Because I have more than ten years of experience as an electrical engineer, many people ask me:
Why is my electric bill so high during lockdown?
Does it have anything to do with the actual lockdown? Did the utility increase the rates? Or is it just a coincidence?
That’s why I decided to write this short article where I help you know the main 5 reasons your have a high electricity bill during lockdown, and what you can do about it.
Without further ado, let’s begin!
5 Reasons Your Electricity Bill Is So High During Lockdown
More Time at Home Leads to More Electricity Consumption
When you stay at home for longer hours due to the lockdown, it is inevitable that you would consume more electricity through different appliances.
You might ask: why would I consume more energy during the lockdown when I’m still the same person?
The answer is simple.
When you used to work at the office or at a shop, you used to use workplace’s electricity and other utility services for operating your laptop, for keeping the place warm or cool based on the season, to keep the drinking water cold, to heat water for making coffee or tea, and so on.
And you used to use the lights for performing your work, or for going to the bathroom.
Now that you are staying at home during the daytime, you would need to use home’s energy supply in order to heat or cool down the water, keep the place warm or cool, use lights when you go to the bathroom or kitchen, and use electricity to charge your laptop if you are working remotely.
These all lead to increasing your electric bill during the lockdown period.
Add to that, if others live with you, such as your spouse, kids, or a roommate, then they would now also consume more electricity in the same way as you do, which further increases your energy bill during the lockdown period.
Another factor that can cause a significant increase in your electric bill during lockdowns is the time in which you consume electricity.
One of the many reasons why energy companies have different tariffs is the consumer behavior and electricity consumption patterns in the locations where these companies sell energy.
In some areas, the demand on electricity increases significantly during certain hours of the day, which are called “Peak Hours”.
For example, during winter, the energy consumption might significantly increase from 4 pm – 8 pm when every one is back at home and wants to heat the place, heat water, turn lights on because it’s getting darker, starts, …etc.
This creates pressure on the power grid, which might not be able to supply all the demand requested by all of its consumers.
If the company was to upgrade the system in order to handle this peak demand for few hours of the day, then the cost to do so will be high, and the payback period would be too long because the company would use this additional capacity to supply electricity for few hours everyday, and then the system will work at low capacity at the rest of the day.
To solve this issue, companies charge different prices for the same consumer based on what time they consume energy, charging higher rates during the peak hours, and lower rates during the rest of the day.
This is called the Time-Of-Use tariff structure.
The aim is to encourage consumers to shift as much of their energy demand to outside the peak hours and distribute it over other hours of the day.
How does this increase your energy bill during lockdown?
It is because you might not be aware of the TOU tariff, and maybe before the lockdown, you used to do laundry, ironing, wash dishes, …etc., outside the peak hours when the rates are low.
But now that you are at home all the time, you probably started doing many of these activities during the peak hours when the electricity rates are high.
So, even with the same consumption of energy in kWh’s, your electric bill would increase during the lockdown period because you have shifted the energy consumption into peak-demand hours.
The solution here is to check out the details on your bill, power company’s website, or call them and find out what the peak hours are, and do your best to shift as much of your electricity usage to outside of these hours.
You can do this by shifting all the activities that can be done at anytime such as doing laundry or ironing into the off-peak hours.
And space heating and cooling, or water heating, you can turn on the necessary systems during the one hour before the peak hours start, heat up water, warm up or cool down the place depending on the season, and turn these systems off just before the peak hours start.
And try to preserve the temperature of the place and reduce the consumption of hot water as much as possible during these hours in order to avoid turning these systems and appliances on again during the peak hours.
Unconscious Waste of Energy
There are many behavior patterns that you, and others who live with you, might be doing that waste additional energy that you don’t benefit from, which then increases the amount of energy you withdraw from the meter, and increases your bill.
And you might have been doing some of these things even before the lockdown, but now that you are at home all the day, the effect will dramatically increase causing your electric bill to go so high all of a sudden.
For example, you might leave the doors open between the heated/cooled rooms, and other spaces, or maybe, you leave some windows partially open, which causes the hot or cold weather outside affect your home’s temperature, causing the heating or cooling systems to work harder and longer in order to maintain the desired temperature.
You might leave some lights on all the time even though you don’t need them.
Same for fans, electric water heaters, TV, …etc.
Every one of these behavior patterns will cause more energy consumption, and will definitely increase your bill, whether before or during the lockdown.
But because you spend more time at home during the lockdown, these mistakes will cause a much more significant increase in your electricity bill.
Try to remain conscious on how you are using the different appliances and turn off any appliance that you don’t currently need in order to save as much as you can on electric bill.
Also, consider taking the necessary steps to use the AC economically as this is one of the biggest energy consumers during lockdown.
Also, broken appliances and devices, like broken water heaters, bad circuit breakers, faulty thermostats, bad wiring, …etc., all waste energy continuously, and because of the lockdown, you might be delaying the maintenance of these broken devices and systems, which eventually increases your electricity bill.
Try to take the necessary safety measures and fix broken and bad devices and appliances as soon as possible in order to save on the electric bill during the lockdown, and most important, in order to keep everybody safe.
More Hot Water Usage
As you stay at home all the day during the lockdown, you need to use hot water to wash your hands after every time you use the bathroom, after eating food, and for washing plates and cups.
And many people keep the water heaters on as long as they are at home, and that’s causes a lot of energy to be lost during the continuous internal on/off cycles the heater goes through as long as the power supply to that water heater is switched on.
Try to turn on the water heater for specific time slots and be conservative when using hot water, and try to heat the water just before the peak hours start.
You can use water heater timers to save money by scheduling when the heater would automatically switch on and off so that you don’t need to worry about forgetting it on all the time.
Normal Fluctuation in Bill
Besides staying at home and consuming more energy all the day during the lockdown, there are other reasons why electric bill fluctuates so much from one month to another.
For example, maybe the lockdown started while entering the coldest times of winter or the hottest times of summer, or probably it came together when the utility company increased the electricity prices, or maybe some device got faulty and started consuming more electricity just as you went into lockdown.
These all will make the first electric bill during the lockdown go so high and you would think that it was due to the lockdown itself, although it might not be the case.
Compare the electric bill increase to the increase in the bill of the same month of the past year, and try to assess if the increase was the same or more, taking into consideration any change in your behavior, any change in energy prices, or any broken or faulty equipment that might be wasting electricity.
Conclusion – Lower Your Energy Bills During a Lockdown
There you go.
I gave you five reasons of why your high electricity bill during the lockdown, and what you can do in order to mitigate them and lower your bill as much as you can during the hard times.
You may also consider investing in some devices that can lower your electric bill.
But if you live in a home that you own, then you can significantly cut your electric bill during the lockdown, or even eliminate it entirely.
You can do this by installing a renewable energy generation system that supplies your home with free energy.
Solar panels are the most predictable and efficient system that could eliminate your electric bill.
And the cost of installing them is much lower than the total sum you would pay over the years of their lifespan.
Not to mention that you end up increasing the value of your house by adding the solar system to it.
But even if you don’t have the capital to install a solar energy system, there’s a solution for that.
Some companies, like SunPower, the leading US solar company, can help you find the necessary financing of your solar system so that you install it without any down payment.
If you are interested if you qualify for a full funding for a solar energy system, you can visit SunPower’s website, fill in the zip code of your area, and complete a 1-minute survey about your home and current electric bill, and they will get back to you to arrange for a free appointment where you can discuss the available funding options.
This can really help save you money and combat the reasons that made your electric bill go so high during the lockdown.
I hope that my article was helpful for you and you know what to do know in order to cut your energy bill during the tough time of lockdowns.
If you still have any question or need any help, please, tell me in the comments’ section below, and I will do my best to help you out 🙂