• Adam H. Cooke

Blame the Pandemic for your High Utility Bills? I

Updated: 19 hours ago

Time at home increased in 2020, and so did the price we pay for utilities. Is this simple cause and effect, or is there something more at play?

Since the onset of the global pandemic, many people have seen a rise in their utility bills. According to one recent report, 39 percent of people worldwide say their utility bills are up since COVID-19 quarantining began.

It would be tempting to pin any increases you’ve seen directly on COVID-19. But in truth, there are likely other factors at play. Read on for a clearer picture of the increases you may be experiencing, and learn some tips to counteract them.

  • Utility Consumption vs. Costs

  • Other Utility Bill Factors

  • Your Household

  • Where You Live

  • Weather

How To Lower Utility Bills

First: Is Utility Consumption Really Up?

Yes — and no. Clearly, as National Public Radio reported in August, patterns of at-home electricity use have shifted.

Pre-pandemic, people typically used more electricity in the morning as they went about their AM routines and less during work and school hours when they usually weren’t home. Now it’s steadily rising throughout the day, ultimately leading to utility bill sticker shock for some families. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) short-term energy outlook backs that up. Data forecasts show that residential electricity sales will increase by 2.5 percent this year. Residential natural gas consumption, however, is a different story. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) short-term energy outlook, demand nationwide is actually expected to be slightly lower in 2020 than it was in 2019. So far, the EIA reports that residential use is averaging 13.2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) compared to 13.8 Bcf/d last year, down 0.6 Bcf/d.

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