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Colder-Than-Usual Winter Results in Increased Energy Use

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Utility Alerts Customers to Higher Winter Bills

NEWARK , Del. – An unusually cold winter has spurred higher-than-usual energy bills for Delmarva Power customers, according to company officials who cited an 8 percent increase from this same time last year in both electricity and natural gas use by residential customers to heat their homes.

“Clearly, it’s been a challenging winter and we’ve seen evidence of that in the bills of our customers who are using more energy to heat their homes and businesses,” said Glenn Moore, Vice President, Delmarva Power Region. “Unfortunately, winter’s challenges could also pose a financial hardship for some who can’t afford higher energy bills due to their increased use of natural gas or electric heat.”

December was about 20 percent colder than normal and January was about 10 percent colder than normal, based upon the 30-year average temperature measured at the New Castle County Airport.

“Extreme cold makes heating equipment work harder to keep the house warm. When the equipment consumes more energy, it drives up the monthly bill,” Moore said.

He added that many of the company’s residential customers have electric heat pumps, which are most efficient when the outside temperature is above 35 degrees. “However, we’ve had many days when the temperature has been below 35 degrees. On those days, heat pumps become less efficient.”

Moore said the company regularly encourages customers to reduce their energy use to save on their monthly bills. It does this through many communication channels, such as the company website, social media, news releases, customer newsletters, bill messages and bill inserts.

“We know many customers are interested in conserving energy, but there are times when conservation still equates to higher usage due to unusual temperatures,” he said.

He added that customers who struggle to pay their electricity bills should contact the company’s Customer Care center at 1-800-375-7117 for information on financial assistance or to arrange a flexible payment plan.

In addition, Delmarva Power suggests the following ways for customers to save on their winter bills:

  • Register to use My Account, a web-based, interactive tool that is free and easy to use, at www.delmarva.com. My Account provides customers with a detailed analysis of their specific energy use and offers ways they can reduce their use to save on their monthly bills.
  • Set your heater’s thermostat between 60-68 degrees, if your health permits. Remember for every degree you lower the thermostat, you can save as much as three percent on the energy bill.
  • Have the furnace checked by a licensed technician to ensure it is in good working condition.
  • Open window shades, blinds, or drapes to invite natural heat during the day.
  • Check that all windows and doors are tightly closed to keep cool air out and warm air in.
  • Wash clothes in cold water.
  • Use dishwashers only when fully loaded.

Delmarva Power encourages customers to visit www.delmarva.com for additional information on saving energy and money in their homes or businesses. The company also offers its customers Budget Billing, a fixed payment plan based on the customer’s 12-month average bill, in which they can enroll either online or by contacting Delmarva Power Customer Care at 1-800-375-7117.

Editor’s Note: Follow @DelmarvaConnect on Twitter for company news alerts and safety and energy-saving tips.


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Delmarva Power, a public utility owned by Pepco Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: POM), provides safe and reliable energy to nearly 500,000 electric delivery customers in Delaware and Maryland and over 123,000 natural gas delivery customers in northern Delaware.