Cold snap to have lasting effect on power bills

Ratepayers used more electricity to get through this winter’s cold spell and that’s going to mean higher bills.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that double whammy will hit residential users in the pocketbooks, as the price of electricity jumps by about 2 percent in both 2014 and 2015. That’s in ­addition to the higher bills that are resulting from extra consumption needed to get through a winter that’s 20 percent colder than a year ago.

“The rising cost of generation fuels, particularly natural gas, contributes to a projected increase in the residential price of electricity,” the agency said. EIA said it expects the U.S. residen­tial price of electricity to ­average 12.4 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2014, an increase of 2.2 percent from 2013. Residential electricity prices will increase another 1.9 percent during 2015, it concluded.

The agency placed the blame for the higher cost of generation on the cold weather, which tends to ­produce spikes in natural gas use and prices. Residential natural gas prices are expected to increase this winter to $10.16 per thousand cubic feet, a jump of $0.41 per mcf from a year ago.

“Last winter, natural gas con­sumers spent an average of $603 on their heating bills. This season, consumers can expect to spend $649 on natural gas heating for the winter months, a 7.7 percent increase,” EIA said.

Source: Electric Co-op Today