January 8, 2016 8:25 pm
Updated: January 11, 2016 10:55 am

Colder temperatures make for bigger bills in Saskatchewan

Watch above: As temperatures plummet household costs soar. Jackie Wilson analyzes how much simple things like plugging in and warming the car can add up to the already increasing household bills during the winter months in Saskatoon.


SASKATOON – Winter is coming and that means bigger bills. Saskatoon residents have been lucky so far, El Niño has provided above normal conditions. But when the temperatures drop to -20 C and lower, how hard does it hit our wallets?

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“The things that will make the real difference are electric heat sources. So people who might be plugging in a vehicle, using a battery warmer, those kind of things on a vehicle or running an electric space heater. Those are the things that they will really notice will jump their bills up,” says City of Saskatoon director of corporate revenue Shelley Sutherland.

Vehicle costs are a major factor. According to the City of Saskatoon an average block heater costs about 10 cents an hour. If you were to use it for eight hours a night for one month it would add $25 onto your electricity bill. This is why timers are recommended. A block heater only needs to be on two to three hours before a car is started.

As temperatures plunge fuel consumption soars. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a cars gas mileage is about twelve percent lower in winter than summer.

“You’re driving all of the time. You are never walking so I notice it in the car more than anything,” says Darren Dupont.

READ MORE: SGI collision claims decline, weather considered possible factor

With the shorter days people are turning on their lights earlier and for longer. The average 100-watt bulb costs 1.3 cents an hour. With the nine hours of sunlight difference between winter and summer solstice, people will be paying $3.75 more per bulb in December than June.

Saskatonians are also spending more time indoors.

“My energy consumption in the house goes up. I’m on my computer a lot more. Less outside activities,” says Vincent N.

Sutherland says being well informed can save you money.

“Having an awareness of your consumption patterns is probably the biggest thing, the biggest educational piece for an individual or a household.”

It all adds up – gas, heaters and lights – the list goes on. The key is to know where your energy is going and find ways to save.

© 2016 Shaw Media

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