Cold temperatures driving higher energy bills across Greater Cincinnati

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  • This winter has been significantly colder than last winter.

  • Resources available to help Duke Energy customers with their energy usage and bills.

CINCINNATI – The recent springlike weather makes it easy to forget about the bitter cold that blanketed Greater Cincinnati during the first few weeks of February. The freezing temperatures forced heating systems at homes and businesses to work overtime to provide warmth and comfort. And as these systems operate harder and longer, they use more energy – and that means higher energy bills.

Related: Help avoid high energy bills; manage your home’s energy use wisely

“Heating a space in the winter uses significantly more energy than cooling the same space in the summer,” said Amy Spiller, president of Duke Energy Ohio & Kentucky. “Even if your thermostat setting never changes, your heating system will run longer the colder it is outside, leading to increased energy usage and higher winter bills.”

This winter is colder than last winter

According to the National Weather Service, this winter has been colder than winter 2019-20.

“The average temperature, which includes the temperature throughout each day, not just the highs or lows, was 6.4 degrees lower in February compared to a year ago,” said meteorologist Seth Binau of the National Weather Service office in Wilmington, Ohio. “January was also 4.7 degrees cooler this year versus last. And December was about 4 degrees chillier than the prior year.”

Colder temperatures translate into higher energy use

Meteorologists, utilities, government agencies and others use a metric called heating-degree days to measure the impact outside temperatures have on heating needs and energy use. It calculates the difference between the average daily temperature and 65 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the point where no indoor heating may be necessary. Heating-degree days enable an easy comparison of the impact of weather from month to month.

Data from the National Weather Service show Greater Cincinnati experienced 17.3% more heating-degree days this past December, January and February compared to the same period in 2019-20. This means a typical Duke Energy customer in southwest Ohio or Northern Kentucky likely used about 17% more energy to heat their spaces this winter compared to a year ago.

Resources to help with high winter heating bills

“If you or someone you know is struggling with their energy expenses, it is important to get in touch with us as soon as possible to discuss options,” said Duke Energy’s Spiller. “The sooner a customer contacts us, the more time we have to work with them to identify one or more solutions that can offer relief and predictability when it comes to their current and future energy charges.”

Related: Where to find help paying your utility bill

Duke Energy customers have options when it comes to seeking help for paying or managing their energy expenses:

  • Various community action agencies and government programs offer one-time and ongoing financial assistance to qualifying individuals and families. Details and links are available on the special assistance section of and by calling Duke Energy customer service at 800.544.6900 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET Monday through Friday.
  • Duke Energy residential customers who have more than 12 months of usage history at their current residence may qualify for Budget Billing, a free program that gives customers the option of levelized monthly payments. Budget Billing is ideal for customers who are unable to pay a large bill now but can afford to make predictable monthly payments.
  • Payment plans and arrangements are available to most customers who are unable to pay a past-due bill and those who foresee issues paying an upcoming bill. Customers may call Duke Energy at 800.544.6900 to discuss their specific situations and learn what deferred payment options may be available to them.

In addition to payment plans and assistance programs, Duke Energy offers tips on easy low- and no-cost ways to cut down on winter heating costs. Learn more at

Duke Energy Ohio/Kentucky

Duke Energy Ohio/Kentucky, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, provides electric service to about 870,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in a 3,000-square-mile service area, and natural gas service to approximately 542,000 customers.

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of the largest energy holding companies in the U.S. It employs 30,000 people and has an electric generating capacity of 51,000 megawatts through its regulated utilities, and 3,000 megawatts through its nonregulated Duke Energy Renewables unit.

Duke Energy is transforming its customers’ experience, modernizing the energy grid, generating cleaner energy and expanding natural gas infrastructure to create a smarter energy future for the people and communities it serves. The Electric Utilities and Infrastructure unit’s regulated utilities serve approximately 7.7 million retail electric customers in six states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. The Gas Utilities and Infrastructure unit distributes natural gas to more than 1.6 million customers in five states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The Duke Energy Renewables unit operates wind and solar generation facilities across the U.S., as well as energy storage and microgrid projects.

Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2020 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list, and Forbes’ 2019 “America’s Best Employers” list. More information about the company is available at The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos, videos and other materials. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.

Media contact: Lee Freedman