from

As temperatures turn colder while winter approaches, many Oregonians will start warming their homes with heating oil, propane, and firewood. As with all purchases these days, it is important for consumers to get exactly what they pay for, and the Oregon Department of Agriculture is in the business of assuring accuracy in commercial transactions.

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