HONOLULU (KHON2) — The COVID-19 pandemic changed much about our social and business interactions.

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The biggest change that occurred during this time was the Work From Home (WFH) scheme that was implemented to keep people working during quarantine.

But this plan somewhat backfired on many businesses as employees realized that their productivity was higher and that their lives have a much better quality when they work from home rather than trekking it into the office each day.

Many news outlets and researchers lauded this as the most innovative thing to happen to industry since the assembly line and declared it the future of how we operate businesses.

Research conducted after the quarantine period supported the reality that WFH schemes induced greater productivity and increased satisfaction with work.

Standford University researchers conducted a study and found that:

  • Forty-two percent of U.S. workers are now working from home full time, accounting for more than two-thirds of economic activity.
  • Policymakers should ensure that broadband service is expanded so more workers can do their jobs away from a traditional office.
  • As companies consider relocating from densely populated urban centers in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, cities may suffer while suburbs and rural areas benefit.
  • Working from home is here to stay, but post-pandemic will be optimal at about two days a week.

As this trend grows, there are many energy companies across the United States that are rolling out a new scheme that is known as Time of Use (TOU) energy consumption programs.

This led KHON2.com to wonder what impact the TOU schemes have on the WFH movement.

One such company that is rolling out TOU is Hawaiʻi’s very own Hawaiian Electric Company.

In HECO’s scheme, the rates that are charged are organized around the time-of-day people tend to consume the most energy. The pilot program which is being called ‘Shift and Save’ is rolling out in October 2023 and will alter how residents consume power.

The program works like this:

  1. Between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., HECO will charge the lowest amount for energy consumption as indicated by a single $.
  2. Between the hours of 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., HECO will charge the highest amount for energy consumption as indicated by three $.
  3. Between the hours of 9 p.m. and 9 a.m., HECO will charge a lower amount than the prime-time usage hours but more than the daytime block as indicated by two $.

The WFH movement is a prime example of how people will benefit from TOU schemes. During the daytime hours when energy consumption is at its lowest price, those who work from home can take care of all the chores and things that need to be done, like meal preparation, for a cheaper price.

HECO responded to our requests for information on TOU as it relates to the WFH movement. This is what they said.

“The purpose of Shift and Save is to encourage customers to shift their energy use from the evening and overnight period to the daytime period between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. when solar energy is abundant and less expensive. Customers who shift their energy use to the daytime period can potentially save money and take action on climate change.”

— Hawaiian Electric Company

For those who are not able to work from home, their energy prices — from getting ready each morning before work to taking care of household responsibilities after work — will take place during the most expensive parts of the TOU scheme.

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Whether inadvertently or not, the TOU schemes that are being rolled out nationwide are making a case for workers to WFH.