coronavirus

Normally, this time of year, we would be covering tips on sustainable fashion or sharing how much energy goes into March Madness games, but as everyone knows, we are currently in a unique and unprecedented situation. Millions of people across the U.S. are now working and learning from home to help practice social distancing and limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. That means using more energy during off-peak hours. But what does that mean? In energy, we define peak times as when, where and how people are using energy.

For example, most of us at home use energy in the morning while we are getting ready for work and school, then the demand shifts to buildings, warehouses and plants until we get home again to cook dinner, watch TV and get ready for bed. This regularity means that power companies can predict with relative certainty how much energy needs to be available for consumers, and when.

With this mass behavior change, can Americans’ energy needs still be met?

Thankfully, the U.S. is the world’s largest energy producer, leading in oil and gas and second in wind and solar development, which means this self-sufficiency will come in handy as most Americans stay at home or shelter in place. While there is comfort in know they’ll be heat for homes and power to keep the lights on, there are many people who are concerned with how to pay the bill.

Regardless, the inevitability of the situation is that now, we’re using more energy at home than before and at different times than usual. Because our grid infrastructure is generally accustomed to certain peaks of activity , transferring from work and school’s to people’s homes is creating new peaks for energy usage as parents log into work, students use technology to access educational resources and other are spending more time streaming videos to stave off boredom.

While many utilities across the U.S. have promised to keep the power, heat and water on for all customers, and provide the best service they can amid the COVID-19 outbreak, with Americans spending more time at home and using more energy than normal, Consumer Energy Alliance is helping to provide consumers with six money-saving tips.

  1. Be smart about your thermostat.

    Spring weather can bring unpredictable weather, with some parts of the country being well on their way to warmer temperatures, and others may still see snow and signs of winter in the coming weeks. With these fluctuations, consumers can benefit from using a smart thermostat Why? It learns your heating and cooling patterns and adjusts the temperature accordingly, so your energy use and bills can change as well.

  2. Open the blinds and curtains.

    Don’t forget to open the blinds and curtains in your home, even if it doesn’t get direct sunlight. The natural light is great for working and helps minimize the use of overhead lights or desk lamps. If you’re going to use lights anyhow, make sure to turn them off in rooms when you’re not using them.

  3. Grab a blanket.

    If the area you are working from each day tends to be a little cooler, try using a blanket on your lap to ensure you are comfortable without turning up the heat.

  4. Use a smart power strip.

    If you’re working at home, you may have a computer, printer, scanner, phone, router, and many other devices or electronics. Smart power strips can help to make sure these devices aren’t drawing power when you aren’t using them while allowing you to choose a few items to always keep on.

  5. Unplug when you can.

    When at home, unplug everything you’re not using at that moment for work or school, including computers, printers, devices’ chargers, etc. You’ll cut down energy use being sucked up by electronics you aren’t using

  1. Use your Energy Saving settings on the computer.

    Did you know your computer has built-in settings for saving energy? By changing a few settings you can reduce a bit of energy use from your electricity bill.

While many Americans are spending more time at home now and potentially in the coming weeks, we are happy to continue helping energy consumers stay informed and better understand how energy impacts their daily lives today, and into the future.

 

If you have a helpful energy tip to share with us or have fun ways you and your family are saving money, please contact Consumer Energy Alliance at info@consumerenergyalliance.org.