Switching to a heat pump will save you money if you are currently using propane, electric resistance heat, fuel oil or wood pellets for heating. Usually methane (natural) gas prices are so low that changing to a heat pump on purely economic grounds alone does not make sense. However methane prices have been volatile, and there have been times when this has made heat pumps very competitive.
You can do your own calculations. Your savings will depend on where you live (especially how cold winters get), the cost of your current heating fuel and the cost of electricity.
- New Mexico electricity prices vary widely from $0.087/kilowatt-hour (kwhr) in Lovington, NM to Union County where some residents pay $0.262/kwhr. Look at your utility and heating bills or find your fuel costs at findenergy.com.
- Use this calculator to compare the cost of fuels per unit of energy (MMBTUs or millions of British Thermal Units) where you live.
Here is a Fuel Cost Comparison for the Albuquerque/East Mountains area.
Residents receive methane (natural) gas from either New Mexico Gas (NM Gas) or EMW Gas, or they use propane from a variety of companies. Electricity is supplied by PNM or Central New Mexico Electric Coop (CNMEC).
Heating with electric heat pumps costs less ($16.60/MMBTU, Central New Mexico Electric Coop electricity prices; $13.69/MMBTU, PNM price) than heating with propane ($32.97/MMBTU), electric resistance ($49.82/MMBTU CNMEC or $41.03/MMBTU PNM), wood pellet stoves ($25.73/MMBTU), and hardwood stoves ($17.12/MMBTU).
As in other locales, heat pumps are typically more expensive to operate than methane (natural) gas ($9.21/MMBTU for NM Gas and $10.73/MMBTU for EMW Gas). However on some occasions, the price of methane has shot up, making heat pumps competitive. For example, in Feb. 2023, EMW Gas prices rose to $2.53/therm, meaning its customers were paying $27.43/MMBTUs (v. $16.60 for a heat pump). In January 2023, NM Gas Company was charging $1.31/therm or $14.20 per MMBTU, more than $13.69 for a heat pump).