Just like the weather, your bill also changes according to the season. If you’ve noticed an increase in your energy costs during winter, here are some of the reasons why:
Increased Energy Usage
As the days get shorter and colder, and as the snow piles up as it does here in Alberta, we are spending more time indoors at home to keep warm and cozy. As a result, we require more heating to keep our house warm, and lights are left on for longer periods. Since COVID-19, many of us have also started working from home in a hybrid or fully remote capacity, leading to higher energy consumption at home and bigger utility bills.
Extreme Weather Effect on Usage and Delivery Charges
In Alberta, there are bound to be extended periods of extreme cold weather during winter, which cause long spikes in energy usage. Whenever there is a surge in energy demand, the grid becomes more taxed, causing the cost of generating and delivering power to become more expensive. The largest portion of your energy bill, transmission and delivery charges, which usually make up more than 50% of your energy bill, can increase to 65% of your total bill in the winter due to higher energy demand. The distribution companies set these rates and remain the same regardless of which retailer you’re with or the type of rate plan you have.
Federal Carbon Tax
The federal carbon tax being charged by the Canadian Federal government has increased to $2.62/GJ since April 2022, compared to $2.10/GJ last winter. This federal fuel charge is included as a separate line item in the delivery charges section on your natural gas bill.
Fluctuating Energy Rates
Regulated natural gas and electricity rates can change from month-to-month depending on weather, supply, and demand. Based on current market information, our Direct Energy Regulated Services experts expect electricity rates to remain high this winter.
However, in Alberta, you can choose a regulated or competitive retailer to energize your home or business. Regulated rates are based on market prices and are reviewed and approved by the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) each month to ensure they are priced fairly. Whereas competitive retailers offer stable fixed-rate plans for various contract lengths.
If you’re looking for a fixed rate option, competitive providers like our sister company, Direct Energy, can provide you with fixed prices with no early exit fees, bundled rates, green energy, and other promotions.*
While seasonal weather and market-related effects on your bill are out of your control, things such as reducing your energy consumption and making your home more energy efficient are still within your control. Find seasonal energy-saving tips here.
*Customers are free to purchase natural gas services or electricity services from a retailer of their choice. For a list of retailers, visit ucahelps.alberta.ca or call 310-4822 (toll-free in Alberta).