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Managing household energy use during unusual times

Published March 30, 2020

Things have changed a lot since we posted out light-hearted Spring Energy Saving Tips earlier this month. We recognize we’re all under a lot of stress right now. CUB is here to help consumers who are worried about their household energy bills. Hopefully, we can play a role in reducing some of your stress. 

We can provide guidance if you are worried about getting your energy services shut off. We can also provide customized suggestions to help your household stay comfortable while managing your energy use. Sign up for one of our phone-in utility bill clinics or contact us at info@cubminnesota.org or 651-300-4701 to arrange an appointment.

For those households who are used to being gone during the day and now have people at home all day, your energy use is going to increase. The good news is that it’s getting warmer outside. Energy bills naturally start to come down this time of year due to less heating.

Below are some household energy strategies to keep in mind during this unusual time.

  1. Adjust your thermostat based on the weather. For cold weather, set it at 68 degrees when home and up to 10 degrees cooler when away or at night. If it’s warm outside, have the air conditioner turn on when it is 78 degrees. Some households will want it warmer and some cooler, so it’s important to find the balance between saving energy and staying comfortable.  Use a programmable or smart thermostat to automatically control when the furnace or air conditioner turns on.
  2. Manage the sun. Keep window treatments open on cool days to let in the warm sun and close them on hot days to keep your home cool.
  3. Do a walk around your home and check if electronic or other items are on unnecessarily and turn them off. 
  4. Be aware of phantom power users – cable boxes, video game consoles, chargers for your phone and laptop, and things that have LED lights and electronic clocks on them still draw power even when they are turned off. When practical, unplug those items or put them on power strips and turn off the power strip.
  5. If you are already struggling or worried about keeping up with your energy bills, contact your utility and explain your situation. Additionally, energy assistance is available for income-qualified households.

CUB is here to help Minnesota consumers navigate their energy costs. Please reach out with any questions, and we’ll do our best to help you out.

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Author: Carmen Carruthers

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