November's drop in temperature means a rise in heating costs, Hydro-Québec says

Increased costs for November could total $3 for a one-bedroom apartment and $18 for an average-sized house. The total increase depends on a home's insulation quality, size and the habits of residents.

November bills will be up by about 8 per cent because it takes more energy to keep homes warm

A woman runs down in a Montreal park during a foggy morning November morning this year — a November that caused a spike in Quebec heating bills. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

November was unusually cold this year and that means your monthly Hydro-Québec bill will be unusually high.

"In general, we are talking about an impact of about eight per cent because the month of November has been really cold," said Cendrix Bouchard, a spokesperson for the public utility.

Increased costs for November could total $3 for a one-bedroom apartment and $18 for an average-sized house for customers who pay monthly, he explained.

The total increase depends on a home's insulation quality, size and the habits of residents.

Bills will rise even if you don't crank up the heat, he said. Simply put, keeping your house at a comfortable temperature requires more energy when it's colder outside.

"That's the reason why people should see a difference in their bills," he said.  "Of course, there are small things you can do to help your bills stay as low as possible."

Want to keep rates low? Turn down the heat

The public utility said in a Tuesday statement that heating accounts for nearly 55 per cent of winter electricity costs, and water heating accounts for 20 per cent.

To keep month rates down, Bouchard said hydro customers can lower their thermostats by one or two degrees in rooms they're not using at night.

People can also reduce their bills by insulating their windows with plastic film and using energy-efficient light bulbs, the public utility recommends.

Another strategy, it says, is to reduce hot water use by taking shorter showers and doing laundry in cold water.

Replacing mechanical thermostats with digital can also help, Bouchard added.

It's too early to predict if December will have the same impact on hydro rates as November, he said.

How cold was it? Pretty cold, Environment Canada says

Nearly –1 C was the mean average in Montreal during the November, according to Environment Canada.

A record was set on Nov. 22, Environment Canada confirmed, when the temperature dropped to  –17.8 C. The previous record –14 was set in 1972.

Since mid-September, there have been many more days with below-normal temperatures than days with above-normal temperatures, Environment Canada says in its summary of November 2018.

Quebec City's Jean-Lesage Airport has not recorded a November this cold since it began reporting in 1943.

With files from Jay Turnbull

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