Personal Finance

How to Save On Electricity Costs When Working From Home

Household energy consumption has increased during the Covid-19 pandemic. We've found some smart ways to cut costs while you work from home.

As 8 in 10 Singaporeans want to or already have been working from home since the Covid-19 pandemic, one might expect to see an increase in their electricity bills. In 2020 alone, electricity consumption in households increased by 6.46% from 2019. To help you counter the effects of a larger electricity bill, we list some simple but effective measures you can take.

Install Smart Tech Where Possible

One thing you can do to reduce your energy costs is to install smart technology where possible. For instance, heating and cooling systems account for a third of your electricity bill. A smart thermostat can be cost-effective since it automatically turns off the heating/cooling system when you are out, and puts it on before you return. Moreover, you can track your usage and adjust your heating/cooling accordingly. While switching systems might seem like a high upfront cost, the amount you pay can be recovered in a year or less.

Thermostat Prices

See What Rebates Are Available to You

Another way to save on your electricity bill is to check your company benefits to see if you are eligible for any subsidized or paid-for equipment. Those eligible should see if their company offers laptops since they are more cost-efficient than computers. For instance, desktops use an average of 60-200 watts of energy, whereas laptops use 20-50 watts of energy. Additionally, your work might pay for some of your utility bill costs, including electricity, and other minor upgrades.

If rebates or refunds from work isn’t possible, then you may be eligible for Deductions on Employment Expenses on materials you bought to allow you to work from home. For instance, the government is offering rebates on your electricity bill (if it has increased since working from home), WiFi, and other utility rebates. Whether you get money back for your growing utilities costs, checking your rebates and eligibility for certain these programs could help you save money during this time.

Be Mindful of Energy Vampires

Another thing to be aware of is an "energy vampire," which is a device that uses energy when it is on standby. Technologies like washing machines, entertainment consoles, and desktop computers that are plugged in but not used have cost Singaporeans S$150 million in 2020 and account for up to 10% of each household's energy consumption bill. This adds up, as Singapore's Energy Market Authority charges an electricity tariff of $0.2097 per kilowatt-hour.

Smart Plug Prices

To alleviate this, you could set a schedule for unplugging devices or invest in smart plugs. Setting up a schedule is an easy way to quickly cut some expenses, but don't forget to unplug many devices (such as your phone charger or microwave) when they are not in use. Moreover, air drying and hand washing dishes where possible are smart ways to begin cutting down costs as soon as today. If you want to invest in a longer-term solution, you could buy a smart plug for your larger appliances. These cut electricity to high-consumption devices through your smartphone. If you are making expensive purchases, consider using a cash back reward credit card to help you save money.

Know What Your Electricity Provider Charges and Switch if You Find a Better, More Affordable Provider

Finally, if electricity costs are seriously bumping up your expenditures during this turbulent time, you should keep an eye out for more affordable electricity retailers in Singapore. Switching providers who charge a few dollars less per month could end up saving you hundreds on your electricity bills per year. By investing in smart technology, using rebates and tax exemptions, and being mindful of your energy consumption, you can put into habit good practices to help save costs on your electricity bills.

Anya Wasserman

Anya is a Research Analyst for ValueChampion who focuses on loans and investments in Singapore. Previously, she assisted global consultancies, hedge funds and private equities with primary research at a high-growth fin-tech based in London. A graduate of the University of Oxford and King's College London, Anya is currently interested in applying quantitative research to help consumers make better financial decisions.