You can count on three things during a New England winter: snow, cold and higher electric rates. Though this year’s winter bill increase isn’t as high as it has been, the typical residential Co-op member is still seeing an increase of 14%, or about $12.70 per month. So what’s behind these seasonal price swings? Two words: natural gas.

The driver of winter electric prices is the cost of natural gas delivery into New England. Nearly half of the electricity produced in New England is generated by natural gas. Though the price of natural gas at the wellhead remains relatively low, a continuing lack of adequate gas pipeline capacity into New England means that power producers are competing again this winter with home heating for limited natural gas supplies. This causes a significant winter increase in the price of natural gas delivered to New England, which corresponds to an increase in the price of wholesale electricity.

There are some ways to mitigate the effects of higher electric rates. Check out our slate of energy efficiency programs here, or get some tips and advice here that can help you conserve energy without sacrificing comfort.