"Polar Vortex" Shock And Awe: The Utility Bill Arrives (And Why It Will Get Worse Before It Gets Better)

Tyler Durden's picture

The "polar vortex" shock has arrived, only this time it is not in the form of another 12 inches of overnight snow accumulation but in the shape of household utility bills. A reader was kind enough to send us his just received ConEd bill for the month ended Februery 10. The result speaks for itself. It also speaks for where so much of US household disposable income will go in first quarter. Spoiler alert: not toward discretionary purchases.


If readers have more dramatic instances of the "Polar Vortex" invoice shock, please forward them to us at the usual address.

And unfrotunately it will get worse before it gets better. On the back of a rapid decline in the "glut" of low cost natural gas (as stockpiles are drawn down to the lowest level since 2004) and the shift in forecast (that the freezing weather could last well into March), Natural gas futures are soaring (up over 10% today). This is the highest front-month futures contract price since December 2008 as "the possibility of periodic shortages now looms."



Charts: Bloomberg

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RacerX's picture

cue the obligatory "Hitler gets his electric bill" video.


Headbanger's picture

Because Obama..   Again.

Dr. Engali's picture

Is it possible to have one post without Zero's name drug into it? I don't like him either, but I'm not to the point where I'm deranged.... at least when it comes to him.

NoDebt's picture

You'll get past that, Doc.

john39's picture

just wait until the marxist renewable energy mandates really kick in over the next decade.  consumers will be required to buy energy from  wind and solar (at a much higher cost).  bend over...   but thank goodness we are stopping global warming....  bwahahaha!!!!!

johnQpublic's picture

if he had a smart meter he could have managed his use better

johnQpublic's picture

electric for the last bill 280 bucks

100 gallons of oil at 3.89

n wilmington de

heat pump w/oil backup

14 seer

87% oil burner

edit: thats why we are selling this monstrosity and down sizing to 672 sq ft plus a loft

janus's picture

after reviewing your utility bill, read this piece by P. Noonan.


i don't think i've ever shared anything from an olde line pub here on the Hedge...but, goddamit, seems some sense may be seepin in somewhere.

but, with respect to my purposes, i more than hope the 'elites' continue on blaspheming decency and honor.  the french sure did take kindly to such effrontery back some 200 or so years ago...and, hell's bells, the french peasants didn't even have guns.  this should be fun.

who needs a guillotine when you've got an AR-15.


happiness is a warm gun,


schoolsout's picture

One bedroom apartment in sunny Mt. Pleasant, SC which usually is $85/month was $225 from Jan 4- Feb 4

FEDbuster's picture

It's not like Obummer didn't warn you about what he was going to do:

"Electricity rates will necessarily skyrocket"


BeanusCountus's picture

Skyrocketing rates are a non-issue. No one will be any poorer because the increases wont be included in any "inflation" numbers because of the "product substitution" factor! Thats because some asshole will figure that this "increased cost" can be avoided by doing something like "periodically burning scrap paper and plastic in the center of one's living room seventeen times per day" to minimize the impact. But wait! It gets better! The actual out of pocket spending on utilities will be reported by CNBC as "an increase in consumer spending" that proves the economic recovery is ALIVE AND WELL!. Plus, i have yet to see an "increase" in consumer spending attributed to the weather.

And so it goes.

mjcOH1's picture

"Skyrocketing rates are a non-issue. No one will be any poorer because the increases wont be included in any "inflation" numbers because of the "product substitution" factor!"


It's true.   Just substitute being cold for being warm and it's all good.

FEDbuster's picture

Plus, people will burn more calories trying to stay warm with their thermostats set at 60 degrees, leading to less obesity!!  The "I Cannot Afford to Heat My Home Diet".


RazvanM's picture

Nope, just use one more winter jacket indoors. East european communist experience ;)

MontgomeryScott's picture

And you thought this stuff was natural, didn't you?


The third project also utilizes the mixture of barium salts in the atmosphere. Weather control is a project of the U.S. Air Force and utilizes Nikola Tesla concepts of radio frequency radiation (HAARP) against the ionosphere above the earth and control the jet stream. Fragile life support systems in our environment are being manipulated, tested and altered by government for military advantage. Air Force documents implied, "the risks are high but the rewards are worth it." The mixture of barium salts, supporting moisture, is encouraged along the weather fronts and
manipulated in a control fashion. It is believed microwave energy is also utilized in the weather control program. Weather data is also a required input to the VTRPE program of the RFMP system.

In the broadest sense, weather- control can be divided into two major categories: suppression and intensification of weather patterns. In extreme cases, it might involve the creation of completely new weather patterns, attenuation or control of severe storms, or even alteration of global climate on a far-reaching and/or long-lasting scale. In the mildest and least controversial cases it may consist of inducing or suppressing precipitation, clouds, or fog for short times over a region. Other low-intensity applications might include the alteration and/or use of near space as a medium to enhance communications, disrupt active or passive sensing, or other purposes. The primary areas include generation and dissipation of precipitation, clouds, and fog; modification of localized storm systems; and
the use of the ionosphere and near space for space control and communications dominance.

Flakmeister's picture

Don't strap that tinfoil hat on too tightly, you might cut off the circulation to your brain...

Just Observing's picture

Yep.....and I was sure this was CHANGE that sorry fck was kidding about.

So, in addition to the wood we've always burned, I installed enough solar so our Jan bill was 11 bucks.

cbxer55's picture

One bedroom apartment in Midwest City Oklahoma. 

Normal is around $65.00 to 75.00.

The last two have been almost $150.00.  ;-(

Not a killer, but still a pisser.


walküre's picture

that's why skinny women suck as a bed warmer

most of them can't cook to save their life either

Flakmeister's picture

Had to do a double take...

Thought you said skinny women suck cock in bed better...

pursueliberty's picture

That isn't true either, bigger women try harder.

HyBrasilian's picture

No ~ He said you suck & are a bed wetter

willwork4food's picture

I thouht he said skinny women warm the cock better.

johnQpublic's picture

skinny woman as a cock warmer

Stuck on Zero's picture

You can heat a house cheaper than satiating a chunky female with Sees Chocolates.


Seer's picture

The farther from the equator you are the more you want to ensure that you have a nice east<->west axis home/living space with ample glazing (I believe 15% to 18% of total floor space) facing toward the equator.  And, of course, no significant obstructions to block the free solar anergy.

DaveyJones's picture

even the ancient Greeks designed for passive solar. It really does work. And it's cheap and easy to insulate 

Infinite QE's picture

Are you building or buying to achieve that size? Most housing stock out there was built for 1950's level energy prices.

johnQpublic's picture


28x24 with 24x14 loft bedroom

triple pane argon low-e windows

r-49+ roof insulation

6 inch walls r-cant remember and foil backed foam on the outside adds another r-4

catalytic wood burner

dry well septic

shallow well fed off the 'ledge' bedrock

timber should last 30 years on 14 acres

plus apple and pear trees

multiple kinds of berries

greenhouse 20x12

bear,deer,turkey hunting

debating backup heat source of electric or propane

stream fed from snowpack

one of two properties with access to 3350 acres of forever wild state parkland behind me up the hill

april 14th cant come fast enuf

Infinite QE's picture

That's sound great. You may want to consider a radiant heat system with a concrete slab. Can run an external wood stove to generate thermal storage in the heat slab.

jbvtme's picture

how is it that the weather chanel has been 100% correct all winter about the forcast (going out ten days)?

NOTaREALmerican's picture

Maybe GS is running the weather trading desk?

jimmytorpedo's picture

The weather channel has an inside guy at HAARP?

Flakmeister's picture

You realize that HAARP is not currently operational?

Not that it would make a lick of difference...

Calmyourself's picture

Oh My Gosh, Flak is right about something, I hear angel trumpets..  Now if we could just figure a way for Government to have complete control over all energy usage and increase taxes these pesky climate variations would go away and the ideal climate would emerge from its hidey hole in Santas cave at the N. Pole.

TheGoldMyth's picture

Calmyourself, yes Flakmeister is right about HAARP, but then what is his replacement theory? Where is the climate coming from now?

Economic Climate Science can provide answers to this question.

""Allow me to control the CO2 emissions your economy produces, and i care not who has HAARP""

TheGoldMyth's picture

As ZH resident Economic Climate Change Scientist i look at how economic activity increases or decreases the very  CO2 emissions that cause climate.

HARRP is no longer needed now that weather modification is achieved directly by modifying/controlling the CO2 levels more efficiently using economic means. 

"Give me control of CO2 production, and i care not who has HAARP"

As you probably already know, CO2 causes climate and therefore if the economy improves (Generates more CO2) we Economic Climate Change Scientist's can know in advance that the weather gets warmer due to xtra CO2 that creates a man made greenhouse.

In the case of polar vortex's these are created by crashing an economy until its capacity to generate CO2 is thwarted. Foreclosed houses collectively cannot produce CO2 and these aggregate with other poor economic factors until CO2 generation grinds to a halt which of course removes the greenhouse effect exposing the region to intense cold.

In the end game, the only CO2 necessary to maintain a warm Climate is produced by Molotov cocktails. But the emission of CO2 from Molotov cocktails is not enough to aggregate sufficient CO2 to return the climate to greenhouse conditions.

HAARP is no longer used and is old technology now that CO2 that causes climate can be controlled using economic means on a regional basis.

This is the stuff us Economic Climate Scientists (ECS) study/predoct.

You will note that as ZH resident ECS, i was well ahead of the curve and have been predicting an economic ice age for some time.

TheGoldMyth's picture

Flakmeister, you sir are not listening. This is totally new science!!

DCFusor's picture

Well, myself, I *volutarily* went off-grid re power in '79 and the system's paid for itself, and this storm, I was the only one in my neighborhood that didn't lose power.  I heat with wood, prepaid in the sense I cut it last year.  While I  usually drive an electric car, this snow was a bit past what it will navigate, and so I burned ~5 gal of gas in my truck - my total gasoline this year.

The "standard" lifestyle isn't the only option, bitchez - you choose to be dependent, you take the whole package.

Start your own business - telecommute, make others commute to you, otherwise.  Cube slave and commuting in a city is for suckers, who never get an even break.  Get off your whiney keyboard and change your life, instead.  It's better.

It's not less work, it's just different work.  I find it more fulfilling, personally.

Renewable Life's picture

Amen Brother, I'm with you!

Seer's picture

I burn diesel.  And I'm happy that I have it.  Takes energy to fetch the firewood (although my dog is a bigger dog it's not nearly big enough to play the part of draft horse).

As to wood-cutting, I've never even attempted to cut using electric, and axes are out of the question (though I do split manually via splitting axe [Fiskars makes a kick-ass one]).  So... I think you might be understating your fuel consumption a bit.

Though we use propane to cook with (consumption is extremely low) my wife CAN cook via wood fire (assuming the weather is decent enough).

Lastly, PASSIVE SOLAR.  I've done enough research on the solar tech side of things to know that the "return" can't begin to approach the payback of passive: batteries don't last forever and, they're not cheap! (cheaper than piped-in electricity perhaps, but that stiall doesn't equate to "affordable" [passive solar has ZERO cost]).

For sure, best to have alternatives.  But, not all "alternatives" are the be-all-end-all, in which case one should consider alternatives to "alternative" (energy sources), if applicable.

"Start your own business - telecommute, make others commute to you, otherwise.  Cube slave and commuting in a city is for suckers, who never get an even break.  Get off your whiney keyboard and change your life, instead.  It's better."

This strategy would fail if everyone were to do it.  Those folks with city jobs have city pay.  My customers tend to be city customers who can afford to pay more than what grocery stores price at.  Yeah, it's a HUGE connundrum for me: I try and keep my costs low in the belief that the grocery store stuff has nowhere to go but up (and, so far, it's panning out exactly this way).

Do I like cities?  Not necessarily.  Do I like living and working hard in the country?  YES.  I have no illusions that [in the US] 300+ million people can move to the country and all become self-sufficient.

The answers need more questions...

disabledvet's picture

well...they don't have many trees due west of Ohio.


also coal is by far the most efficient heating source.
http://www.scraptirenews.com/tdf.php well, next to used tires apparently.

And of course if you're from Chicago

unlike New York City which uses steam.

In other words if you're living in Chicago you're not a happy camper here.
On the other hand
and yes...they do used wood boilers to generate electricity up there too.

Renewable Life's picture

If any schmuck out there thinks that the centraliztion of the energy, fuel, and utility complex is the answer......I feel sorry for ya son, your fucked! Big energy aint in business to give a shit about the indivdual and their "money problems"!!!

If you cant pay, fuck off and freeze, if you cant pay, fuck off and walk, and so on and so on! The great scheme of globalization wont be turned back, by thinking you can buy your fuel and energy cheaper in some "deregulated" bullshit market, either produce what you need yourself in a decentralized manner, or get down on your fucking hands and knees slave! 

Meat Hammer's picture

In my area of California, you can't warm yourself with a fire whenever you want. I'm starting to think the energy companies have greased the palms of the politicians to sell this as "Spare the Air" nonsense to keep the serfs using their heaters.


It is your responsibility to Check Before You Burn. First time violations will result in a $50 fine or an option to complete and pass a wood smoke awareness course. Fines for subsequent violations are higher.

I'd use the $50 ticket as kindling for the next night's fire.

And it gets better...

To report a complaint or suspected violation from November through February,
call the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District at 1-800-880-9025.


Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Marxist, shmarxist.  On this one I'm gonna have to respectfully disagree.

Carbon fuels might be compact, cost-effective and convenient energy sources, but let's be honest:  Even carbon fuels are nothing more than nature's BATTERIES.  EverReady, move over!  Carbon fuels are the real long-life batteries, and they store ancient sunlight -- for the most part, if we bracket out the geo-thermal dynamics of Natural Gases created during earth's formation.

Ultimately, ALL useful, non-nuclear fuel comes from the true "Giver of Life" on Earth:  the SUN. 

Unless we have a massive global depopulation to stretch out the dwindling supply of carbon fuels (for decades or centuries more, depending on the population and its consumption rate), the laws of math and physics will give us NO choice but to start capturing and using as much solar/renewable power as possible. We need to diversify our energy sources from all sources, and we need way more local and regional solutions.  In short, a whole new Ecosystem in the creation and delivery of energy is emerging -- with oil-drilling old-timers trying to hang to their market share and lifestyle.  I get that.

But if you've seen any recent TV commercials (in the last few years), you'll note that even Big Oil is (BP, Shell) is getting into the Green/Renewable act.  And it's more than just PR.

Professorlocknload's picture

23 million years of stored sunlight, the cheap half of which was used up in a bit over a hundred years.

The North and East will be forced South and West, gradually, as the price of fuels rises. And that's if Statist carbon taxes don't materialize. If they do the warmist tax gig, the relocation process will accelerate.

I would expect more Detroits up there in future. Sure don't think I would invest in Ice Belt RE.




Flakmeister's picture

How could you grasp the intrinsic nature of fossil fuels and be oblivious to the fact  that releasing all that sequestered carbon in such a short period time will result in a climatic shock....

Inquiring minds want to know...

TheAnswerIs42's picture

I dunno, why would that happen now when it didn't happen in the past?


Flakmeister's picture

Really, I suggest you google PETM...

Hint P is for Paleocene....

And that was slow motion compared to the present...