El Nino and Electricity

According to the NOAA (National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration), this year’s El Nino is one of the strongest ones on record. It has not only suppressed hurricanes in the Atlantic, but has also increased temperatures, warming up North America to record heat temperatures.

October 2015 was the warmest October on record since 1963 and the fourth warmest recorded nationally since 1893. It included record temperatures near 100° F (38° C) in the Northwest and national temperatures averaging 3.3° F above normal.

The El Nino is predicted to reach its peak in December 2015 and then gradually fade late in the Spring or early Summer of 2016. On the bright side, a warmer winter means most people will benefit from lower heating bills.

The reason behind the effect of El Nino is that nearly a third of all homes in the United States use electricity to heat their homes. Lower demand on the electrical grid from heating means electric rates stay relatively tame. Even better, since about half of homes use natural gas for heating, reduced demand on gas will lower winter natural gas prices and electricity - resulting in a lower energy bill.

But there’s some negatives as well…namely some wacky weather. It’s already started here. After years of scare rain, California has been experiencing almost a constant heavy rain. While this is great for helping us recover from years of drought, flooding, mudslides and potentially strong storms are a major concern.

And a big concern you might not be thinking of is your home’s electricity. We rely on electricity to make our live easier but how can we live without it for a few days? Are you prepared to be without power if a storm hits?

The best way to be prepared is to stock up! Stock up on food that can be made without any electricity and lots of water. Canned goods, soups and good ole PB&J are great for emergencies. Make sure to have enough food to last a few days for family members and pets. Don't forget a manual can opener.

Always have extra batteries, flashlights, first aid kits and basic essentials in stock in case of a power outages. Try to have battery operated appliances available such as radios, heaters, fans and anything else you may need, especially medical equipment.

Have a plan to live without technology for a while. Learn how to use things manually, like the garage door opener. Have supplies ready for a gas or charcoal grill and grill out one day to avoid meat spoiling. Cell phones may still work so keep car chargers handy and charge phones in the car. Think old school to get you through.

But the single best way to be prepared for a power outage is not to have one. Consider purchasing a generator to fall back on when the lights go out. Contact the experts at Got Watts Electric to find out more.