Posted on: February 16, 2018

Frigid weather extends to electrical usage and bills

Frigid weather extends to electrical usage and bills


Radford, Va.-With frigid temperatures in December and January, City of Radford electric customers may have higher electric bills due to higher usage of electricity.

Radford’s energy purchase for the month of December 2017 was 40% higher than the November 2017 purchase and January 2018 energy purchase is the highest in four years.   As a result of these colder temperatures, we anticipate customers who heat their homes and offices with electric heating systems to see an increase in their electrical usage during the December and January time period.  This will result in higher January and February electric bills. 

When outside temperatures get extremely cold heating systems run longer to maintain warm temperatures inside our homes and offices.  When the outside temperature is 50 degrees heating systems might only need to run a few minutes each hour to maintain the inside temperature, but when the temperature drops below freezing the system runs more often and longer to maintain the indoor thermostat setting.

Radford does have a budget payment plan for electric bills, if needed, please contact the Billing and Service Office for more information at 540-731-3602.

To improve energy efficiency in your home follow the tips below:


  • Open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.


  • Use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration.
  • Install tight-fitting, insulating drapes or shades on windows that feel drafty after weatherizing.


  • When you are home and awake, set your thermostat as low as is comfortable.
  • When you are asleep or out of the house, turn your thermostat back 10° to 15° for eight hours and save around 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills. A programmable thermostat can make it easy to set back your temperature.


  • Seal the air leaks around utility cut-through for pipes ("plumbing penetrations"), gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets.
  • Add caulk or weather stripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows.


  • Schedule service for your heating system.
  • Furnaces: Replace your furnace filter once a month or as needed.
  • Wood- and Pellet-Burning Heaters: Clean the flue vent regularly and clean the inside of the appliance with a wire brush periodically to ensure that your home is heated efficiently.


  • Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. Keeping the damper open is like keeping a window wide open during the winter; it allows warm air to go right up the chimney.
  • When you use the fireplace, reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox or open the nearest window slightly -- approximately 1 inch -- and close doors leading into the room. Lower the thermostat setting to between 50° and 55°F.
  • If you never use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue.
  • If you do use the fireplace, install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that blows warmed air back into the room.
  • Check the seal on the fireplace flue damper and make it as snug as possible.
  • Purchase grates made of C-shaped metal tubes to draw cool room air into the fireplace and circulate warm air back into the room.
  • Add caulking around the fireplace hearth.

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