NBU's Environmental Affairs Manager, Andrew Cummings, likened it to a summertime scenario when kids are home, although he said the situation is exacerbated because it is not just kids staying home.
Executive Director of Media Relations Melissa Krause said that disconnects had been suspended and assistance is available for customers with hardships.
Payment plans are being offered but customers must contact customer service to make arrangements. Usage fees will continue to accrue.
The New Braunfels Food Bank offers additional assistance through a contract it has with NBU.
Despite the higher utility demand, Krause said NBU will continue to be able to meet the community's needs.
Cummings said that activities such as cooking breakfast and lunch at home—instead of going out to eat—can lead to increased water usage, and additional cleaning and sanitizing also makes for additional water usage.
Air conditioning usage is expected to be higher as residents stay home during the hottest times of the day.
Working from home can also lead to lights, fans and other electronic appliances being used to an increased extent.
NBU offered a number of suggestions that can help manage utility consumption.
- Plan meals and defrost frozen food in the refrigerator overnight instead of running water over it.
- Sweep the floor regularly instead of mopping it. Spot clean the counters, stoves and floors to reduce water usage.
- The increased use of dish and clothes washers at home can impact your bill. Remember to always fill these machines to capacity before operating them.
- As we enter spring, be aware that turning lawn sprinklers back on can increase your water bill by double or even triple. Make sure that your system is in good repair and in compliance before activating it.
- Remember that your toilets will be flushed more. Make sure your toilet is leak-free.
- Remember to keep your thermostat set at 78 degrees when cooling and 68 degrees when heating your home for optimal comfort and energy usage.
- Try opening windows to let natural light in to save on energy usage.
- A microwave uses one-third of the energy that a stovetop or oven does.
- Constantly opening your refrigerator door will cause it to work overtime to keep your groceries fresh and increase your overall energy usage.
- An open door while the air conditioner is running can waste energy.