According to Arcadia, the technology company that makes clean energy as a renter and homeowner more accessible, the increase of energy usage will increase consumers’ bills by an average of 10 percent across all metro areas. Not all metro areas will experience increases in the same way. In fact, data found 13 metro areas in the U.S. will be impacted most.
The research, which looked at the energy bill history of 10,000 members, was conducted to encourage residents to make better-informed decisions on how to incorporate small adjustments into daily routines while monitoring energy usage.
“At Arcadia, we’re committed to sharing data and educational content to empower people to understand their relationship with energy, and its impact on the environment,” said Kiran Bhatraju, chief executive officer at Arcadia. “We’ve all transitioned to a new normal where many of us are spending more time at home, a burden that was normally offset by spending time at our workplace or elsewhere, especially as we head into warmer months.”
As millions of Americans began instituting stay-at-home orders in March it was unknown how long the change in routine would last. While many cities are beginning phases of reopening now, many Americans will be continuing to spend longer periods of time at home due both to unemployment and many companies continuing to work from home.
“With many businesses and schools closing or going remote, more people have been home during the day, resulting in less ‘peaky’ usage,” Bhatraju said. “Home electricity usage typically peaks in morning and evening, before and after typical school and work hours. It also means an increase in overall usage as more HVAC, lighting, and appliances are used when people are at home. Weekdays will look more like weekends where usage is less peaky as people are home more.”
All top 13 metro areas in the U.S. can expect to see energy bills increase from $2 to $37 per month. Notably, a majority of these cities are located on the East Coast including Philadelphia, New York, Boston and Washington, D.C. Arcadia estimates Philadelphia, New York, Boston will see the highest increases in the nation with estimates of $37, $34 and $23, respectively. In comparison, cities on the West Coast like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Riverside, Calif., and Seattle, will likely see increases between $2 and $20.
“In denser cities, there’s simply less room for individuals to go outside without running the risk of bumping into other people,” Bhatraju said. “These are also areas in which the coronavirus pandemic hit the hardest, so stay-at-home orders are either still in effect or lifting more slowly.”
While historical data from Arcadia has found that deep economic shocks have often promoted shifts away from spending as consumers prefer to save amid uncertainty, the company’s data has shown only rising energy consumption during the pandemic. However, with heightened interest and concern over at-home energy consumption, Arcadia hopes there will more attention drawn to the importance of fossil fuels still pervasive in the U.S. electricity industry and the need to support more clean energy.
“Energy powers everything we do and impacts our daily lives in thousands of ways,” Bhatraju said. “While we can’t speak directly to how increases in utility bills have impacted spending in other areas in the past, what we are seeing now is a heightened interest in how our change in lifestyles is impacting the environment. Two months ago, news headlines began to spotlight clearer skies and rivers as emissions decreased across the globe. Our individual carbon footprints began to shrink but our consumption didn’t disappear entirely. Much of it had simply shifted to one place – the home. Supporting renewable energy and paying closer attention to your home energy bills has never been more important. Renewable energy continues to drive down costs for everyone and getting smart about your energy can ensure that you are using your electricity efficiently without putting additional stress on the power grid.”
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