Summer Heat Brings Higher Energy Bills

July 27, 2016

Air conditioners across our region have been working hard to keep our homes cool this summer, using more electricity than normal. As a result, customers can expect to see significant increases in their power bills this month. Some are already feeling the effects of the higher summer power use.
“We are getting several calls a day from people who are surprised at the amount of their bill,” said Marlene Bannon, Manager of the City’s Utility Business Office. “Summer temperatures and higher demands for electric power were a little late arriving this year, but they are here now with a vengeance.”

Data from the National Weather Service shows that while May was a relatively cool month, June was significantly hotter. The number of “cooling degree days,” a measure of the effort a home’s cooling system must exert to keep the home cool, increased three-fold between the months of May and June. Since utility bills are sent out for the previous month’s usage, these higher bills are just now being generated.

There are several steps that a consumer can take to reduce their electric consumption. Many tips can be found online at TVA’s website. While there, homeowners are encouraged to consider looking into the e-Score program offered by TVA through the City of Oak Ridge. “E-Score offers a free self-energy audit, in addition to providing incentives for specific energy related improvements to the home,” Bannon said.

For a limited time, the City is also able to offer free energy upgrades to qualified homes in Oak Ridge. If your home is over 20 years old, has electric heat and you meet certain other requirements, you could land a no-cost energy makeover. More information on this free program (Make Oak Ridge Energy Efficient) is available online.