July Heat Wave Resulting in Hotter Bills

August 23, 2016

Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON August 17, 2016 – According to NASA, this past July was the hottest month in recorded history. Niagara-on-the-Lake hasn’t been immune to the extended heat wave, and higher than normal electricity consumption that comes with it. The average NOTL residential electricity customer bill in July is $198.90, up 29.6% from June.

“It’s been a long, hot, dry summer so far and we’re seeing a marked increase in customer usage. It’s the same situation across the Province,” said Tim Curtis, President, Niagara-on-the-Lake Hydro. “This higher usage and the ever-increasing price of electricity will have a big impact on the monthly bills, customers will need to prepare and budget accordingly.”

July electricity and water bills have already started to go out to customers. Of the $198.90 average electricity charge, only 14% stays with Niagara-on-the-Lake Hydro with the rest going to pay for generation, transmission, regulatory costs and HST. NOTL Hydro recently reduced their rates for residential customers saving the average customer $5.53 at these consumption levels.

“There are many things that people can do to save money in the summer without sacrificing comfort,” says Brodie Mosher, Conservation Administrator at Niagara-on-the-Lake Hydro. “The biggest user in the summer is typically air conditioning so if you can reduce your need for it, you’ll save on your bill.”

Here are 6 simple tips to reduce your usage in the summer:

  1. SET YOUR TEMPERATURE HIGHER – Have a look at your temperature settings on your thermostat and raise the temperature by a degree or so. You may not feel a difference, but your cooling system will run less when you increase the set-point. Once you complete this, try another degree or so until you have a comfortable temperature range. If you can get to 78F (25C) then you’re starting to make a difference.
  2. USE FANS – When you’re in the same room with a ceiling fan, it can be 4F warmer without you noticing any difference. Fans help your body cool down by speeding up the evaporation process of your sweat. They only work when you’re in the room though, so turn them off when you’re not in the room.
  3. USE FREE COOLING – When the nights are cooler, open up your windows at night to let in the free cooler air. When the morning comes, close your windows to capture the cool air.
  4. USE BLINDS AND CURTAINS – South facing windows will help the sun’s heat enter the home but when you use your blinds and curtains, you can help block out the heat.
  5. REDUCE ADDING HEAT TO YOUR HOME – Older incandescent light bulbs only use 15% of their energy creating light, the rest creates heat. LED light bulbs use up to 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs. If you can, reduce your stove/oven cooking, it can use up to 5kWh per hour. You can create many recipes with minimal electricity with your BBQ and microwave (high energy but short time).
  6. USE AN ENERGY STAR CERTIFIED DEHUMIDIFIER – When your home is dry, it feels cooler. Older models can use over 450W per hour though so invest in an Energy Star dehumidifier. Try to run it in off-peak hours (7pm to 7am) to reduce your bill as off-peak is half the cost of on-peak summer hours (11am to 5pm).

Customers are encouraged to contact Niagara-on-the-Lake Hydro with questions on their bill.