Warming trend cools energy bills

April 5, 2012 by  

Minneapolis residents saw a 30 per cent reduction in home heating costs, thanks to the unusually warm winter in Minnesota and lower prices for natural gas due to new drilling. This trend continued into March, which was also unseasonably warm and one of the warmest on record. It’s a phenomenon that has taken place across most of North America.

According to home heating provider, CenterPoint Energy, the average bill for natural gas was a bargain at $358 for the four-month period, November 2011 to February 2012. In that same time frame four years ago, in the winter of 2007–2008, a similar bill would have been $674. That’s a difference of 47 per cent. Competitor Xcel Energy, which supplies natural gas to 70 per cent of homes in Minnesota, reported a 41 per cent drop in heating costs.

As spring continues, a season when traditionally air conditioning companies undertake flyer printing to advertise their services to home owners and local businesses, the flip side of energy costs may be higher costs to run the A/C. A hot summer is not predicted and moderate temperatures may prevail, this will be seen over the next couple of months.

It is reported that high rises and larger office buildings in Minneapolis turned off the heat and switched over to A/C several weeks ago. Some home owners may already have fired up the air conditioners in March, as Minneapolis weathermen reported 16 cooling degree days, defined as days where energy is required to keep a home cool at 65 degrees.

March had not been this warm in the region since 1910, long may it last.