Working from home, quarantine may mean higher than usual cooling costs this summer

Local

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — As temperatures go up, most might expect their bills to actually go down. That may not be the case this year.

“Generally speaking, summer bills are lower than winter bills, but that said, people are going to be home a little bit more this summer so you know it’s hard to say,” explains National Grid Upstate New York Communications Representative Patrick Stella.

“Peoples homes are so different. It depends on the size of the home, the type of system you have, if it’s energy efficient, what temperature you like it out in your home. All of those factors contribute to what your bill looks like at the end of the month,” he goes on to explain.

He says with most schools, businesses, and big manufacturers closed since March, there’s been about a 10 to 15 percent decrease in electricity and gas usage. However, for folks working from home, their bills might tell a different story.

Generally, the tip is to turn your system off when you’re not home and during peak temperature hours to save a few bucks. Now, Stella says it’s time to get creative while quarantine lasts.

“We’ve had a couple of really, really warm days. It looks like we have a few cooler days coming up, so take advantage of that and certainly open a window instead of using the air conditioning to cool your home off,” Stella says. “If you can stand for it to be just a bit warmer in your home, raise the temperature a little so as not to overtax the system.”

“There’s also an advantage to window units, because generally you don’t have to have them all on at once. So turn them off if you’re no longer in that room,” he adds.

He also says National Grid offers programs to help you become more eco and wallet friendly.

“Maybe it’s time to look at your overall heating and cooling system and make sure it’s an energy-efficient system. National Grid has rebates and things for some energy efficient systems that can help pay for some of those things,” Stella says.

Businesses are able to apply for economic development grants that will allow them to update their larger systems to more eco-friendly versions. Residential customers can minimize the impact of their bills as well.

“We have several different types of arrangements they can be set up, such as budget billing. We also have consumer advocates that can work directly with customers who are suffering specific hardships,” Stella explains. “We do work with local agencies, local companies, the counties and things like that to try to find anything that’s available in their area that they may be able to apply for that can help them.”

He says National Grid suspended all payment collections and service interruptions in March, and it will stay that way as long as the coronavirus crisis lasts.

“We recognize that people may be working reduced hours or maybe not working at this time due to the pandemic, so we wanna make sure that they still have service,” he says.


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