How Has Coronavirus Impacted Your Electrical Bills?

It’s that time of the month again, it’s time to pay your electric bill. Only this month is a little

It’s that time of the month again, it’s time to pay your electric bill. Only this month is a little different because you’re struggling to keep things going through your third month in 2020’s coronavirus pandemic and the impact it’s had on your business.

While this article focuses on COVID’s impact on your electric bills, we wanted to paint a quick snapshot of how it has affected businesses across the U.S.

How Coronavirus Has Impacted U.S. Economy & Small Businesses

One look at our stock market over the last three months will tell you everything you need to know about how the coronavirus has impacted our overall economy. 

But outside of the obvious, there are other factors to be considered. For example, during the coronavirus’ initial outbreak in China major global supply chains were disrupted, leaving many U.S. businesses and industries without materials, while by March 21st, a record 3.2 million Americans had already filed for unemployment benefits. 

Around the same time in March, some states had already ordered state-wide lockdowns, such as Illinois and small businesses across the U.S. started feeling the financial burden that accompanied the stay at home orders. In April and May, at its peak, all but 8 states had ordered lockdowns (Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming).

More than 99% of all businesses in America are small businesses and it’s estimated that small businesses employ about half of the U.S. workforce. Yet, small businesses were hit hardest, lacking the reserves to support them being closed for a month and in some states longer. The U.S. also sees roughly 100 million startups every single year, yet the lockdowns have started to create a “startup depressions”, as new companies are holding off before entering the job market.

But small businesses are not the only ones experiencing a hard time as hospitality and travel rank as two of the biggest industries impacted by the Coronavirus. Major restaurants and bar chains were also hit heavily by the need to reduce hours, reduce capacity, and in many cases close.

As a result, hundreds of thousands of businesses had no choice but to permanently close, while U.S. unemployment reached over 30 million people.

So, what about the electric bills? While the coronavirus has not eliminated the need for electricity, it has still managed to create a significant footprint on your electric bills.

Coronavirus’ Impact on Energy Bills

As businesses start to reopen from shut-downs due to COVID-19, pending electric and utility bills will
not only hit small businesses with new debt but could also drive up electricity rates for everyone.

Picking up on a topic recently reported on by the Los Angeles Times, here are two ways the coronavirus will have an impact on your electric bills:

1)     When states originally issued stay-at-home orders, causing millions of small businesses to shut
down, many states temporarily barred utility companies from shutting off gas, water, and electricity. While in many other states, the utility companies voluntarily agreed to keep utilities running despite non-payment. But this did not mean free utilities for all. Financial experts say that as states start to reopen, many
businesses will not have enough money to resume paying their expenses, much less repay their deferred electric and utility bills, as millions of U.S. business have fallen behind on bills for the past few months.  

2)    In addition to utilities being asked to continue service despite non-payment, the utility companies also
experienced their own impact during the shutdowns as millions of business suddenly not using as much  electricity as they used to. Only to make up for this, some utilities have file motions to try and collect this lost revenue by adding tariffs to all electric bills in their utility zones, causing rate spikes in some areas. 

3)     At a residential level, while prior to the pandemic a third of U.S. households were already saying they were making sacrifices to pay their monthly electrical bills, foregoing important necessities such as reduced food and medicine, many Americans now without jobs have no way to pay their monthly utilities, much less the last few months of utilities. 

4 Simple TIPs to Help You Keep Low Electrical Bills During Coronavirus

1) Search for lower energy rates. Due to reduced demand and several other factors, the energy market took quite a hit during the shut-downs and while investors are already buying futures with the prediction that prices will increase, now is the perfect time to lock in low pricing long-term to ensure your paying the lowest energy rates for your business. For businesses in qualifying states, finding lower energy rates can reduce your energy bills by 15% and sometimes up to 25%.

2) Program your office’s thermostat to maximize energy savings by setting it 2-3 degrees lower when heating or 203 degrees higher when cooling can help reduce your energy bill by up to 10%.

3) Replace any conventional light bulbs with LEDs. Lighting can make up about 20% of your monthly energy bill. LED bulbs can cut lighting costs by up to 75%.

4) Unplug appliance and electronics if they are not actively being used. Most electronic devices such as computers, TVs, fax/copy machines, and even microwaves in the lunchroom use energy even if they are not being used. By plugging them into an extension cord and then unplugging the extension course when the appliances or devices are not in use you can reduce your energy bill.

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