We’re already just a few weeks into spring and it looks like an early spring warm up is coming to your area.From April 8 to 21, the forecast is equal chances for above, average, and below normal temps in Connecticut. You can also expect a 50% chance for above normal rainfall. While this weather means spring won’t be quite as warm a spring as last year, it still means you’ll be able to reduce your heating bill and enjoy some electricity savings for a little while before summer. You can avoid those high Connecticut electricity rates this summer by shopping right now for a better rated energy provider and a better plan.
And here’s why—
The big picture
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is forecasting above average temps for states east of Colorado this coming month with a 50% chance for above normal rainfall in the Mississippi and Ohio Valleys, the mid-Atlantic states, and New England. Part of the reason behind this is that the Arctic Oscillation is expected to stay near neutral or slightly positive. Normally, as the northern hemisphere moves into spring, the Polar Vortex gradually weakens and disappears. So, there’s reduced likelihood for a sudden outbreak of bitterly cold arctic air. The other reason is that continuing drought conditions throughout the state is reducing the chances for evaporative cooling. Summer temperatures are expected to be above average, as well, pointing to possible higher cooling costs. Still, there could be some good news further along.
A look ahead
One of the planet’s main climate engines is the El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The ENSO region is over 8,300 miles of the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Sea surface temperatures (SST) are monitored here because this huge amount of water interacts with the atmosphere by heating or cooling it and can thereby affect global weather. The ENSO region is divided into four areas. Nino 4 starts at 160°E and ends at 150°W. Nino 3 begins at 150°W and ends a 90°w. Nino 1 and 2 begin there and end on the Ecuadorian coast. Where Nino 3 and 4 overlap is called Nino 3.4 and temperature readings from this area are used as an average of SSTs across the equatorial Pacific.
While SSTs in the 3.4 region have risen from their recent cold La Niña phase, they’re not warm enough to be considered El Niño temperatures. Consequently, ENSO is in neutral. While ENSO doesn’t really effect temperatures in North America during the spring, El Niño’s effect wind shear during the summer and tend to suppress Atlantic hurricane formation. La Niñas are somewhat opposite. ENSO neutral conditions allow other atmospheric cycles to exert more influence. That said, researchers expect SSTs to climb this summer in the Nino zones. So, there’s a good possibility that an El Niño may emerge this summer — which is good news for folks along the Atlantic coast since an emerging El Niño might reduce the number of tropical storms or hurricanes right at the most dangerous part of the season.
Forward planning = Future savings
If an El Niño emerges and develops into the fall, it could have an effect on winter temperatures in North America depending on how strong it is. In the winter, El Niños bring cool, wet weather to Texas and the southeastern states while New England states experience moderate winters. Warmer temperatures in the north mean less natural gas is burned for space heating.
At present, the EIA expects higher natural gas prices for the rest of the year. Natural gas stocks are finishing up the 2016/2017 winter 19% below the five-year average. All this above average warmth we’re seeing now will hang around into the summer. So, it’s going to get hot especially in metro areas like Stamford, Middletown, and Hartford, and electricity prices will probably rise.
While power burn to meet cooling demand this summer will drive up the price of natural gas, should a strong El Niño emerge, then natural gas prices and electricity rates could fall this winter just as they did in 2012 and 2016.
Okay— that’s pure speculation. But, it’s an example of how global weather conditions can shape your Connecticut electricity rates. Knowing that, can you afford your current energy provider and still keep your cool this summer? What about next winter’s rates? Will you want to change providers? And how can you find the best price for the best rate with the best provider?
CTEnergyratings.com is the only place where you can read reviews, check out rates, and compare electricity plans to find the best electricity company that’s right for your family.