With summer heatwaves comes even higher electricity bills

Typically, summer months are where Americans consume more electricity when running air conditioners to cool their homes. The graph below averaged the amount of electricity used by residents of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Delaware, DC, Maryland and Texas from April 2016-March 2017. The data used has been normalized so that the difference in number of days per month is equal in relativity.

Over the course of the year, it is clear that the amount of energy used in the summer surpasses any other time period. And when heat waves occur, this only increases.

The Southwestern US is facing an extreme heat wave with temperatures soaring to 117-120 F. Just this week in Phoenix, Arizona, the city used a record breaking amount of electricity, as temperatures hit 119 F.

CNN reports that the frequency heat waves will likely continue to increase not just in the US, but worldwide, due to climate change. The report states that the locations where heat waves occur will also expand, likely disproportionately affecting the tropics, and having high impacts on cities because of the urban heat island effect. This is when urban areas are 1.7-5.4ºF warmer than surrounding rural areas on average, and can reach up to 22 F hotter in the evenings. Heat islands further increase demand for energy as residents attempt to cool their homes.


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