Every year during extreme cold, customers ask us:

If my thermostat is always set to the same temperature, why did my bill go up so much?

Diagram showing that your furnace works harder in colder temps

Here’s what’s happening. The colder it gets:

  • the faster your home loses heat,
  • the harder the furnace has to work to keep the temperature up and
  • the more gas and electricity the furnace uses, which causes a higher bill.

Temperatures can vary substantially over the 30-day period of the bill. Even a few days of colder temperatures can cause a noticeable impact on the bill.

In our service area, late October through early November has been more than 60% colder than normal for this time of year. As we move from mid to late November, forecasted temperatures continue to be 10 - 20% colder than normal.

Save money by setting your thermostat back at night or when you’re not home. That way, your home can retain heat more easily, and your furnace doesn’t have to work as hard.

Sign up for Budget Billing to even out your costs from month to month.

Managing your heating bill

Review your usage history

Log in to My Account  and review your heating bill from this time last year. Does your monthly usage look similar? If it appears drastically higher than last year, consider what has changed that may be driving up your usage.

Customers use more heating fuel in winter

Frigid temperatures mean higher use of heating fuels

  • Whether you heat with natural gas, electricity or another fuel, colder temperatures mean your heating equipment must work harder to keep your home warm. Your energy use goes up the larger the gap is between the outside temperature and your desired in-home temperature.
  • Humidifiers, ovens and dryers use a lot of energy. Monitor and limit their use to keep your bill down.
  • When major appliances like refrigerators, furnaces and humidifiers are not functioning well, they can use substantial amounts of energy.

Ways to save

  • Turn down your thermostat – Talk with your family about setting it to 68 degrees when you are home, as low as possible so you can comfortably sleep and down 10 degrees while you are away. Consider a smart or learning thermostat to take the guesswork out.
  • Open the shades – Let the sun’s rays warm rooms during the day. Close the shades at night to keep heat in.
  • Seal windows and doors – Heat escapes and cool air enters through leaks in doors and windows. Consider weather stripping or caulking to close the leaks. Talk to a contractor if you need help.
  • Get a furnace tune-up – Keeping your furnace clean, lubricated and properly adjusted will reduce energy use.
  • Keep it shut – Traditional fireplaces are energy losers because they pull heated air out of the house and release it up the chimney. When not in use, keep the damper closed. Make sure there are no smoldering embers before closing the damper.
  • Turn fans off – Kitchen and bath ventilating fans can blow out a house-full of heated air if left on. Turn them off after they’ve done their job.
  • Change your furnace filter – Your air handler will not have to work so hard to push air through a clogged filter, and that saves energy. Your air quality will also improve.
  • Clear space around your air vents – Move any furniture that may be blocking vents so air can circulate more efficiently.