Household energy bills set to double after stay-at-home coronavirus restrictions

Thousands of Australian homes are in for a rude shock when they get their next energy bill with research showing families facing up to a 105 per cent increase after most people stayed home in the COVID-19 restrictive lockdown.

With more people than ever working and learning from home, our energy use has gone through roof, a report by Natural Solar, Australia’s largest solar and battery installer, has revealed.

The data collected in Natural Solar’s live monitoring systems of thousands of homes, showed in March 2019 the average household was using 513kWh of power per month which is 16kWh per day.

During March 2020 – when coronavirus restrictions were in place and more people were working from home and home schooling, energy consumption rocketed to 1,052kWh.

April 2020 saw another spike of 1,094kWh which works out to 36kWh per day – more than double our daily power from a year ago..

“The national need to work from home, teach from home, and stay at home has created an unprecedented volume of at-home energy usage,” says Chris Williams, CEO & Founder of Natural Solar.

“This huge rise in electricity use from thousands of our Natural Solar customers nationally means we anticipate power bills will spike from a quarterly average of $406.75 to over $800 per household for this COVID affected period.

Natural Solar CEO Chris Williams with a Sonnen battery at the Mulpha development

“Some Australian homes that have had historically high power usage can expect their power bills to hit their hip pockets hard, coming in up to $1,800 per quarter.”

“Even though Australia is slowly opening back up and restrictions are lifting, we know this won’t be the case for every household, and normality won’t truly resume for a long period of time, with staggered back to school and work approaches anticipated over several months.

“Australian households can expect the fallout from COVID-19 to continue to hit their electricity bills, especially as we move into the colder winter months.”

The big winners during these unprecedented times are homes with solar panels and battery storage.

“Even though almost every Australian household is using more electricity on a daily basis, we know households with solar and battery power are still likely to save money on their bills during this time,” Mr Williams said.

“Households will simply use power produced by their solar panels, with excess power to be stored within their home battery for usage of an evening.

“Despite electricity consumption doubling, we expect households with solar and battery to be highly insulated from increased consumption pricing.”

The Mulpha Estate includes solar and battery power

Many new housing developments are factoring in solar and battery power while still in the construction stage to protect themselves from future and unexpected electricity energy price rises.

Large-scale developer Mulpha and its “Smart City” Essentia development in Sydney’s north west will include 74 homes with optional solar and battery.

There has been a 100 per cent uptake of the offer from all buyers who want a guaranteed reduction in power bills.

“The current climate indicates there will be a further consumer demand for ready-made smart homes with a renewable energy ecosystem,” says Tim Spencer, Executive General Manager of Mulpha Developments.

“In a time with no guarantees, whether they are investors or owner-occupiers, buyers are clamouring to solidify their investment and reduce the running costs of their home. Any opportunity to bring down the cost of their power bills, particularly as usage is rising and the future is uncertain, is one worth taking.

Chris Williams said: “At Natural Solar we can see COVID-19 has created a consumer change in how people are seeing home battery storage solutions; they’ve gone from a luxury to a necessity.

“Homeowners who are in the fortunate position to invest in their homes are taking the time to consider their options and add solar and battery systems to reduce their power bills, achieve further independence from the grid and future-proof their homes.

“The knowledge of increased electricity bills for the foreseeable future means savvy Aussies are acting now to maximise their return on investment and start saving immediately,” concluded Mr Williams.

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