Got your BGE bill? Yeow!
My gas and electric bill arrived yesterday, covering the period from mid-January to mid-February. That was the coldest part of the winter so far. Temperatures, according to the bill, averaged just 27 degrees. That compared with 40 degrees for the prior billing period, which was unusually mild.
Anyway, the bottom line took my breath away. My wife and I used twice the gas and electricity we used in the prior period, and our bill topped 250 bucks, easily the biggest BGE bill we've seen in nearly 10 years in this house. (That includes everything, not just the gas and electricity used for heating. But I presume the bulk of it was for heat.) If it hadn't been for the "credit" engineered by the legislature last year (which we'll all have to pay back eventually), the total would have been $333. Gak!
Needless to say we switched off the electric blanket last night and threw another wool afghan on the bed. But the cold weather, coupled with sharply higher rates this winter compared with last winter, will take a toll on our budget this month. How about yours?
Here are the numbers behind the increased energy demand this month, from the National Weather Service. I'm comparing February (to date) with January, which does not exactly match my BGE billing period, and likely won't match yours either. Data is for BWI. Heating degree days are a measure of heating energy demand. Higher numbers reflect greater need for heat; lower numbers reflect less demand.
January average temperature : 38.7 degrees, 6.4 degrees above average.
February average temperature: 27.2 degrees, 7.6 degrees below average.
January heating degree days: 805, or about 19 percent less than average for January. (We should have burned that much LESS energy.)
February heating degree days: 827, about 26 percent more than average for February.
For the entire heating season to date, at least, we are still running on the good side, about 8 percent below the long-term average for Baltimore, thanks to a mild December and January. But that edge will erode if the weather stays cold.