Why bills increase during cold weather
When winter weather brings colder temperatures, particularly the extreme cold Middle Tennessee has experienced in recent years, members typically notice an increase in their electric bills even if their energy habits have remained the same. We understand that this can be a confusing situation and can have a significant impact on your budget.
The simple answer is that electric bills are higher during cold weather because members use more electricity to heat their homes when outdoor temperatures plunge. Heating and cooling can account for more than half of a single-family home’s energy use, especially during extreme weather events. When temperatures drop, running the heating system for longer periods of time will result in a higher bill --- even if you don’t adjust the temperature on your thermostat.
The greater the difference between the outside temperature and the temperature on your thermostat, the harder your system must work to maintain that indoor temperature. This additional usage will result in a higher electric bill.
If your home uses a heat pump, as many across our area do, its efficiency begins to decrease when temperatures drop below 40 degrees. To maintain your preferred indoor temperature when it’s cold outside, a heat pump will often have to rely on a secondary source called an auxiliary heat strip. Auxiliary heat, also called emergency heat, uses three times the electricity as a heat pump.
For more than 85 years, Middle Tennessee Electric has worked to make the lives of our members better. As a not-for-profit electric cooperative, we want to help you save on your energy bills. From free energy audits that pinpoint problem areas in your home to a mobile app to track your energy usage to budget-friendly billing options, MTE offers solutions to fit your lifestyle.
Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about dealing with high electric bills: