The Impact of COVID-19 on Consumer Energy Use (an EPRI National Survey)

The Impact of COVID-19 on Consumer Energy Use (an EPRI National Survey) Energy Federation Incorporation EFI | Energy Federation Incorporation

Earlier this spring, the Electric Power Research Institute performed a national survey on the impact of COVID-19 on consumer energy use and outlook – virtually, of course! They received 2,000 responses and shared the results this week.

Some of the topics the survey asked about were the concern over energy bills, the need to skip a utility bill payment, and what changes have been noticed most since remaining at home.

changes in energy usage due to covid19
31% of those with children schooling at home reported seeing an increase in their energy bills. The concern is valid – with 66% reporting an increase in electronic device use,  42% reporting more lighting use, and 39% reporting a rise in kitchen appliance use, it is no wonder that over 60% of those whose jobs have been impacted by COVID-19 answered that they were very concerned about their energy bills.

energy bills are affected
Where do utility customers go from there? What can they do with that concern? The current crisis has inspired some homeowners to make changes related to their energy use: 27% say they have been changing their household energy use habits. That number rises to 41% for those unemployed or whose businesses have been bit hit hard during this time.

Still, that doesn’t erase all worry. One of the most interesting sections of the survey focuses on the expectation a customer has of their utility company. When asked “what actions do you expect your electric utility to take?” very few take matters into their own hands to find out how they can lower their bill: 40% expect their utility to provide guidance on how to reduce their energy usage.

Not all homeowners are aware of the ways they can save money on their utility bills. They need a helping hand. Some of the feedback received regarding hearing from their utility included “utility won’t do anything” and “utility hasn’t contacted me.”

So what’s a utility to do? Some examples of how utility companies can support their customers right now are: launch energy-efficient programs customers can take advantage of, offer an online marketplace where customers buy energy-efficient products at a discounted rate, or even offer a free energy-saving kit that comes with sample products such as LED light bulbs, water-saving showerheads, and information on other ways customers can save energy at home.

The above empowers customers to make the changes, feel good about their energy use, and see significant changes to their utility bills.

For more information and results, please click here.


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