CHICAGO (CBS) — With statewide stay-at-home orders in effect in Illinois, Indiana and much of the country, many people are working from home, which will likely mean a surge in energy use and higher electric bills. But some money saving tips could help negate the financial impact.

“While many electric cooperatives have suspended disconnections for non-payment and are waiving late fees, consumers will still be responsible for those bills when the pandemic has passed,” said Jim Matheson, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association CEO. “It’s important for families to be mindful of their energy use and consider adjusting certain habits to avoid higher costs later on.”

Recommended energy saving tips include:

  • Program your thermostat to maximize energy savings. Setting your thermostat one degree lower when heating or one degree higher when cooling can reduce energy use by up to 5 percent.
  • Do full loads of laundry and wash with cold water. Using warm water instead of hot can cut a load’s energy use in half, and using cold water will save even more.
  • Air dry dishes.  This step can cut your dishwasher’s energy use by up to 50 percent.
  • Substitute LEDs for conventional light bulbs. Lighting can amount to up to 12% of monthly energy use. LED bulbs can cut lighting costs by 75%.
  • Unplug appliances and electronics when not in use. Small appliances and electronics use energy even when not in use. When powered on, game consoles, televisions and similar electronics are responsible for up to 12 percent of energy use.

A statewide stay-at-home order went into effect in Illinois Saturday. Indiana’s order went into effect Tuesday.

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