Despite heat, energy use down
By Will Brown
DEMOCRAT STAFF WRITER
This June may have been one of the hottest months in recent memory, but energy consumption among city of Tallahassee customers was actually lower compared to last year.
Reese Goad, utility business and customer services administrator for the city of Tallahassee, said June’s 227,000 megawatt hours of consumption is 6.6 percent less than the 243,000 megawatt hours used last year.
Tallahasseean Elizabeth Woodsmall is not too concerned with utility bills because her monthly statement is about $100 during the summer months, or about 714 kilowatt hours.
Since gasoline prices spiked last summer, Woodsmall has done everything from taking lukewarm showers, to cutting off lights and fans when she is not in a room.
"I don’t worry about it that much, but I do look at it and say it would be nice if it was lower," Woodsmall said.
Since 2005, energy usage in June has dwindled as the city has encouraged energy conservation and established programs to help residents.
The average high temperature in June was just under 95 degrees, a 4-degree increase from the typical June, and more than two degrees higher than June 2008 temperatures, according to the National Weather Service. Of the 30 days in the month, 26 had temperatures over 90 degrees, also an increase from 2008 statistics.
Historically, summer energy usage builds up to the crescendo that is August. In August 2008, utility customers used 264,000 megawatt hours, the highest of any month of the year.
The federal Energy Information Administration reports natural gas prices have declined each month since September. While Tallahassee utility customers saw a 10-percent decrease in April, Goad said customers can anticipate another drop this October, when rates are readjusted. Since April, city of Tallahassee residential customers have paid 14 cents per kilowatt hour for energy.
"We’re expecting another decline in October," Goad said. "I would estimate it at the 3- to 6-percent decline in the total price per kilowatt hour."