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News December 19, 2022

Consider conserving energy during cold weather

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Consider conserving energy during cold weather

The official first day of winter this year is December 21, but it seems like we’ve already been experiencing winter weather for over a month now! Between the wild windstorm of early November and the early snows of December, the PUD has been working hard to keep customers warm during this exceptionally cold winter.

This week our region is looking at experiencing some of the lowest temperatures of the year. When energy-use spikes during these extreme cold events, it can put pressure on the grid and force the PUD to purchase power on the market. Power on the market is extremely expensive right now. Due to its flexibility and its ability to be ramped up on-demand, liquified natural gas (LNG) and natural gas are typically used to help fill the gap when power demand surpasses supply.  A high percentage of LNG is currently being exported to support the European Union, and blistering cold weather in Canada has resulted in reduced exports of natural gas to the United States. This has caused power on the market to increase by almost fourfold from last year.

Instead of purchasing more power, the PUD is asking customers to reduce energy usage. By helping the PUD conserve energy, you can also help manage your home’s winter bills. Here are a few tips:

  • Layer up and lower the thermostat: During the day, don a sweatshirt and set your thermostat at 68 degrees. As the temperature drops outside, this will help furnaces work less to keep temperatures comfortable in the home. At night, drop it to 55.
  • When you’re away, give your furnace a break: If you spend extended time away from home, lower the thermostat to 55 degrees to save as much as 10% on your heating costs. If you have a smart thermostat, set it to lower temperatures automatically when you leave.
  • Practice zoned heating and lighting: A simple way to reduce energy usage is zone heating, or heating and lighting occupied rooms only. Customers who have existing baseboard or wall heating should turn down thermostats in unused rooms and close the door.
  • Close drapes at night and open to the sun: Using the natural warmth of the sun can help heat customers’ home and give furnaces a break. Open shades on south-facing windows during the day to let the sun in and close them at night to retain the warmth.

For customers who would like to purchase energy-efficient light bulbs, smart thermostats and more, visit

The PUD is prepared for the coming winter weather

The PUD does not anticipate any power shortages in our service territory due to the extreme cold we’ll see this week. To prepare, the PUD has made additional power purchases in the market recently. The PUD has also increased generation at its Jackson Hydroelectric Project to help mitigate impacts. Though the Jackson facility only produces about 7% of the PUD’s total needs, it can be extremely helpful to mitigate situations such as this.

It’s important to note, however, that generation at Jackson cannot alone make up the entire power supply gap. These resources must be managed carefully to be available when needed. A dry October followed by a November where precipitation fell as snow in the mountains, left reservoirs lower than they typically are this time of year. The PUD is carefully managing these resources.

Thank you for being our customer and conserving energy when possible

If all PUD customers turned down their thermostats by even 1 degree, it could be enough to avoid having to purchase power on the market this week. Not only will this save customers money in the long-term by allowing the PUD to keep rates low, but it will also help customers manage higher energy bills this winter.

Thank you for being our customer and conserving energy this winter! We are proud to be able to serve the residents and businesses of Snohomish County and Camano Island.