Prolonged Cold Fronts May Increase Energy Demand and Customer Costs

Editor’s Note: (The following column was compiled by the community affairs office of Black Hills Energy, one of the main energy providers in the local area).

Conservation Tips Outlined, Ways to Cut Expenses

Black Hills Energy is tracking more cold weather to come in Colorado. With colder weather comes higher energy demand, which will lead to higher utility bills for customers.


“When temperatures drop and customers are stuck at home for several days like we’ve witnessed this past week, energy use can increase and lead to higher monthly bills,” said Chris Downey, general manager of gas operations for Black Hills Energy in Colorado. “Even though you might not have touched your thermostat, the workload on your heater increased as the temperature dropped. If your thermostat was set at 68 degrees and it was 18 degrees outside, it took an additional 50 degrees of heat and energy to make up that difference.”

Energy Conservation Tips

Black Hills Energy is ready to help customers reduce energy use while demand is high and manage their energy use through simple, easy tips:

  • Check your thermostat – If health concerns aren’t a factor, set your thermostat to 68 degrees and reduce it 2 to 3 degrees while you’re away from home or sleeping.

·         Lower your water heater setting – Lowering your temperature setting a few degrees can also save energy. Reducing your water heater temperature to under 120 degrees can save you up to 10% on your water heater costs.

·         Limit laundry and household chores – That’s right…hold on chores until later in the week! But if you must do laundry or wash dishes, consider strategies for using energy efficiently. For example, run complete loads vs. smaller, partial loads of laundry to avoid using more hot water than necessary. If you’re using the dishwasher, change the settings to air dry.

·         Multitask when cooking – Cooking with the family can be a fun way to pass the time but also a source of higher-than-normal energy use. If you plan on cooking multiple dishes or tasty treats, bake as many as you can at the same time. Take advantage of the energy that goes into heating up the oven fewer times to use less energy.

·         Keep the warm air in – Use kitchen, bath and other ventilating fans only as needed. In just one hour, these fans can exhaust a house full of warm air.

·         Not using it? Unplug it – Unplug office equipment like printers, shredders, scanners, and other household appliances, like your coffee maker, to prevent them from pulling energy when not in use.

·         Check your furnace filter – Make sure your furnace filter is clean and properly installed facing the correct direction.

·         Let the sun do the work – Open blinds on all south-facing windows to let the sun naturally heat your home during the day. Particularly for those spending more time at home today, this prevents you from having to run the heat 24/7 and will save you from having to turn on additional lights.

Need help paying your bill?  Our customer service team (888-890-5554) can help you determine if any of our support programs work for you, including:

·         Payment arrangements: Extended payment terms to help customers get back on track.

·         Budget Billing: A free payment plan that averages the amount owed each month.

·         Energy Assistance: Energy assistance programs supported by Black Hills Energy, like Black Hills Cares, can be accessed by visiting the Assistance Programs page on our website or by contacting 211 (

Helpful Links

Stay up to date by visiting Customers can also find winter energy conservation and billing resources at  To receive outage notification on your mobile device, please log into your Black Hills Energy account at: