Most information is best digested by experiencing it first hand. I had read so much about how cost of heat in winter in the US and other developed countries affects poor people. And I would always think: How is this a real problem? These folks can afford electricity in summer, but not in winter? How much could the increase in electricity consumption be in winter? 25% or 50% increase? That does not seem so bad, I would think.
Here is our handy electricity consumption graph provided by Santa Clara Utilities as an example:
Notice the jaw-dropping 175% increase in electricity consumption for us since winter began in December. So, for poor folks who live in countries in colder climates I can see how the heating cost in winter can be a burden for them.
In case you are curious, I do not think our heating use is extravagant. We are not keeping it toasty enough to walk around in shorts inside our home! There is a room thermometer in the living room and going by it we seem to usually maintain temperatures of 21-24 C (71-75 F) using heating. You would need to be fully clothed at these temperatures to feel warm and comfortable.
Our apartment is using two heating devices:
GE PTAC unit in the living room: This is used for about 3-6 hours in the day in sporadic bursts when it feels chilly inside. This unit looks old, older than any air conditioning technology I had previously seen in general use in Asia and Europe. I am guessing this air conditioner is probably inefficient by current standards and is probably causing most of that increase in electricity consumption.
Baseboard heater in the bedroom: This is used for about 6-8 hours during sleeptime. It takes ages to heat the room. But it is supposed to be highly efficient, drawing power similar to a normal appliance. It does seem efficient too cause I can put my hand inside above its heating strip and feel that it is increasing temperature of the air flowing through it by only a tiny bit.