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Why is my energy bill higher in the winter?

Mother and daughter with a basket full of blankets

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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Federal Carbon Tax

    The federal carbon tax being charged by the Canadian Federal government has increased to $3.327/GJ since April 2023, compared to $2.629/GJ last winter. Thisis included as a separate line item in the delivery charges section on your natural gas bill.

  4. 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 experts expect electricity rates to remain high this winter.

    While increasing electricity prices can feel stressful, locking into a fixed rate plan with Direct Energy can help mitigate some of that cost. In addition, signing up for a fixed rate can help you avoid market volatility and ensure financial security through rate stability for as long as you need it.

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 seasonalenergy-saving tips here.