With so many of us working from the home office, concerns around how to reduce the hydro bill is top of mind. As it turns out, saving energy is not as difficult as you might think.
With just a few minor tweaks to your work-from-home habits, you can reduce your energy bill every month.
Let's take a look at three easy ways to conserve how much power we are using in the home.
1. Stay in One Place
According to Save On Energy, a company who administers an energy affordability program, staying in one place while working from home can help to save on energy costs.
Try to avoid moving from one room to another, leaving lights on or a television for background noise. They also suggest lowering the thermostat by a couple of degrees, as we tend to concentrate better when it is cooler in the home.
2. Phantom Power
You may be surprised by how much power is being used in your home on devices that are plugged in but not in use.
Phantom power, also known as standby power, refers to the energy that’s wasted around your home when devices are plugged in and using power – but you are not using them.
Imagine all your devices that are connected to a power socket but are not being used. Laptops, gaming consoles, televisions, kitchen appliances.
According to Save On Energy, the average home has dozens of items plugged in at any given time. Crucially, seventy-five per cent of the electricity these devices consume is used when they are not powered on.
All that phantom power can add up to 10 per cent of a home's energy costs.
3. Evaluate Your Pricing Program
It may be worthwhile to investigate your local municipality’s power program.
Many cities and towns have implemented modified pricing structures to accommodate the many consumers faced with working from home since the beginning of the pandemic.
For example, in November 2020 the Town of Oakville introduced its Customer Choice program, which allows you to choose between time-of-use and tiered pricing.
According to Oakville Hydro, if you’re a residential or small business customer that pays Time-of-Use (TOU) electricity prices, you can choose to switch to Tiered prices.
Time of use pricing with Oakville Hydro is divided into three categories. First, off-peak usage refers to when demand for electricity is lowest. Ontario households use most of their electricity, nearly two thirds of it, during off-peak hours.
Mid-peak use refer to when demand for electricity is moderate. These periods are during the daytime, but not the busiest times of day.
On-peak usage is when demand for electricity is generally higher. These are busier times of day, usually when people are cooking, starting up their computers and running heaters or air conditioners.
According to Oakville Hydro, switching between time-of-use and tiered pricing takes effect at the start of a service period. Depending on when you apply, it may be retroactive to the start of your current service period.
Oakville Hydro suggests you notify them about switching programs either by completing an election form, or by contacting them at email@example.com or 905-825-9400.
If you are working from home, spending just a few minutes walking through the home and paying attention to what is plugged in can save you extra money each month.
Oakville Hydro (2021). Customer Choice Program.
Save On Energy (2021). What's phantom power and how can you track it?
Save On Energy (2021) Three ways to save energy while you work from home.
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