Ah, the future is dim! But in my crystal ball I see.... wailing and gnashing of teeth! Luxuries and comforts foregone, hopes dashed! Coming soon, very soon, even.... yes, next month I see it. As those pernicious envelopes are ripped open and the figure is glimpsed, people all across these cold-blasted lands will curse in anguish at their heating bill.
Here in Oklahoma, we have had a run of freezing weather not seen in decades. Record lows from the 19th century have been broken. Schools are being closed so that kids with "insufficient outerwear" will not have to walk to school or stand outside for the buses; and perhaps so the heating bill for the school won't be quite so bad.
We have a geothermal heating system that keeps our electric bill (which includes heating, water heating and cooling) very reasonable. We were warned by the geo installer not to vary the temperature up and down over the course of the day because it would not reduce our heating costs. In the last few days, with lows hovering under 10 degrees, our secondary backup electric heating system has been kicking in. This is a bad sign, because that furnace is way, way, less efficient than the geo. But the geo just can't keep up when it gets this cold.
So start planning for a large heating bill next month, my friends, even if you have turned down the thermostat lower than normal and started wearing hats in the house. I anticipate a bill at least 50% higher than a usual January. We've lowered the thermostat two degrees (a pittance!) in an effort to keep the electric furnace from running, so maybe it won't be that bad. We won't know for sure until that fateful day arrives.... Until then, I can just hope that this weather will FINALLY kill off the squash bugs that have lived in my garden for the last two years straight.