Georgia Power planned to improve energy efficiency in 2020, but COVID-19 protection measures led the utility to fall far short of its goal.

Smart thermostat

Energy efficiency improvements like smart thermostats can lower utility bills. COVID-19 stymied Georgia Power's efforts on this front.

Credit: Dan Lefebvre via Unsplash

A new report finds the coronavirus pandemic disrupted Georgia Power’s plans to improve energy efficiency in 2020.

The utility had planned to increase efficiency by 15 percent last year, with steps like home improvements and refrigerator recycling. But then COVID-19 hit.

In March 2020, Georgia Power stopped its efficiency programs and marketing.

Forest Bradley-Wright of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy said Georgia Power had some of the strictest COVID protection measures of any utility in the region.

“They really would not do any in-home, any in-person contact, even when other utilities were doing so with new safety protocols,” he said.

By September, Georgia Power was only 27 percent of the way toward its efficiency goal. As the pandemic continues, the SACE report predicts a shortfall in 2021 as well.

Making homes more energy-efficient lowers power bills and can also help lower carbon emissions.