COVID-19 has caused a lot of people to spend most – if not all – of their time at home. This includes employees who work from home, those who are unemployed or temporarily laid off, and kids who virtually attend school. As a result, consumers in Texas and around the country are using more energy at home.
Most people are accustomed to having higher utilities on the weekends since these are times when families are most likely to be at home.
However, a paper by Steve Cicala at Tufts University revealed how much residential utilities have increased since the outbreak of COVID-19. He analyzed one hourly data set from Texas residents from May 2019 to May 2020. He also factored in heating and cooling adjustments.
Cicala found that residential energy consumption was 16 percent higher during work hours. Also, since the pandemic forced people to stay inside around the clock, some consumers were not enjoying the usual decline in energy consumption that typically occurs on Friday and Saturday nights when they would go out to eat or go to the movies.
He also analyzed a second data set covering utilities around the country. Cicala found that residential consumption rose by an average of 10 percent during the second quarter of 2020. During the same period, usage among commercial companies dropped 12 percent, and usage among industrial companies decreased 14 percent.
The report also reveals between April to July 2020, total U.S. residential electricity consumption resulted in households spending $6 billion more than usual. For at least 20 percent of U.S. consumers, electricity bills were, on average, $20 higher a month.