A hotter-than-normal summer could make consumers sweat—particularly over their rising energy bills.
The Energy Information Administration's short-term energy outlook, released Tuesday, expects the average residential electric bill will total $395 from June through August. That's 2.5 percent, or $10, less than 2012.
Part of the prediction: A summer National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast for a summer that, though hot, could be milder than last year. Consumers are likely to crank up the air conditioner on more days than in a normal year, leading to an expected 3 percent increase in the cost to cool homes and businesses, said Adam Allgood, a NOAA meteorologist.(Last year, the increase was more in line with 6 percent.) "There's been a trend over the past decade for the seasonal summer temperatures during the summer season to be warmer than normal," he said.
That said, it's an early estimate. In 2012, which NOAA reported was the hottest year on record in the lower 48 states, initial projections called for lower costs, too, through a combination of mild weather and cheaper electric rates from falling natural gas prices. This year, rates are edging higher, up 2.2 percent on average, according to the EIA.