COVID 19 Impact on Residential Energy Usage
With stay-at-home orders imposed all over the country since March, it’s no surprise that residential energy usage increased above normal. With working from home, streaming, and progressively warmer months, people are experiencing an increase in their usage and their energy bills. But how much has it increased? How much has COVID-19 impacted the residential energy sector?
At the beginning of summer, data suggested one-third of Americans would see a spike in home energy bills this summer with a 10-15% increase. The prediction has proven to be quite accurate, though, of course, it depends heavily on the location. Households in hotter climates may be experiencing as much as 20%. This increase, in combination with rising utility costs, has a growing number of households turning to solar to soften the impact.
Stay-at-home Orders Increased Electricity Costs and Demand
During typical times, residential demand for electricity declines during March and April due to spring’s pleasant weather. Yet, instead of declining in 2020, usage increased significantly. This is largely due to COVID19 and the fact that many families are now working, going to school, and spending most of their recreational time at home. With more time at home and more devices connected than ever, its no wonder why so many families are seeing such a dramatic increase in power consumption.
A Look at the “Duck Curve”
We’ve all heard the term “flattening the curve” in regard to COVID-19. Stay-at-home orders were put in place to achieve that curve, which has led to a change in another curve. Most people are at work or school between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm. During that time, there is an expected decline in residential energy usage known as the “Duck Curve.”
During social distancing this year, the average home energy usage started around 5 am and peaked out at 4 pm in the spring. There were initially declines in the evening and overnight hours. Though, as summer progresses and temperatures rise, the peak hour is extending. Hence, since people are home all day, the “duck curve” is also flattening across America.
Is Increased Residential Usage Harming the Environment?
According to the Global Energy Review 2020, the overall electricity demand has decreased by 20% or more in many countries. That is because of the dramatic change in commercial and industrial operations due to COVID-19. So, while the residential sector has seen an increase in the opposite direction, the overall energy usage is down. This a good thing for our environment, although you may not be seeing it in your energy bill!
The data clearly shows that daily energy usage began to increase mid-March around the country. The demand changes vary by state, so it’s easy to see which states had the least amount of people staying home. The later stay-at-home orders were implemented, the later the Duck Curve was affected. As summer comes to a close, more data will reveal how much COVID-19 impacted energy usage in the peak energy months.
It’s worth noting that solar powered homes saw significantly lower increases in their energy bills, if any at all. A growing number of households are turning to solar to lower their energy costs while remaining cool and comfortable at home. See how much residential solar can help you mitigate these rising energy costs with a no-hassle, free quote.