The world couldn’t offer the wonderful variety it does without the changing of the seasons. But these changes can sometimes bring unexpected weather, and no doubt, you’ve seen enough evidence in how each season can wreak havoc on your commercial energy bills.

You may remember a time when you’d expect to pay more for energy during the winter, then a substantial drop once summer arrived. In reality, any season is potentially vulnerable to more energy usage. That’s why it’s worth looking at each season to examine why changes and fluctuations occur in any given year.

From a business perspective, it’s important to understand why your commercial energy prices fluctuate, and why sometimes it has to do with other factors outside of weather.


How Do the Seasons Affect Commercial Energy Prices?

We all know that colder weather brings on higher heating needs. However, you might be surprised to learn that it’s not really the season with the highest energy prices. This actually occurs in the summer, even though winter certainly brings its own share of problems.

Electricity rates are going to vary anyway per season based on locality. In this case, if you see higher rates in the winter, it may actually have to do with power plant or fuel availability. Local fuel costs also apply, as well as continually changing pricing regulations.

When you consider some prices can vary widely between states, where you live and run your business truly matters in what you pay. In the area of natural gas, energy analysts predicted many in the Northeast would pay $116 or (22%) more than the previous year. For oil, it’s $378, or (38%) more than the previous year, despite the Northeast US being the most dominant users of heating oil.


How Do the Seasons Affect Commercial Energy Prices?

With sometimes prolonged winter weather, many of the above factors can continue longer than you expect, although in some climates, an early spring can mean warmer weather a little earlier than what’s typical.

All it takes is just a few days of extreme temperatures to make your energy bill noticeably higher. If the cold weather sticks around longer than expected, you may decide to use a space heater in your business, thinking it could cut back on energy. In truth, this just adds to the electricity demand.

While we can all hope springtime equates to moderate temperatures, it’s not always a time when energy prices equalize.


How Do the Seasons Affect Commercial Energy Prices?

It’s not much different in the fall, which is normally an energy lull between summer and winter. Just like in spring, warmer weather may persist into October or November, depending on where you live.

During the fall here in the Northeast, heating oil might stay fairly affordable, since usage typically goes up considerably in the winter. Residents in this part of the country often use between 850 to 1200 gallons of heating oil in winter months, with little use the rest of the year.

So the fall is sometimes a good time to see prices modulate until a winter storm arrives. Nevertheless, it all depends on crude oil prices, which could rise or fall at any point during the year due to political events overseas.


How Do the Seasons Affect Commercial Energy Prices?

As noted above, energy bills are usually the highest in summer because of a domino effect. Since power plants need a lot of water for cooling, a prolonged drought could easily affect energy prices dramatically.

Commercial businesses are automatically vulnerable to this since it costs more to keep your building properly cooled (or warmed). Of course, it pays to use as many energy-saving tips as you can to keep prices down without making your employees or customers uncomfortable.