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EIA Warns of High Winter Energy Bills: Here’s What You Can Do About It

Cozy Winter Home Blanketed In Snow

As the temperatures drop lower, your energy bills get higher. Drastically higher. This is due to rising energy costs each year.

The U.S. Energy and Information Administration (EIA) is warning households across America to expect to spend more on winter energy bills than ever before. This is largely in part to an increased demand for heating as chilly temperatures reach record lows, a result of climate change. Simply put, more people are using larger amounts of energy to heat homes. No matter what a homeowner’s main heating method is, winter expenses are predicted to be higher. That means regardless if you’re using electricity, natural gas, or propane, expect to pay a bit more this season.

Winter Weather Outlook 2021

Every season, the EIA evaluates predicted weather data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA is the weather authority in America and their forecasting is a key component of how the EIA predicts winter energy consumption. For winter 2021, NOAA expects below normal temperatures for this time of year and more precipitation than the average winter. Last winter, we saw major ice storms in areas such as Texas. These storms completely shutdown the power grid, and left millions without power for weeks. What is to come from an even colder winter this year? Is your local power grid braced for the nearing low temperatures and high energy consumption demands?

Different Types of Home Energy

The way you heat your home matters. Each method has a different projected cost increase. Let’s break down the different methods of heating a home and this winter’s projections for each.

Table from the Energy Information Administration Of Winter Energy Cost Predictions

Electricity – EIA predicts 41% of U.S. households that heat primarily with electricity will spend around 6% more this winter.—If the weather is colder than predicted for this year, bills will be 15% more. If warmer than predicted, they will still be 4% more.

Propane – EIA predicts that U.S. households that heat primarily with propane will spend around 54% more—94% more in a colder winter and 29% more in a warmer winter.

Natural Gas – EIA predicts that nearly half of U.S. households that heat primarily with natural gas will spend around 30% more than they spent last winter on average—50% more if the winter is 10% colder-than-average and 22% more if the winter is 10% warmer-than-average. Natural gas is rising exponentially, as natural gas has reached a staggering 7-year high this year. The forecast rise in costs will result in an average natural-gas home heating bill of $746 from Oct. 1 to March 31. This is compared to about $573 during the winter last year.

Heating Oil- EIA predicts 4% of U.S. households that heat primarily with heating oil will spend around 43% more—59% more in a colder winter and 30% more in a warmer winter.

What You Can Do To Offset Winter Energy Bills

Energy Auditor Surveying Home In Winter

Check Your HVAC system

First and foremost, it is important to make sure your home’s heating system is operating correctly. Energy efficiency companies can assess your property through a free home energy audit and make recommendations based on findings. Regular maintenance on your system can keep it operating in tip-top shape as well.

Weatherize Your Home

There are many cost-effective measures you can implement in the winter that will save you money on your electric bill. Weatherizing your home for the winter helps it keep cold air out and keep warm air in. This will allow you to run your heating unit less often, saving more money. Air sealing, weatherproofing your windows and doors, home insulation, and more will all benefit you in the long run. Even no-cost changes, such as allowing sunlight in your home and changing the direction of your ceiling fans to mobilize warm air that has risen, will help your home feel cozy.

Budget Monthly

Plan ahead for the incoming higher winter energy bills and make savings elsewhere. Most likely, there are a few recurring subscription payments you could cut out of your spending. Goodbye, 10 different streaming platforms! Or consider temporarily pausing any expenses you can to get through the colder months and offset the higher energy costs.

Apply for Assistance

There are federal programs that can help with utility bills. Homeowners have to meet certain requirements, such as income caps, but government assistance is there. The Biden administration is helping to distribute several billion dollars in aid for winter heating and utility bills. This aid aims to lessen the shock of higher energy costs this winter.
Additionally, some individual states even have discounted-rate programs, such as a percentage-of-income payment plan.

Fireplace roaring in home in the winter

An Alternative Source of Energy: The Sun

Perhaps the best way to protect yourself from rising energy costs is to produce your own energy. Many homeowners are finding the best way to no longer be held hostage by their utility companies is to cut their ties to dirty power. Maybe it’s your turn to invest in alternative sources of energy. Solar, specifically, is more affordable and accessible than ever. When you power your home with a home solar panel installation, you can expect to lower your utilities bills and your carbon footprint. This makes the decision to go solar a win-win for your pocketbook and for the planet.

One of the best reasons to go solar is that we won’t ever run out of sunshine! While fossil fuels are finite and volatile, depending on the current state of the market, solar energy is abundant and stable.

Is Solar Energy Right For Me?

Winter is one of the best times to have solar energy, as it holds the most potential for monthly savings. Many factors play into your home’s candidacy for a home solar panel installation. The amount of sunshine your home gets, roof type, your energy consumption and more are all things that will be taken into account by a solar energy specialist. Solar panels are still productive in the winter and can even withstand hail and snow! If you’re ready to take the next step, let us know and we’ll start the free, no obligation process of seeing if solar energy is right for you.

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