Pinkin: Tips on how to control utility usage while staying at home

By Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin

Under the stay at home order, households are likely to see increases in their monthly utility bill. Naturally, being home throughout the day means lights left on, devices plugged in longer, TVs on, more stove-top and microwave cooking and so more dishwashing and higher water usage.

To help households get smarter about their usage, I’d like to share some practical tips for resident:

Remember to turn off lights and maximize natural light by opening blinds.

Reduce heat in your washer and maximize heat in your dryer. Using warm water instead of hot cuts the energy used to do a load in half, and washing in cold water saves even more. Avoid doing small loads: Your washing machine uses roughly the same amount of energy for a full versus partial load. When it comes to dryer use, try lower heat settings or doing back-to-back loads.

Same goes for dishwashers. Reduce heat and only do full loads. Also, there’s no need to prewash dishes, just scrape off food.

Power down your electronics when you step away for a couple hours. Put them on power saving or sleep mode for shorter breaks over 30 minutes. Keeping your computer running for long periods of time uses more energy than the small surge it takes to start it up.

I urge residents to also familiarize themselves with new policies adopted by utility servicers to provide relief during this time. Many water and electric and gas utility servicers have pledged to suspend shut-offs. Others are waiving late fees and interest to protect customers from debt.

This letter to the editor was published by the East Brunswick Sentinel on April 10, 2020: