Aug 7, 2020 - Energy & Environment

With rise of remote work, pandemic shifts power bills from offices to homes

Illustration of a CFL lightbulb on its side, with a 100 dollar bill overlay
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

While overall energy use declined when coronavirus-induced lockdowns took effect, residential power costs rose for many people, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: It shows how staying at home means moving energy costs from offices to homes, "a shift that, with the accompanying expense, could make things worse for those already suffering financially as a consequence of the pandemic."

How it works: A Columbia University project, which has been monitoring hundreds of New York City apartments since 2018, found an average 23% rise in electricity use during business hours after stay-at-home orders took effect in March, per WSJ.

  • "The apartments, they said, roughly match the diversity of the city’s residential building stock, and the researchers anticipated that other areas of the country observing stay-at-home orders would have experienced similar changes in energy use."

Go deeper: Low-income households are struggling to pay energy bills during pandemic

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