Weather and Your Electricity Bill A guide to understanding how different weather and seasons effect Texas electricity production and your monthly electricity bill
Summertime and The Math The foundation for understanding why electricity bills are higher in the summer is intuitive to most people, but it’s important to be clear. It’s the difference in outside temperature and the temperature you’re keeping in your home. If it’s 100 degrees outside and 72 in your home, that’s 28 degrees of temperature your air conditioning needs to absorb to keep your residence at 72 degrees. In November, instead of a 28 degree swing that might only be a 6-7 degree swing. If you do the math, that means that air conditioners and electricity generators are working FOUR TIMES as hard in the summer months than during the rest of the year to produce Texas power.
Electricity Generators & Your Bills The same Math that works for our home air conditioning systems works for electricity generators. If A/C units need four times the power to keep a residence at a stable temperature, that extra Texas energy has to come from somewhere. And that somewhere is the big electricity generating plants across Texas. So all of this energy adds up. Your A/C units are working 4x as hard, which means that the generators have to produce 4x as much electricity to keep people cool at the same temperatures. This makes Texas electricity more expensive in the summer because so much more of it has to be produced. Which increases the bills of customers
Weather, The Unforeseen, and Your Bills What happens when hot, overworked Texas electricity generation plants in the summertime break or shut down after being overworked during the summer heat? This happens every other summer or so in Texas. Think of an analogy of a car that’s running 24/7 for a week straight? At some point, something bad will happen, be it the car overheating, running out of gas, something in the engine will break. This is a good analogy for what can happen with electricity generation plants when they have to work overtime in the hot summer months to keep up with the increased demand for electricity. When this happens, it increases the cost of producing electricity even more, and that cost increase is passed onto customers, which means higher bills at the end of the month. This kind of plant shutdown happened this past summer of 2009.
Unforeseen Weather, cont’d. Not common but not to be ignored are weather catastrophes, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods. These will have drastic short term and long term affect on your electricity bill as it includes costs for infrastructure rebuilding and things of that nature. Power outages for short or even longer periods of time will obviously result in lower bills short term. However, over the long haul, weather catastrophes such as that typically cost much more in the long run than are saved with a few days without power. And that doesn’t even include the hassle of not having power for a few days.
Winter and Your Electricity Bill Winter electricity in Texas obviously has the opposite affect on you electricity bill as it does in states further north. Electricity bills in Texas are the lowest of the year, and while that is for obvious reasons it is worth noting. Because of milder winters, it takes less electricity to raise the temperature in our homes to a comfortable temperature. So it’s the opposite of what makes our electricity bills so expensive in the summertime. Also worth noting is that in Texas, most homes do not rely on wintertime heat from a gas bill. Many people up north have electricity and gas bills, with gas ramping up in the winter to heat residences. Many Texans don’t even have a gas bill.