With schools and businesses closed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, everyone will be spending a lot more time at home. Whether your workplace is closed entirely or you’ve traded your morning commute for a walk to the couch, being home all day could have a big impact on your energy usage – unless you make some changes.

DTE only bills you for the energy you use, so if you’re adhering to state and federal guidelines about social distancing, you and your family will be spending lots of time indoors for at least the next few weeks. This will result in an increase in electric and natural gas use, ultimately resulting in a higher energy bill.  Since being at home is unavoidable, managing the energy you use is key to controlling your bill.

  1. Turn off unused lights and appliances. When you’re moving from room to room, it’s easy to forget to flip the light switch, turn off the television or shut off the lamp. When you or the kids don’t turn things off, they continue using energy, and that will increase your bill. Encourage everyone at home to be mindful of not leaving appliances or lights on when they’re not being used.
  2. Adjust your thermostat settings. If you have a programmable thermostat, review the weekday program to see when and how your heating and cooling equipment is operating. The program may need to be adjusted to account for being home more. Setting your thermostat to 68 degrees or as low as is comfortable during the day will ensure your usage remains under control until the weather warms.
  3. Pick the right pan when cooking. Since we’ll all be eating at home more, it’s important to think about energy usage in the kitchen. When cooking on the stovetop, try to match the size of the burner to the size of the pot being used to avoid wasting energy. Using a 6-inch pan on an 8-inch burner, for example, will waste 40% of the heat generated by the burner. Use lids on your pots and pans to save even more.
  4. Let the light in. Opening blinds or drapes on south-facing windows will let more sunlight in, which both brightens your home and helps warm the air. This reduces the need for artificial lighting and the demand for warm air from your furnace, saving you energy. Be sure to close blinds and drapes at night, however, to help keep the heat in.

Keeping control of the energy you use during the next few weeks will help soften the blow of the widespread disruption this pandemic is causing.

If your workplace has been affected as a result of COVID-19 and you’re concerned about your energy bill, help may be available. Visit dteenergy.com/assistance to learn more about if you’re eligible for any of our payment assistance programs.