Why Your Electric Bill is Rising and What to Expect in Summer 2020

We’re investigating why energy bills are climbing during the lockdown and what to expect as we go into summer. Researchers at Columbia University measured electricity consumption in hundreds of New York City apartments and found that on weekdays, energy use was up by 7 percent overall, and by nearly 25 percent from 9am to 5pm. (According to The New York Times article Your Energy Bill Is Probably Climbing. Here’s Why.)

This is even though the weather is still relatively cool in New York and most other parts of the country.

What to expect in Summer 2020

If the COVID-19 lockdowns continue into summer, when the heat and humidity soar and people run their air conditioners all day, these numbers are likely to rise even more.

Normally, during summer, weekdays power consumption rises late in the day, said Christoph Meinrenken, a physicist and one of the Columbia researchers. “There’s a big bump in the evening when people get home and try to cool down their bedrooms and other rooms. Now imagine all of these people are home during the day.”

Can the utilities handle the strain?

Utilities say that so far, the overall electricity consumption across the country is down. There’s been an increase in home use, but sharp declines among closed industrial and commercial customers. Even with energy bills climbing during the lockdown, should residential demand rise as the weather warms, they don’t foresee any systemwide problems and are prepared if spikes in air-conditioning use strain distribution networks in residential neighborhoods.

The biggest effect may be on the pockets of residential customers. Especially among the millions of people who have lost jobs during the crisis.

Con Edison (New York) says it will not shut off power to customers who cannot pay their bills. It will also waive any new late-payment fees or charges for paying by credit card. Other utilities around the country are taking similar measures.

How can solar help?

Solar is a way to pay less for something you would have to pay for regardless. Most energy observers recognize that the cost of renewable energy has declined dramatically in the last decade. The investment firm Lazard’s report shows that over the last decade the levelized cost per unit of electricity from photovoltaic (PV) solar power plants has dropped about 90 percent. In many states in the Northeast, the cost of solar is below that of existing conventional sources like natural gas, coal and nuclear.

With Venture Solar, you can go solar for $0 out of pocket and start saving from day 1. Book a free virtual appointment with us! We’ll walk you through how solar works for your home and calculate down to the dollar how much money you can save. Please call us at (800) 203-4158 or fill this form for more information.