unknown persons enjoying on beach

With the summer months here, it is time to prepare for the scorching heat that is about to hit. The heat wave in the Western United States is already shattering records. I always look forward to the change from winter’s chill, but this year is different. I still maintain as I did over a hundred days ago, that this year will bring a Hurricane season on Steroids. Energy bills and demand will skyrocket. As temperatures are set to soar, it is crucial to grasp the potential impact on our energy consumption and take steps to mitigate it.

According to the Climate Prediction Center (CPC), the summer of 2024 will bring above normal temperatures across a huge portion of the United States. Their long range seasonal outlook shows a strong likelihood of above-average temperatures, with the highest probabilities centered in the country’s western, northern, and central regions. The CPC’s 90-day outlook further reinforces this prediction, indicating a higher probability of above normal temperatures across much of the nation for the summer months.

This means that our air conditioning units will work overtime to keep our homes cool and comfortable, increasing energy consumption. So how much will they rise? The answer varies depending on several factors, including the efficiency of our cooling systems, the insulation of our homes, and our energy saving habits. However, some estimates suggest that for every degree above 78°F (25.6°C), our cooling costs can increase by 2%.

The impact of rising temperatures on energy bills is a particularly pressing issue for lower income households. A CBS News report revealed that households earning less than $50,000 annually saw their average utility payments skyrocket by a staggering 38% between March 2019 and March 2024. This financial strain is further intensified by the ‘urban heat island’ effect, which sees low-income households often residing in warmer regions, exposing them to more heat than their higher-income counterparts. I have done many studies on the urban heat island effect, and it can be up to 15 degrees warmer with concrete than it is in grassy areas.

While the prospect of higher energy bills may seem unpleasant to say the least, there are steps we can take to mitigate the impact of the summer heat on our wallets. Energy saving tips from reputable sources like the Alliance to Save Energy, the U.S. Department of Energy, and PG&E can help us reduce our energy consumption and keep our bills in check.

Some effective strategies include adjusting our thermostats to a higher temperature when we are away from home or sleeping, using fans to supplement or even replace air conditioning, sealing air leaks and properly insulating our homes, and closing curtains and blinds during the day to block out the sun’s heat.

I recently had my air ducts cleaned and have already noticed the difference so that is an option if you can afford it.

Our weather patterns have shifted, and we need to be ready for anything summer might throw our way. I predict it will last well into September for the Southern states.