Members are asking why their bill has been so high when they haven’t changed their thermostat or their energy habits. There are many reasons why this could be happening, but the main reason is directly related to extremely cold frigid temperatures. In February alone, we experienced 19 out of 28 days with temperatures close to or below freezing.

The graphic shows 32 degrees for the outdoor temperatures. We had a record number of consecutive days with temperatures well below that freezing point (32 degrees).

Heat pumps lose their energy efficiency when outdoor temperatures drop below freezing (32 degrees). When it’s cold outside a heat pump extracts the outside heat and transfers it inside…and when it’s below freezing, your heat pump can’t keep up and must use auxiliary/emergency heat (heat strips) to try and reach (or keep) your thermostat setting. Even if the thermostat has been set to 68 degrees, there is a very good chance your heat pump can’t reach that temperature…this can vary from house to house based on factors like insulation levels and air infiltration. The result is your heat pump has to run continuously which adds up quickly since heating/cooling accounts for around 50% of your monthly bill. Under normal conditions, the cost of running a heat pump for a JOEMC member is around 30 to 35 cents per hour. When operating in the auxiliary/emergency heating mode, that cost goes up to around $1.30 per hour

Download this great resource for questions about how heat pumps work.

For more energy-saving tips and resources, go to the ENERGY EFFICIENCY menu located under the ENERGY CENTER tab at the top of this page