Extreme weather events are becoming the new normal, according to Penn Energy. For two consecutive winters, consumers across the Northeast have seen extreme snowfall and extended cold weather that have caused energy prices to spike. Throughout the eastern half of the country, cities have shut down as a result of unexpected snowfall. Penn Energy reports that this has been happening since 2009-2011. Meanwhile, the Southwest has experienced drought conditions for several years running, with California’s economy hit hardest.
What can energy managers do about it?
Aside from minimizing consumption through energy efficiency measures, some solutions allow energy users to mitigate their energy costs in the event of extreme weather events:
- Fixed-rate energy contracts allow customers to lock in pricing that is exempt from weather-driven price fluctuations.
- Demand response programs pay consumers to reduce their demand during peak hours.
- On-site storage facilities enable customers to purchase gas or electricity when it is cheap, store it in tanks or batteries, and consume it when needed (though this requires a significant upfront investment).