London energy use on the rise during lockdown
London energy usage has rocketed during the enforced Covid-19 lockdown, with a roughly 40% increase in weekday consumption in the capital against a 27% jump nationally, according to a study by Bulb Energy.
The clean energy supplier took smart meter data from 2,277 households across the country to see the effect the lockdown had on its customers’ energy consumption before and after the enforced government restrictions.
Although national electricity usage has seen a drop due to offices, restaurants, factories and schools being closed, residential and domestic consumption has jumped significantly. London energy demand, in particular, has seen a big increase.
Lockdown lie-ins impact London energy
Bulb’s research suggests that customers in the capital previously used to lengthy commutes are taking advantage of working from home to get some extra shut-eye, with a 21% fall in London energy demand at 7.30am.
Londoners are now starting their days later and using a lot more power at home between the usual working hours of 9am and 5pm.
The provider also saw a slight rise in domestic London energy consumption from 6pm until 8pm, suggesting that those living in the capital were less likely to be at home previously, due to their working hours and commute.
The biggest increase, however, is saved for lunchtime. Rather than just running out to the nearest cafe or bringing a packed lunch to work, Londoners are seemingly making the most of being indoors by having a home-cooked meal, using 39% more energy at home around 1pm.
Keeping energy costs down
Inevitably, with increased electricity usage at home comes higher bills. While warmer weather and longer evenings should lead to London energy consumption falling over the coming months, one quick and easy way to keep costs down is by switching away from poor value energy deals.
With wholesale energy prices falling dramatically during the coronavirus crisis, many suppliers are able to offer cheaper tariffs than previously.
Aoife Twomey, an energy expert with Selectra, said: “With most Londoners confined to their homes during this lockdown period, many are seeing a significant increase in their electricity costs. Fortunately, there are certain steps customers can take to reduce the amount they spend on energy bills.”
“For example, a huge number of households are currently on a standard variable tariff, but they could be saving hundreds per year by switching to a fixed tariff. By choosing a fixed plan, not only will you find the unit rates much lower than a standard variable option, but you’re also protected from any possible rate hikes for the length of the tariff.”
In addition to switching energy providers, there are a number of other measures Londoners can take to save money while stuck at home:
- Cut down when making cuppas: The household kettle is one of the biggest energy vampires, accounting for around 6% of all electricity supplied to London homes. By only filling the kettle with enough water to make a couple of brews, you could save around £15 a year.
- Switch off, don’t standby: Although it’s tempting to just hit the standby button when you’ve finished watching TV, you could easily save between £30 and £40 by unplugging devices and set-top boxes at the mains.
- Turn down that thermostat: Reducing the temperature by just 1C could see your bills fall by up to 10%!
- Lower your laundry temperature: The vast majority of energy used by a washing machine comes from heating the water. Cut your electricity consumption by 40% just by swapping your 40C spin for a 30C wash. Of course, if you fear you may have been exposed to coronavirus, follow NHS recommendations by using the warmest setting possible and drying items completely.
- Ditch the dryer: As the weather warms up, it’s the perfect time to get the washing line out to dry your clothes, if you’re lucky enough to have sufficient outside space.
What other help is available?Many providers have taken extra steps to help those most in need. To find out more, see our guide to lockdown energy measures.