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Polar Vortex: The Impact on Energy

Written by Team EnergyBot

Many consumers expect the extreme heat of summer to cause an increase in energy usage (i.e. pumping up the A.C.), resulting in higher-than-normal electricity bills.  But did you know that extremely cold temperatures can do the same? As we learned from the Polar Vortex of 2014, extreme weather events trigger higher energy consumption and peak energy usage, putting constraints on generation and driving energy prices up.

Some states in the U.S. experienced record-low temperatures from -23 °C in Pittsburgh to an all-time wind chill of -63 °C in Chicago. Record drops in temperature can also mean record demands for heat, causing energy prices to spike. Consumers on market-based had their energy rates prices more than quadruple, reaching a record high of almost $2 per kWh. Consumers with a fixed rate were not exempt, with most more than doubling their normal kWh usage.

Five years later, another polar vortex is slated to hit the U.S., with Midwest cities like Chicago again most likely to be hit the hardest as temperatures plunge to 20-40 degrees below zero. One thing that the 2014 polar vortex taught us is that while the effect on energy prices can be short-term, consumers will most certainly feel the impact through their electricity bill. While we can’t control the weather, there are ways for consumers to proactively take precautions:

  • Plan ahead and conserve power where you can.
  • Customers on market-based rates or month-to-month could see an elevation in costs due to increased pricing.
  • Customers under contract or with a fixed rate tend to see an increased usage (kWh), contributing to higher bills.
  • If you are currently shopping for an energy plan and need to buy immediately- wait. Polar vortex can cause a temporary increase in energy prices which normally adjust back down once the extreme weather passes.

One of the best ways to mitigate some of the risks of extreme temperatures resulting in higher energy costs is by locking yourself into the lowest guaranteed rate in your area. EnergyBot offers low energy rates from top energy suppliers with no markup so that you can ensure you are getting the best savings.

At EnergyBot, we want to make sure you understand the impacts extreme weather can have on energy costs so that you can be prepared for unforeseen and uncontrollable circumstances.

Written by Team EnergyBot

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