Today the news reported that 30 million people have filed for unemployment amid the coronavirus pandemic. For your residents who may have worked outside the home, this month may bring utility bills much higher than their normal bills. If you have a utility billing program, your vendor will field these calls for you and help residents understand the increase. If you don’t have a billing program, you’ll be answering these questions yourself.
This article in the New York Times yesterday outlines this issue well. The piece states that in New York “people are using up to 25 percent more energy during the daytime as they work or go to school remotely, or cook or binge-watch more.” The article further states that “over entire 24-hour periods, average consumption on weekdays was 7 percent higher than pre-lockdown days. On weekend days, energy use averaged 4 percent higher.”
These increased utility expenses are true across the country. If it’s still cool in your area, the heating bill will be higher. If it’s warming up, the A/C is likely running.
The water bill is likely higher too, with more hand-washing, laundry, cooking, and bathing.
Your residents likely have other things on their minds and are not necessarily expecting higher bills. We’ve put together a few resources you can share with your residents to help them conserve during this time.
It’s always a good time to put in a utility billing program if you don’t already have one, and it’s a great time to switch vendors if yours isn’t living up to your expectations. A utility billing program increases your income and cap rate, provides a buffer against loss of rental income, but it also encourages conservation, which brings everyone’s bill down.