The intermittent blasts of cold that swept the country over January and February have reminded consumers of the power winter can have. But extreme cold weather causes interruptions and obstacles to the energy industry nearly every year. Snow, ice, and bitter temperatures often cause delays and problems for workers, students, and citizens in general, but they hold far more problems for the energy industry and residential energy consumers.
These are just four of the worst effects the winter weather can have:
- Demand for Natural Gas Explodes. Due to a larger percentage of the population staying in and a higher necessity for warmth and heating, the demand for natural gas increases exponentially. That increased demand obviously puts a strain on the industry and creates a temporary, if predictable, price surge.
- Fuel Shortages Emerge. It’s entirely possible for cold weather’s increased demand to cause a shortage of natural gas, propane, or similar types of fuel. These shortages drive prices even higher, and in extreme cases, governmental officials must step in and announce restricted access.
- Oil Production and Refinement Slows Down. The lower temperatures put a burden on oil facilities trying to extract it from the ground. Refineries’ production is also slowed due to the cold weather, limiting overall output.
- Power Plants Ice Over. In rare cases, it is possible for power plants to become iced over and decrease in efficiency or even shut down entirely. This year, one nuclear power plant in Nebraska was subject to a buildup of ice that prevented the plant from functioning properly.
The cold weather puts a harsh restriction on energy production and distribution you may not have realized. For more energy-related news and tips, as well as information on how to save money on electricity, keep reading the Star Energy Partners blog!