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Extreme cold causes higher energy bills

TCEC outlines factors impacting electric bills

Regardless of the fuel used to heat your home or business – natural gas, electricity or propane – you likely used more of it due to unusually cold temperatures last month. The result is a higher bill for that usage.

Factors that may influence your electric bill during extreme cold include:

  • Using space heaters - Sometimes people supplement their heating system with space heaters, which increases energy usage.
  • Thermostat settings -  When a thermostat is set at 68 degrees and it is 19 degrees outside, heating systems must work hard to make up that 49-degree difference. Your HVAC unit works harder and cycles on and off more often, making your usage much higher.
  • All-electric homes with air-source heat pumps - Back-up emergency heat strips may come on during freezing temperatures causing increased usage. They are designed to do this but members need to be aware it will impact their bill.

In January, TCEC did notify members of a slight rate change in its newsletter, on its website and in a CEO video on Facebook and YouTube. Your local board of trustees reviews and approves electric rates for TCEC members. The change in residential service rates that was effective January 1 is on February bills. For every 1,000 kilowatt-hours of energy use, the average residential member will see an increase of about $2.50 per month.

The outside temperature has a direct effect on energy used. TCEC encourages members to use the SmartHub app, available on mobile devices and online at From there, you can see unbilled energy use as well as a graph showing energy used and how it relates to daily temperature.

If your bill is higher than usual, call TCEC to discuss ways to save. A member service representative can offer resources on saving energy. They can help you evaluate payment options like Pay As You Go, Levelized and AutoPay. A representative can also help you sign up for SmartHub to keep tabs on your energy use during the month - before it's billed. Please call us at 580.652.2418 during regular business hours, M-F, 8-5, or email

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Published February 19, 2018

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