METEOROLOGIST JEFF HABY
The weather has an importance influence on the utilities industry. Energy demand is a strong function of the current weather. To meet
demands of customers, utility companies need to be ready to supply more energy when the weather is unusually warm or cold. Repairs need
to be anticipated in cases of severe thunderstorms and winter storms.
People generally have a certain temperature that they consider comfortable in the home. In cases of unusually warm or cold weather, an
increase of energy demand will be required. During hot weather, air conditioners will run more often and will have to work harder to
keep the building at a comfortable temperature. In these cases it can be expected that utility bills will go up due to the increase
of energy the utility company will need to supply. To help counteract this, it can help to set the thermostat at a higher temperature. When
many people and businesses do this, it will help the utility company satisfy the higher demand and it will lower the utility bill
from what it could have been.
During cold weather, heaters will run more often and will have to work harder to keep the building at a comfortable temperature. This
tends to increase electric and natural gas usage and therefore leads to a higher utility bill. To help counteract this, it can help
to set the thermostat at a lower temperature. When many people and businesses do this, it will help the utility company satisfy
the higher demand and it will lower the utility bill from what it could have been.
Climatology and usage from previous years is used to gauge how likely the demand for energy will be. Climatological forecasts can be used
by utility companies to get a rough sense of how much extra or less the energy demand will be for the season coming up. Other factors are
looked at including: population growth/decline, last year’s usage at the same time, energy efficiency changes, short and medium term
fuel prices and conservation efforts. All these and other factors are important in determining how much energy a utility will need to
supply for the upcoming season. Being close to the estimate will help save the utility company money and will
maximize service to the customers.