Over the past few years, residents in the Northeastern United States have become very familiar with the term "polar vortex" as many of the winters have set new records for low temperatures and snow. The winter of 2018 is no exception as several northeastern cities have experienced record lows with the city of Mount Washington, New Hampshire even being recognized as the fourth coldest spot in the world on January 6,2018.
Record Low Temperatures Mean Record Energy Rates
The constant barrage of record low temperatures is having an effect on energy rates throughout the Northeast. Some examples of how energy rates have been affected include:
• In New York, Con Edison has seen its prices jump 20 percent since December
• United Illuminating and Eversource in Connecticut has to push energy rates up 25 percent at the start of January
• The two Massachusetts energy providers Eversource-NSTAR and Eversource-WMECO have both seen rate increase of between 10 and 15 percent in January
No Reason To Panic With Energy Supply
These record cold temperatures can potentially have the same effect as high temperatures in summer that cause air conditioners to overload the power grid. But to this point, residents of the New England states have been assured that there is no need to conserve energy or worry about the supply.
At this point, it is estimated that New England power companies need to generate at least 20,000 megawatts of power per day to meet the growing demand throughout the region. With the combined efforts of all New England power plants putting out an estimated 27,000 megawatts of power each day, residents have nothing to worry about.
You Might Want To Worry About Your Energy Bill
While supply is under control, residents in the Northeast might start to feel like their energy bills are out of control. Along with the increases we discussed earlier, there are other indicators that energy prices are going to spike this year. According to an ABC News report, the average American household will pay $992 in heating costs this winter, which is almost 11 percent more than last year. That number includes states such as Texas and Florida that normally do not have to worry about high heating bills.
It is not just natural gas or electric heating customers who are feeling the pinch. The rise in energy costs for the cold winter of 2018 is expected to be even more intense for homes that use heating oil. By the time the winter of 2017-2018 is over, homes that use heating oil will see their bills go up an average of 28 percent for the season.
The Human Effect
Last winter in the United States was relatively mild, but it certainly had its moments. There are several factors that play on energy prices, and those factors came together last year to push prices to a level that many consumers found difficult to pay. The problem that is starting to pop up this winter is those people who could not afford energy last year cannot afford these increases. Local governments are trying to determine a solution, but funding for public programs is a problem.
Profits Are Not In Everyone's Favors
While residential energy customers are struggling, business energy users are also having problems this winter. Retail stores are struggling to keep up with both the rising energy prices and dropping temperatures. Retailers understand that cold stores are empty stores, but profit margins for many of the big box chains are going to have a hard time covering the increase in energy costs.
All companies involved in service and hospitality industries are going to suffer this winter. While energy suppliers raise prices to generate their own profits, restaurants, movie theaters and other businesses are struggling with raising energy prices and the effect it has on bottom line.
Check Out Your Options
Whether you have business energy needs or you are heating your home, you should take a look into your energy supplier options to find better rates. Throughout New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut consumers have the ability to research multiple energy suppliers online and choose the ones that offer the best rates. It is going to be a cold winter and energy users will want to weigh their options to avoid high energy bills all season long.
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