Volume 17, Issue 23 | July 20, 2020

Avoid A High Energy Bill This COVID-19 Summer

Reduce energy usage to save on your summer utility bill

 
Summer is usually a time for travel, family vacations, cookouts, and music festivals. COVID-19 has radically changed these honored traditions as we can no longer gather in large numbers and are required to appropriately social distance. This results in us having to spend more time indoors and trying to maintain a comfortable environment. This is a challenge given that our region has had a string of high 90+ degree days and we haven’t hit August yet. Attempting to stay cool and comfortable by constantly running your air conditioner can take a toll on your system and budget.
 
To help you lower your energy usage and ultimately save money during this COVID-19 summer, consider implementing one or more of the following tips:
 
  1. Raise your thermostat’s temperature – The key job of your air conditioner is to control the indoor humidity of your home. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a setting of 78°F (26°C) is best while at home. This setting will limit your home’s humidity to 50% or less while keeping you comfortable and using less energy. They also recommend raising the temperature seven to ten degrees when you are away from home for a long period.

  2. Minimize the use of heat-producing appliances – Avoid using your stove or oven during the hottest times of the day. Instead, turn up the grill and cook outside. This will help reduce the load on your air conditioner to decrease your home’s humidity.

  3. Reduce water heater temperature – Did you know that water heaters can account for up to 18% of total home energy use? People often have their water heaters turned up too high due to the default setting of 140 degrees. Turn it down to 120 degrees to save energy and prevent scalding. Besides, do you really want a steaming hot shower during the hottest days of the year?

  4. Close the shades and install ceiling fans – Close your window blinds, shades, and curtains to prevent the sun’s shining rays from penetrating your window and producing additional heat. Also, consider installing ceiling fans. They not only look great but according to the U.S. Department of Energy, they cost 5 cents less per hour to operate and can reduce your room temperature by 4 degrees. Both tactics will help your air conditioner to work less to cool your home and save energy.

  5. Opt for a fixed-price plan – If you live in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware or Ohio, you have the option of choosing your electricity supplier. This is a great benefit since with a supplier you can choose your pricing plan and lock in on a low fixed price. This will help you avoid seasonal spikes and grant peace of mind knowing that you won’t get that dreaded summer surprise bill.
 
So, there you have it, five tips that will help you save energy and, in turn, save money during this COVID-19 summer.
 
Sources:
Nerdwallet (2018). 5 Ways to Save Energy During the Dog Days of Summer. Retrieved June 25, 2019 from: https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/finance/5-ways-to-save-energy-during-the-dog-days-of-summer
 
Modern Mec.com (2018). Summertime Savings: How to use energy wisely during the hot summer months. Retrieved June 25, 2019 from https://www.modernmec.com/summertime-savings-how-to-use-energy-wisely-during-the-hot-summer-months/
 
U.S. Department of Energy.  Energy Saver – Thermostats. Retrieved June 25, 2019 from https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/thermostats
 
U.S. Department of Energy.  Energy Saver – Fans for Cooling. Retrieved June 25, 2019 from https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/home-cooling-systems/fans-cooling 
 


Editor's Note

Are You Ready for the Heat

Weekly review for July 12 - July 18, 2020

 
On Thursday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that working gas in storage as of Friday, July 10, 2020 was 3,178 BCF.  This was an increase of 45 BCF from the previous week. Inventories are now 663 BCF higher than last year at this time, 436 BCF above the 5-year average.  Levels are hovering around the top of the 5-year range.
 
Energy markets were mixed this week with the NYMEX natural gas 12-month strip (Aug20-Jul21) was down 0.2% while the PJM Western Hub 12-month strip was up 0.7%. 
 
Temperature forecasts suggest the week starting Saturday July 18 may be the hottest of the year in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.  Monday July 20 has a good chance to being the day with the highest load in the PJM system for the entire summer.  Loads are forecast to be high for the entire week and WGL Energy has advised customers that can reduce load, that it may be prudent to lower their electricity demand each afternoon (Monday-Friday).  Those days might end up containing some five hours of highest PJM system demand that will be used to determine customers’ June 2021 to May 2022 Capacity PLCs and, thus influence future capacity costs.
 
This past week's market information is provided as a courtesy to our customers and is not indicative of, nor should be relied upon, as representative of future transactions.


Weather

Washington, D.C. Area Cooling/Heating Degree Days

  

 

**Jan-20 

**Feb-20 

**Mar-20 

**Apr-20 

May-20 

Jun-20 

Normal 

 863

 717

546 

 236

126

326

 Actual

 701

 614

372

 296

94

360

Departure from Normal 

19%, Warmer 

14%, Warmer 

32%, Warmer 

25%, Colder 

25%, Colder 

10%, Warmer 

Cooling degree day (CDD) data is for the Washington, D.C. area and is calculated by comparing the day’s average temperature to a 65-degree baseline. If the day’s average temperature is below 65, there are no cooling degree days that day. If the day’s average temperature is greater than 65 degrees, then subtract 65 from the average temperature to find the number of cooling degree days.

**Heating degree day (HDD) data is for the Washington, D.C. area and is calculated by comparing the day’s average temperature to a 65 degree baseline. If the day’s average temperature is above 65, there are no heating degree days that day. If the day’s average temperature is less than 65 degrees, then subtract that average temperature from 65 to find the number of heating degree days.