stay at home order

Using More Power at Home? Here's Some Money-Saving Tips

NBC 7 Responds looked at ways we can all cut back on our energy usage at home

NBCUniversal, Inc.

It's hot across San Diego County, and that means people are rushing to turn on fans and air conditioners. With many San Diegans already working from home, the amount of electricity used is spiking for most. All of this means we will likely see higher energy bills, but there are ways to cut back on power usage.

"There are definitely going to be increases in your gas, electric and water bills," said Daniel Wroclawski of Consumer Reports.

San Diego Gas & Electric told NBC 7 Responds that it had seen a slight jump in energy usage. The utility compared the usage data four weeks before and four weeks after the stay-at-home order.

"The average weekly load for [homes] increased by 6 percent," read the statement from SDG&E. "For business customers [it] decreased by 16 percent."

The biggest increase in energy usage at homes occurred during the middle of the day, when most people would have been at work. But how can you cut back on the amount of energy you are using? Wroclawski has a lot of small suggestions.

"Make sure you're matching the size of your pots and pans to the size of your burners," Wroclawski said. "It sounds silly, but if you use a 6-inch pan on an 8-inch burner, you're wasting 40 percent of the heat."

Wroclawski said that microwaves use a lot of energy, so limiting how much you use it can cut back on your power usage. Also, try to set your AC a degree or two higher. Checking air filters can also make your appliances work more efficiently.

"Your furnace, humidifier, refrigerator -- all these appliances have filters," Wroclawski said. "You want to keep on top of them and get them changed. [Otherwise] it makes the appliance work harder and use more energy."

It's also a good practice to unplug appliances such as toasters and blenders that you may not use throughout the day. SDG&E says you can track your energy usage by logging into your account either online or in the utility's app.

If you're having trouble paying your SDG&E bill because of COVID-19, there is help available. A representative for SDG&E said that if your income has been reduced, you might be eligible for a 30 percent discount. More information on their assistance programs can be found here.

Because energy rates are set by the state of California, the utility has been working with policymakers to discuss "short and long-term rate solutions to further help customers."

If you want to find out more about SDG&E's tips and policies due to coronavirus, you can find more on their website here.

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