Were there "record cold temps" in MD/DC this winter?

PEPCO (Potomac Electric Power Company, the utility) was deregulated a while back, and their rates have been rising ever since, generating a lot of discussion and news stories.

Now they’re running a commercial that starts out “Record cold temperatures and other factors have caused electricity rates to rise…” Well, we know what the “other factors” are, but were there really “record cold” temps this winter in the Maryland/DC area? I don’t really remember sch, and I’d like to establish the veracity of the PEPCO claim.

I’ve done some Googling but I keep getting more general information.

I’m having a hard time finding a site that doesn’t expect you to pay, or isn’t interminably slow (WaPo, I’m looking at you!), so I’ll give my first-person WAG.

Having lived through 19 winters here, I can tell you that this winter was not as bad as we’ve had in the past. I suspect, though, that Pepco’s statement is one of those things that’s perhaps technically true, but not in as meaningful a way as their statement would have you believe.

We definitely had less snow than usual this year, though that’s not likely relevant. I’d call B.S., on Pepco’s reputation alone.

Well, there were some days that seemed to get close. It could be that records were broken not in DC, but maybe in one of the suburbs. For example, on March 3, Weather Underground says that DC got down to 14 degrees, and the record low was 11 in 1928. It seems plausible that some place in the region might have set a new record low on that particular day.

Below is a link from the NOAA / National Climatic Data Center with the climate summary for the three winter months Dec-Feb :http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/2009/feb/3month.html

I would not call it record cold in general, but the Northeast and Midwest did tend to be slightly colder than average and these are well populated, colder areas where the “heating degree days” add up. This could have lead to increased demand. January was the real cold month in some areas. I think they are not being completly straight when they say it was record cold. They are relying on our perceptions where we usually think it was really cold last winter or really hot last summer when in fact it may have been just a few days or weeks that were .