In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders in our region, many residents are spending more time than ever at home. Between working from home and children who are home from school, customers are using more energy during the day. The following tips can help you manage your energy costs during the coronavirus pandemic.

Adjust your thermostat. Set your thermostat a few degrees lower when heating and higher when cooling to reduce energy use.

Use appliances wisely. Wash full loads of laundry in cold water and run appliances that produce heat, like clothes dryers and dishwashers, at night.

Replace light bulbs. Switching to LED light bulbs can reduce your lighting costs by 70 percent or more.

Turn off lights. Do a quick walkthrough of your home and ensure all lights are turned off.

Unplug chargers and electronics. Even when an appliance or electric device is not in use, it is using energy when plugged in.

Switch up your dinner plans. To cut down on energy use, grill outside, use a crockpot instead of using your oven, or choose a cold meal option.

Try low power mode. Switch your devices to low power mode to not only save energy, but also to help equipment run cooler and last longer.

Get smart with power strips. Using smart power strips and surge protectors helps save energy and helps shut down multiple items quickly.

Wash clothes in warm or cold water. Be sure to rinse laundry in cold water and clean the lint screen after each load and check the exhaust regularly. A lint screen in need of cleaning and a clogged exhaust can lengthen drying time and increase the amount of energy used.

Turn off the stove. Get in the habit of turning off the elements or surface units on your electric stove several minutes before completing the allotted cooking time. The heating element will stay hot long enough to finish the cooking without wasting electricity.

Set your refrigerator’s temperature to 38°F. In most households, the refrigerator is the one thing that is always on — 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Did you know that in the average home, the refrigerator consumes the most energy of all kitchen appliances? Make sure your refrigerator is not too cold to minimize the annual costs of running the appliance.

Run full dishwasher loads. Your dishwasher uses a great deal of energy, especially for heating water. There are several steps you can take starting today — with no investment — to reduce your bills associated with dishwashing.

Learn more. Visit to explore additional ways to save money and energy and sign up for helpful billing options, such as budget billing, which averages payments over a 12-month period to help customers manage their monthly energy bill.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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