Cold Temperatures Push Limits
Mother Nature provided the region with unprecedented cold weather in January, and now folks are going to have the pay the price. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Service, from January 1 through January 8, the average daily high was 28 degrees Fahrenheit in the Tri-Cities area. The average daily low was only 9 degrees. The average daily high for the month of January is normally 45 degrees with an average low of 26 degrees, and temperatures well below the normal created struggling heating systems, trying to overcome the extreme low temperatures.
“Winter Storm Grayson ushered in artic temperatures for the records books in East Tennessee. January 1st tied the record low for the daily maximum temperature of 21 set in 1977. On Jan 2nd, a new record low of 3 degrees was set, beating out 1979’s record of 9. Then on January 6th, we accomplished another tie in the Tri-Cities. In 2014 and 2018 the record low was 2 degrees,” stated Member Services Director Michelle Simpson. “Unfortunately, those books won’t be the only ones affected. Members will likely experience a decrease in their checkbooks as well.”
The cost to keep a home or business at a constant temperature increases as the outside temperature falls, and the warmer you keep the inside, the more energy required. In fact, every degree above 70 adds 10 percent to the cost of heating a home. Some systems cannot even keep the interior temperature equal to the thermostat setting. When this occurs, members often believe their unit is not working correctly, and they may be tempted to switch the system onto emergency or auxiliary heat. When this measure is taken, electricity consumption skyrockets.
“We are already seeing some meter readings in January that are double those from the same time period the year before,” said HEC Director of Customer Service Chasity England. “This means many members may pay at least twice the amount of their previous years bill. There will be many HEC members who receive billings in late January or early February, and these higher bills will be very tough for all of us. It is across the board and due to the cold weather. If members want to review their use from last year or discuss their bills, we are here to do that.”
“Also, Holston EC would like to make everyone aware of Project Help available to those who qualify. Hawkins County residents can visit the Neighborhood Service Center at 904 E. Main Street in Rogersville to obtain an application to determine eligibility for one-time energy assistance. Those in Hamblen County should visit Central Services at 2450 Old Highway 25E in Morristown. Providing dependable electrical service is our highest priority, but sharing information to better understand the effects of the recent weather on energy consumption is a key goal at the moment.”