Rising temperatures cause uptick in electricity costs

Kamari Esquerra

Residents of the Coachella Valley have seen not only record temperatures, but also record electricity costs this month. 

Mike Rockland, resident of Palm Springs, said his bill increased more than thirty percent.

“This (bill) that usually costs me $900 was $1,200 dollars,” Rockland said.

Phil Giralte, a resident of Palm Springs, was also concerned when he saw an uptick in his electricity bill. He asked around to see if others had a similar experience- and received a sobering response. 

“A lot of people who have lived in the valley for 10, 15, 20 years have never seen such an expensive electrical bill,” said Giralte.

But that’s exactly what people are seeing now, leaving them wondering why their electrical expenses are suddenly so high. 

“If somebody has seen an increase in their utility bill, it has to be because of their usage. It’s the consumption,” said Antonio Ortega, spokesperson for Imperial Irrigation District. 

Between the excessive heat and COVID-19 still present, people are spending more time indoors, and therefore a lot more on air conditioning. 

But rising temperatures do not have to mean paying more for electricity. 

Diane Castro, Spokesperson for Southern California Edison, said there are numerous ways to conserve and costs. 

“Well first of all your air conditioner- we all need it but it doesn’t need to work as hard if you close your drapes (and) close your blinds to keep out the afternoon heat,” said Castro. “Set your thermostat no lower than 78 degrees. It’ll keep you cool and comfortable and you’ll also save some money.”  

Castro said that even minor energy changes can have a major impact on your electrical bill. 

“Shut off a light when leaving a room,” Castro said. “Also, plug your home electronics into power strips and turn off power strips when your equipment is not in use.”

The desert heat is not going anywhere anytime soon, but Giralte says we all play a part in conserving energy that will in turn save us money. 

“(People are) going to have to learn what they can do to keep their space cool without necessarily having to use a lot of kilowatt hours and do that,” Giralte said. “It requires that much more energy to keep us comfortable… it’s a reality we’re going to have to address.”

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