Social distancing is what it's all about. You are probably spending a lot more time at home. Maybe working from home, or just staying in. So you're probably burning through a lot more electricity. Add some kids to the mix, with their multiple TV's and tablets and laptops and phone chargers and suddenly you're sucking juice faster than a hummingbird. Just guzzling that electricity, with your electric meter spinning so fast that the bearings are about to overheat.

Credit: Michael Foth TSM

I walk through my house and usually find at least two TV's that nobody is watching. The screen on the TV just sitting there, playing the endless background loop until someone hits the remote. By the way, I'd like to meet the person that designed the graphics on that screen. Some trippy stuff going on there.

Credit: Michael Foth TSM

So... the kids are home from school wasting energy as fast as they can. And you and your spouse are working from home, burning up electricity that normally would be on your companies bill. What can you do? Northwestern Energy released some fairly generic energy saving tips on their website.  Highlights include:

  • Turn off lights when you leave a room, or open window shades rather than turning on lights.
  • Turn down your thermostat a couple degrees, and wear a sweater at home.
  • Limit screen time and turn off electronics when not in use.
  • Activate sleep mode when you’re away from your computer.
  • Check your hot water heater’s temperature to make sure it’s safe and efficient — 120 degrees is plenty.
  • Check your refrigerator and freezer temperatures to make sure the refrigerator is set between 37 and 40 degrees F, and your freezer temperature is between 0 and 5 degrees F.

Northwest Energy is also providing some relief to customers who may be facing a shut-off during COVID-19. From their website:

NorthWestern Energy voluntarily suspended service disconnections for non-payment, effective immediately, to help customers who may be financially impacted as the result of this outbreak. This suspension will apply primarily to residential customers and will remain in effect until further notice. You are encouraged to contact us if you are having trouble paying your bill.

Another way to cut down on your utility bill? Get a clothesline. Hanging laundry is a perfect chore for the kids and drying clothes in the sun is 100% free. An umbrella style clothesline can be found for under $50 and installation is pretty basic.