The Americans deal with many financial challenges associated with a pandemic during a recession: job losses, limited to lease agreements and a reduction in 401(k) contributions. The data show that many also see a significant increase in their utility bills and electricity each month because of remote work. About it writes USA Today.
Experts believe that most of the additional spending should not be a surprise, because people spend more time at home.
According to Katie Allen, an expert on savings in the Pacific Gas and Electric Company in California, the pandemic has caused consumers energy to stay indoors more than usual, in the hottest months of the year, which can lead to increased energy costs.
“This summer the house will be more families, and it seems that the school year distance learning also will make people sit at home,” she added.
Fluctuations in electricity bills are usually the result of changes in ambient air temperature. Electricity bills are usually the lowest in the milder spring and autumn months when you don’t need to run air conditioners or heaters.
But due to the fact that people spend more time at home, have one-third of U.S. households, energy bills increased by 10-15% this summer, according to the company Arcadia dealing with environmentally friendly energy.
According to Arcadia, most households will spend more, from $2 to $37 on utility bills this summer.
Electricity bills Joe Toscano increase by about $20 a month, as he works from home in Pittsburgh (PA), and often uses air conditioning. His wife also uses more electricity to work from home. Like his daughter, who switched to distance learning in March.
“I use my computer from 09:00 to 22:00 hours on the day, as my wife and my daughter, said Toscano. — Earlier we did not do so”.
Ways to reduce electricity bill
If your electricity bills are rising, you can do something to cut costs, but your approach should depend on where you live, experts say.
People who live in deregulated energy States, such as Texas, Rhode island, Pennsylvania and Ohio, you have several options for saving more than others, according to Ben Kurland, co-founder of the billing negotiation service BillFixers.
“Those who live in deregulated markets, to find the cheapest fare offered by them, said Kurland. — The default rate you pay is probably not the lowest available”.
Get to know the market
After seeing the rates of other companies, you can either go to a new company, or to use this knowledge as leverage to negotiate with your current electricity supplier.
People who live in regulated States, such as Mississippi, Alabama and Nevada, do not have freedom to enter the market, open energy, since these States choose energy suppliers for them. If you live in a state with capacity regulation, you should call your electricity supplier to learn about special offers for which you may qualify.
“They will not apply the discount to which you are entitled if you do not contact them,” said Kurland.
If you are not sure whether your state regulated or unregulated, Arcadia published the full list to which you can refer.
According to Barry gross, CEO of BillCutterz, you can negotiate with the providers to obtain more favorable prices for customers, and you can ask to pay your bill in installments.
In addition to your electric company, there are other places where you can find a way to reduce the electricity bill.
The government offers assistance program for people with low income are designed for people who need temporary assistance to cover the cost of heating and cooling. There are also other related COVID-19 efforts to provide assistance to help families who are faced with financial problems. For Example, Solix Inc. working with the authorities to provide people with access to critical services, including electricity.
Experts believe that energy-saving light bulbs, air conditioners, smart thermostats and other appliances can save you money.
You can also reduce the brightness of the TV, turn off appliances that are not used. Many connected electronic devices use power even when they are not working.
“If you have a million little connected electronic devices, they are all just connected, doing nothing, except to eat from stress,’ said Kurland. You spend a few dollars on it every month.”
Allen of PG&E says that people should use window curtains to enable the full capacity of the air conditioning system. The air conditioning costs make up 40% of your electricity bills, she said.
“Close the curtains in the second half of the day to prevent extreme heat in your home,” said Allen. People should try to limit the frequency of opening the refrigerator because it consumes more energy to cool after you let the air out.