The surprising truth about Spring 2018 natural gas usage
Don’t be surprised if you see higher than expected natural gas usage (and, therefore, cost) for the Spring 2018.
If you’ve noticed a variance to your gas cost and budget this year, it is probably due to a slightly unexpected reason. Yes, late December 2017 and early January 2018 were high cost and more volatile price periods. For most of you, there were plans and strategies in place to address the Winter heating season.
What tripped some customers up was the unusually cool shoulder season– specifically March, April and even part of May. Typically, those months are less volatile and subject to price and usage variances.
Heating degree days are:
a measure of how much (in degrees), and for how long (in days), the outside air temperature was below a certain level (http://www.degreedays.net/introduction).
The following 2 tables illustrate the drivers of higher gas usage this Spring. The following tables from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) show the actual monthly heating degree days for October 2017-April 2018 along with the same month last year and the “Normal” month.
The first table shows the heating degree days for New York City and Long Island, the second table shows the same data for Buffalo, NY.
New York, NY Heating Degree Days
Buffalo, NY Heating Degree Days
What does all this mean to you?
Bottom line for energy and finance buyers: The result of the cooler-than-normal Spring is that most customers will find that they used 15-18% more natural gas than they had planned. For some, this kind of usage variance will cause budget challenges. The good news is that prices were not high or volatile in that time, so you will likely find that the impact on your budget is not as significant as it might have been during a peak heating period. For more on budgeting, read on.
Call us if you want more insight into your usage and cost for next Winter. It is never too soon to begin planning.