Amid the stay-at-home order, more people are working or learning from home. In turn, many households are using more electricity.
“You could be seeing anywhere from a 25% – 50% increase, as we wash more clothes, we wash more dishes, we have lights on for a longer amount of time, and more gadgets plugged in,” said Brian Kealoha, the Executive Director of Hawaii Energy.
According to Hawaiian Electric, overall energy usage is actually down in part because tourism has come to a halt.
“The hotels, University of Hawaii, schools, a lot of government offices, half the banks are all closed and that’s reducing the electricity demand,” said Peter Rosegg, a spokesman at Hawaiian Electric.
Rosegg said although the exact usage has not been determined, it’s safe to say electricity usage for average households is up significantly.
“I think most households where you have people staying at home, including people working from home with laptops and other computers are probably using more [electricity] right now,” Rosegg explained.
Kealoha said one way residents can save on electricity is to take shorter showers.
“I think we think about wasting water when we’re in the shower, but it takes a lot of energy to take a shower,” Kealoha said.
Hawaii Energy suggested changing out light bulbs for LEDs because they use a lot less energy.
Other tips include using natural light, minimizing A/C run time, and unplugging anything that is not in use.
“We see a lot of people just leaving things plugged in when they’re fully charged,” Kealoha explained. “Make sure you shutdown your laptop or computer. Don’t leave it in a standby mode because even that uses energy.”
Kealoha said although the amount of energy a device uses while plugged and not in use is minimal, a little bit here and there adds up. He said using a smart power strip can help solve that problem.
Currently, Hawaiian Electric is not reading residential and some small commercial meters amid the stay-at-home order, so customers will not see their current energy usage reflect on their next bill.
“We’re going to send a bill to you not based on the actual reading, but based on what your average reading has been,” Rosegg explained. “You’ll probably get a very similar bill to what you normally get.”
But Rosegg says once things get back to normal, customers will eventually have to pay for the electricity they used during the stay-at-home order.
“If you run your A/C like crazy, you’re going to pay for that at some point down the road.”