On Saturday, February 2nd, poor old Punxsutawney Phil, the legendary groundhog, will emerge from his burrow to determine how much of winter remain. If Phil sees his shadow, it’s believed that we will have six more weeks of winter. However, if he sees only sunshine, we can look forward to early spring.
What does this mean?
Specifically our electric bills? More than you might think. The Farmer’s Almanac predicted a “teeth-chattering” cold winter for our usually temperate state, which has proven correct for many areas of lone star land. Six more weeks of winter can translate into more money spent on heating our homes. Homes heated by electricity, versus gas, are especially prone to higher energy bills. The average heater can use up to 3x the power as cooling a house. Six more weeks of winter can mean six more weeks of higher energy usage and big bills. Many Texas homeowners have natural gas to heat their homes. A more extended winter affects these customers too.
For natural gas users, the EIA states that it is standard for those “six weeks more of winter” to inflate gas bills by more than 30%. The average temperature in Texas during the month of February is 61 degrees, offering a brief, comfortable reprieve from the colder winter months and the sweltering heat just around the corner. This is the time that most homeowners use little air conditioning or heat and solar owners can get even more out of their system.
Despite Punxsutawney’s nickname as “the Seer of Seers, Prognosticator of All Prognosticators,” more often than not, his shadow-sighting or lack thereof has little to do with the actual outcome of our weather. The one accountable factor we at Wells all agree on is that no matter the season, solar is the only thing you can always trust to keep your energy bills low.