The average home in Alberta uses 600 kWh of electricity and 10 GJ of natural gas every month. But what does that mean? Electricity is measured by kilowatt-hour or kWh. One kWh is the amount of energy 1,000 watts consumes in an hour. So, a 100-watt light bulb uses 1 kWh every 10 hours. Natural gas is measured in gigajoules or GJ. One GJ of natural gas could heat enough water for 150 bathtubs!
But your consumption influences more than just your monthly energy charges. Parts of your delivery charges are tied to how much energy you use each month. Decreasing the amount of energy you consume will have a positive impact on many areas of your bill.
Winter Energy Bills
Albertans are no stranger to cold, long winters. The reality is, more natural gas and electricity is required during the winter months to stay warm and keep our homes comfortable. Here is a look into why your energy bills increase during colder months:
- Demand: The average home uses more energy at peak times. As the temperature dips, furnaces are being turned on for longer and demand for natural gas increases.
- Supply: Cold weather, wind and unplanned outages can impact supply at any given time.
- Fluctuating commodity prices: At any given time, the price of natural gas is determined by market forces that continually change. Typically during winter, the price of natural gas increases, driving energy bills up.
- Carbon Tax: Part of the Canadian Government’s comprehensive climate action plan, the carbon tax is a federally implanted program intended to lower carbon emissions. As of April 1, 2023, the carbon tax increased from $2.63/GJ to $3.33/GJ. Alberta’s natural gas distributors, including ATCO, will calculate and charge the carbon tax based on customers’ natural gas usage on behalf of the federal government. Since the tax is tied to natural gas consumption, it didn’t make a noticeable difference on your bills until the cold weather hit. Albertans use about 2 or 3 GJ of natural gas in the summer, but use significantly more in the winter. Most Albertans will receive a rebate on their income tax to offset this amount, but it does come as a shock when you see it on your winter statements.