Weather can significantly impact energy bills, and when the outdoor temperatures become extreme, your heating and cooling equipment works harder to keep your home comfortable.

Did you know the energy experts at JOEMC use degree days to anticipate heating and cooling needs for you, our consumer-members?

Never heard of a degree day? Don’t worry; you’re not alone. Let’s take a look at what degree days are and why they’re essential for electric utilities.

Degree days measure how cold or warm a location is by comparing the average of the high and low (mean) of the outdoor temperatures recorded in that location to the standard U.S. temperature, which is 65° F. The assumption is that we don’t need heating or cooling to be comfortable when this is the outdoor temperature.

So, the more extreme the outdoor temperatures — the higher the number of degree days. And the higher the number of degree days — the higher the amount of energy used for space heating and cooling. Summer may be coming to an end, but we still have some warm days ahead, so let’s look at cooling degree days.

Cooling degree days are a measurement of how hot the temperature was on a given day or during a period of days. With summer temperatures rising, you’ll likely require more cooling for your home or business, which results in more cooling degree days. Variations in electric bills often follow closely with degree days, which is why electric utilities use this data to anticipate future energy demand.