The ongoing pandemic has many readers spending more time working from home, and, according to PG&E customer data, the new lifestyle could be adding as much as 10 percent to residential home energy usage.
The company launched a new webpage, (pge.com/hometips), to help customers reduce energy usage during the pandemic. The tips focus on three primary areas that drive higher energy use: electronics, heating and cooling, and lighting.
Electronic devices, keeping our homes warm or cool and keeping lights on all have a direct impact on energy usage when spending more time at home, especially with both work from home and distance learning more prevalent.
“We hope this new resource will help customers learn all about the small changes that can add up and reduce overall energy use at home,” said Aaron August, PG&E vice president of Business Development & Customer Engagement.
Save Energy When at Home
Electronics: Turn off equipment when away for 20 minutes or longer. Sleep or standby modes still use energy. Plug equipment into a smart power strip to easily shut off power to multiple devices when done for the day.
Heating and Cooling: Use a smart or programmable thermostat to control your home temperature. These devices can be programmed to run on your schedule, ensuring you don’t waste money when you’re away. PG&E offers smart thermostat rebates up to $120 to help these efforts. If programming your thermostat, set it to 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer, health permitting.
Lighting: Rely on natural light if available. Opening blinds or drapes on sunny days can supply light without using other light sources. Replace old lightbulbs with LED lighting. LEDs not only use less energy, but they also last longer.
Customers can also switch electric rate plans in favor of one that is possibly discounted.
Folks can also check if they are eligible for a PG&E Financial Assistance Program to help save you money on your bills or see if qualify for the Energy Savings Assistance Program for no-cost improvements to make the home more energy efficient, safe and comfortable.
You could be eligible for tax credits, if you made energy improvement renovations to your home.
Small business owners or self-employed people could qualify for the home office tax deduction in 2020.