Cold Temperatures Could Increase Power Bills

December 14, 2016 – After an unseasonably warm November, cold temperatures in December could lead to increased heating costs. Through the first two weeks of December, average temperatures at the Scappoose Airport have been 37 degrees and cold weather is forecast to continue. In the month of November, the average was 50 degrees. The sudden 13-degree drop in average temperatures will likely affect Columbia River People’s Utility District (PUD) customers’ bills.

The colder it is outside, the harder your heating system must work to maintain temperatures in your house. Even if you do not raise the thermostat, your heating system works harder to offset the colder temperatures outside. That leads to increased energy use and higher bills.

There are some important but commonly overlooked items that can significantly increase winter heating bills. These include:

  • Portable heaters in pump houses or garages
  • Heating RVs
  • Engine block heaters
  • Heating boats moored in the water

To help offset some of the potential increases in bills, here are 8 tips from our Energy Experts on how to cut energy waste while remaining comfortable in your home:

  1. Turn your thermostat down a few degrees. Set it a degree or two cooler while you’re home, and lower it several degrees when you’re away or asleep. On average, every degree you lower your thermostat reduces your bill by about 2%.
  2. Save while you shower. Up to 2/3 of your water heating bill can come from showering. Use an energy-saving shower head and take shorter showers.
  3. Save while you wash. Only wash full loads of laundry and dishes. Use cold water when possible.
  4. Let the sunshine in by opening blinds, drapes, and curtains when the sun is shining through windows.
  5. Keep the heat in by closing the blinds, drapes, and curtains when the sun isn’t hitting the windows.
  6. Turn off appliances and electronics. Turn off your lights, TVs, stereos, computers, and other appliances when you are not actively using them.
  7. Stop wasting electricity. Unplug items like cell phone chargers, coffee makers, DVD players, and microwaves when you are away or when they aren’t in use. They draw energy even when not being used.
  8. Use energy-efficient lights. Replace burned out bulbs with LEDs, which use less electricity than incandescent bulbs and last longer.

If you would like more information on how to lower your energy bills in the winter, call our Energy Experts at  (503) 366-5470, or visit