Back to Blog

How has the pandemic affected your energy usage?

COVID 19 has changed many aspects of our lives. It has established a new term, “Social Distancing” into our lives. This term has had a powerful effect on how we manage to complete our day to day tasks, how we run errands and for most of us, the amount of time we spend indoors at home. Minus the occasional dog walking, trips to the grocery store and pharmacy or going out to check the mail, we have all essentially and collectively been house-bound for the last few weeks. With the increased amount of time at home, it means that we are using more energy. From using our heaters more to having our lights on more frequently throughout the day. Not to mention many of us bringing our offices home with us for telecommuting. 8+ hours per day of additional use can really start to change our energy use habits.

Understanding Energy Habits.

The first step to conservation is to understand how any given resource is being used. In this instance, how you are using energy. OPALCO’s SmartHub is the first tool in the tool kit to understanding how you are utilizing energy. Head over to and login with the E-mail and password that is associated with your OPALCO member account. If you have never used SmartHub before, click on “new user” to sign up. This free service will show you how much energy you have used year over year, monthly, weekly, daily and even hourly. Now that you can see your daily energy use, you can start to make simple assumptions based on behaviors. For example, I always found it interesting that I would have significantly less energy use on days I would go out to eat. Simply because I didn’t use my oven or stove top to cook a meal, I saw a pretty big difference in my energy consumption for that day. However, given that at least for the immediate future, going out to eat has changed into getting food delivered from your favorite local restaurant or simply preparing more home cooked meals which will undoubtably result in an increase in energy use.

Energy Usage Graph

Snippet of a Month over Month SmartHub Graph

Switch it up

After looking at and adjusting your existing systems in your home for heating or hot water and you aren’t noticing as much of an energy reduction as you’d like. Maybe turning down the temperature on your hot water heater isn’t giving you enough hot water for you and your entire family. Maybe that difference between keeping the house at 64 degrees and 68 degrees is just too chilly for you. It might be time to look into replacing older and less efficient systems. Maybe it’s time to Switch it up!

Currently OPALCO is offering on-bill financing for upgrading to a Ductless Heat Pump for home space heating or a Heat Pump water heater for domestic hot water! For more information on how OPALCO can help you save energy and money, please visit to find out if switching it up is right for you!

Remember to wash your hands frequently, maintain a distance of at least 6 ft from one another and try not to touch your face. We are all in this together! Together we will get through this unprecedented emergency. Please head over to our COVID relief form at If you have any questions about home energy conservation, please feel free to contact Ryan Palmateer at the San Juan Islands Conservation District by e-mail or by Phone 360-378-6621 ext.102


You may also like...


Member Story: A New Energy Efficiency Leader in the Heart of Eastsound

There’s a new building on the block. Right in the middle of Main Street in Eastsound on Orcas Island, the new building that houses the Windemere Real Estate office and … Read more
surge protector

Quick Fact: Surge Protection

In the electric industry, power surges are unavoidable. However, just like with home security systems, there are things we can do to protect us from surges, though never fully. The … Read more
Federal IRA program

How to get Federal Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) $$$ Working for You

Island Way Workshop: September 6 @ 5 pm via Zoom The new federal Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provides billions in funding to help Americans prepare for a more affordable energy … Read more