Wednesday, February 12, 2014
 

 

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Frigid temps drive up energy use, utility bills, but relief in sight

POUGHKEEPSIE – The groundhog said ‘six more weeks of winter’, but did not tell us all six weeks would come this week.  A major storm tomorrow, another storm possible early next week.  The good news is we may get a break by later next week, with a prolonged stretch of above-normal temps.

The continued deep freeze the region is facing has prompted higher energy use and a temporary spike in the market price for both natural gas and electricity, which may cause energy bills for residents and businesses to rise this winter, Central Hudson said Tuesday.

Last winter was milder than average, however, this winter is making up for it with temperatures about 14 percent colder than those of last January, utility officials said.

Natural gas use by Central Hudson this January was 25 percent higher than last year, and eight percent more than a typical year. Market supply charges for natural gas rose by 66 percent as a result of higher usage, while the total price of delivery plus supply on average residential bills covering a two-month period is expected to increase by about 25 percent.

Electric use in January was seven percent higher than the same month last year, and three percent more than in a typical year, Central Hudson officials said. Market supply charges for electricity rose by 88 percent as a result of higher usage by customers and spikes in the price of natural gas as a generation fuel; while the total  price of delivery plus supply on average residential bills covering a two-month period is expected to increase by about 38 percent.