Utilities warn record low temperatures will mean higher power bills

SEATTLE -- If you've gotten a higher power bill recently, you are not alone.

Utility companies are reminding customers that record low temperatures will likely mean higher than normal power and gas bills.

"Seattle experienced the coldest February in 30 years, which means customers cranked up the heat to stay warm. When temperatures drop into the 30’s or below, your heating system works even harder (therefore using more energy) to keep your home heated," Puget Sound Energy wrote in a news release.

People play on a hill in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood after a large storm blanketed the city with snow on February 9, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. Seattle almost reached its yearly amount of snowfall in a day. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

The cold snap even put a strain on PSE's resources. The utility reported the largest amount of natural gas used in a seven-day period in early February.

PSE wants to remind customers that help is available for qualified customers who are struggling to pay their heating bills. More information is available at PSE.com. You can also set up payment arrangements.

The utility also provided some tips to help customers conserve throughout the year:

  • Set your thermostat 7-10 degrees lower when you’re asleep or away.
  • Place inexpensive pipe insulation on exposed hot water pipes.
  • Set water heater thermostat to 120 degrees or “low” setting.
  • Think about whether you need that second fridge or freezer in the garage or basement. Older units can cost more than $100 a year to power. If keeping, make sure the fridge is near capacity.
  • Weather stripping and door sweeps can be a quick fix to help ensure you’re not using excess energy. Quick fix – roll up a bath towel and hold it against the bottom of the door with a weight.
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