Amid the pandemic, beware utility bill shock

The good news is that most utilities across the country are not going to disconnect on nonpayment or arrears for a few months. The bad news is you’re going to be spending more than you might expect during quarantine.

If you’re a fan of Nest thermostats, or Sense energy monitoring, this will not come as much of a surprise to you, but if you’re home 40% more because you’re not in the office, you’re probably using 40% more energy with computers, heating, cooling, looking in the fridge for the eleventh time.

As I’m running two home offices and a small school out of my house now, the heat, TV, two computers, multiple monitors, and coffee pot are running that otherwise would not. Besides that, the oven is being used more, breakfast is happening, doors opening and closing more as we throw the children out back for quality airing out time.

Now, you can add up every device, but the main energy users are going to be heating/air. So try and stay cool/warm in other ways if you can. Having little kids, not much I can do on the temp.

Your coffee pot can use about $10 a month in electricity if you’re keeping a pot warm for two hours, so do your part and chug that pot.

Opening that fridge over and over again in normal times wastes 50-120kWh a year, now you’re home 40% more and hoping that a pizza magically appears so that’s an additional couple of bucks a month just there.

You can do the math, but it’s pretty simple when you occupy 40% more, you can expect at least 40% higher utility bills. When you make your coffee at home (heating elements=electric meter spinning,) and have a computer running you’re using more.

Laptops, you’re probably looking at about 5 bucks a month to run, a computer it’s going to depend on the power supply and how many watts it’s actually pulling, which you can tell with a device like a Kill-A-Watt or similar (tagged link, we make commission.) A good 1000 watt power supply and a computer doing nothing should not pull much during idle times, but if it’s a garbage PSU and you’re pulling all the amps for bitcoin mining or yelling at Brenda on Zoom to take it off mute, you could be using 20 cents an hour.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts