Skip to main content

It’s winter in Alabama and you know what that means – Shorts one day and a polar parka the next

Old Man Winter keeps Alabamians on their toes with drastic temperature changes from day to day. But when he brings the frigid temperatures, he also can bring much higher electric bills. By following a few simple tips, you will not only keep Old Man Winter at bay, you can also better manage the cold weather impact on your electric bill.

-Each degree makes a difference. Keep your heating system thermostat at the recommended setting of 68. For each degree you raise the thermostat above the recommended setting, you are adding 3% to 4% to your monthly electric bill.

-If your home is drafty, find the sources. Caulk around all windows and weather strip around each door.

-Use the winter sun to your advantage. On sunny winter days, keep your blinds or drapes open to allow the sun to help warm your home. To reduce drafts, when the sun goes down, draw your drapes or blinds closed.

-If you have a fireplace but do not use it, keep the damper closed. Your fireplace damper if left open is like keeping a window open – allowing heated air to escape your home. This will also keep cold air out from entering your home.

-Consider buying a programmable thermostat. While you are snug in your bed, a programmable thermostat will allow you to lower your thermostat and reduce the run time of your heating system.

What you need to know about peak demand:

Did you know that your electric usage directly influences the price CEC pays for wholesale power. It’s not just about the amount of electricity you consume daily. It’s also about when you use it. Every day, there is a window of time when electricity demand spikes — when you and your neighbors collectively use more power. These high-demand times are typically linked to a seasonal uptick in heating and cooling. And power consumption during that window plays a huge part in the price of your power, not just during one billing period but throughout the year.
For Covington Electric Cooperative members, this peak demand hits between 6 and 9 a.m. during the winter months.

What we want to control is how high that peak gets, and it’s something that can be managed — especially when everyone works together. Reducing the rate of energy use during these periods can greatly lower the load on the power grid, and that means more affordable energy for everyone. As your power provider, CEC must have the capacity to deliver all the needed electricity on demand. This includes times when extreme outside temperatures keep the heating or cooling systems of the entire community working at maximum. High usage during these peaks can strain the energy grid, driving up costs.

What can you do?

Take inventory of your morning routine. Are lights on in empty rooms? Devices left plugged in? Washing or drying clothes? Running a dishwasher? Make a conscious effort to turn off lights, unplug electronics and put off large energy consuming chores during peak hours from 6 AM until 9 AM in winter. This not only conserves energy, which can help your electric co-op during extreme temperatures, but it also helps to trim your electricity bill.

And don’t forget that CEC members can track their usage through the CEC mobile app. Stay informed and let’s work together lower demand this winter! #BeatThePeak