Colder Weather Can Bring Higher Bills in the Northwest

December 28, 2017


PORTLAND, Ore. — The colder it gets outside, the more energy it takes to keep your house warm. No one can change that basic equation, but there are steps you can take to keep energy bills from giving you the chills.

"You may not change your thermostat, but when temperatures fall, the difference in temperature between the outside and the inside grows, and so can your energy usage," said Barb Coughlin, Pacific Power's vice president for customer service. "Being smart about your heating can go a long way towards keeping your energy bill low."

Here are tips you can use today to battle cold weather:

  • Set your thermostat as low as comfortable, aim for 68 degrees. When you are asleep or out of the house, lower the temperature by another 10 degrees and this will reduce your energy usage by about 10 percent.
  • Use space heaters sparingly and safely. Running a 1,500 watt portable heater 8 hours a day for 30 days can add an extra $30 to a monthly power bill in winter.
  • Close drapes and blinds. Closed drapes and blinds can help your house stay better insulated and reduce energy use.
  • Avoid the temptation to bump up the thermostat when it gets colder. That won't get you to your desired temperature faster, you will just make your furnace run longer and use more energy.
  • Improve your home's heating and cooling systems by cleaning or replacing furnace filters and scheduling routine system maintenance to help air flow through the system more efficiently. Move furniture that is blocking intakes or heat registers.

You can save even more energy by taking a longer range view of your energy use. Visit for more information.

Another step is manage winter bills is to switch to Equal Pay. Under Equal Pay, energy costs are averaged out over the year so bills are more predictable and manageable. Customers can enroll in Equal Pay online at, via the Pacific Power mobile app, or by phone at 1-888-221-7070.

"The sooner you call, the better for Equal Pay," said Coughlin. "If you wait until the higher bills have already come, your average will have gone up, too. This program also helps if you have high cooling costs in the summer.