As a bankruptcy lawyer Memphis TN trusts, I know that now more than ever, every dollar saved counts. But we should be prepared for an uptick in utility costs, especially in bigger cities, according to a new study from the renewable energy company Arcadia.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected virtually all aspects of life in America. Utility consumption and bills are no exception. As unemployment and work-from-home arrangements continue several months into this public health crisis, 1 in 3 Americans should expect to see utility bills increase by at least 10% this summer, CNBC’s Megan Leonhardt writes.

The Arcadia report states:

“With more and more companies shifting to permanent or long-term work from home policies, this increased financial and energy consumption burden on individuals is not likely to shift any time soon.”

The link between the pandemic and the increase in electricity usage is easy to follow. A greater percentage of the U.S. workforce is working remotely than ever before. Many made the switch as a direct result of COVID-19. Even essential workers and unemployed Americans are spending more time at home, which means greater electricity, water, and gas consumption during daytime hours.

Of course, these projections don’t reflect the fact that utility bills are already much greater during the summer months. Combined, these factors could create a financial situation that’s unsustainable for many Americans.

Simple Steps to Reduce Energy Bills

In her CNBC article, Megan Leonhardt suggests the following money-saving tips.

1. Unplug any appliances and devices that aren’t in use.

What’s the harm in keeping items plugged in 24/7? About $100 to $200 a year. Many appliances continue to take up energy even when they’re not on. Unplugging appliances and devices is a surefire way to save.

2. Avoid the oven while cooking.

I probably don’t have to convince you to find oven-free recipes given the temperatures we’ve seen these past few weeks. The heat isn’t just unbearable in itself, it can cause your air conditioning to go into overdrive. An outdoor grill or a simple recipe that doesn’t require a heat source can help you cut down on cooling costs.

3. Adjust your thermostat.

“You can save as much as 10% on your energy bills by adjusting your thermostat back seven to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours a day, according to the U.S. Department of Energy,” Leonhardt writes. Consider using a fan instead as much as possible—just don’t forget to unplug it before heading out.

4. Close your curtains and draw the blinds.

Much like a scorching hot oven, bright sunlight can cause your AC to turn itself up a notch (or two or three). According to the Department of Energy, 76% of the sunlight that falls on a window turns into heat. A darker room doesn’t seem quite as bad when you consider how much it can save you down the road.

Speak with a bankruptcy lawyer Memphis TN trusts

These tips can help you in the short-term, but if high utility bills are symptomatic of a deeper debt, they won’t cut it in the long run. Only bankruptcy offers lasting relief.

This isn’t a time when anyone should suffer more than necessary. Many of my clients tell me they wish they’d filed for bankruptcy years ago. So if you’re considering taking steps to clear your debt, there’s no time like now. Give us a call at (901) 327-2100, or contact us here for a free consultation.