High energy prices are often in the news, which is no surprise given Australians pay the highest energy prices in the world. That, combined with increased energy consumption, means a bulk of your household expenses go towards energy bills.
Much of the cost of energy is to do with maintenance of network connections, like poles and wires. The cost of energy rises because energy infrastructure needs constant maintenance and upgrading.
While you cannot do much about these costs, there are ways to reduce your energy bill.
Here, we look at some options, so you can keep more in the hip pocket, or put more towards your home deposit savings.
Review your household’s energy usage
Before you start shopping around, and looking at ways to cut your bills, look at your household’s current energy usage.
- Are we mostly using energy in the day or in the evening?
- Are our energy costs higher in warmer months or cooler months?
- How many appliances do we use at any one time?
- Where in the household is most energy being consumed?
Look at your bill to work out how your energy use compares in different seasons. Your energy bill should also state your average daily use in kWh (kilowatts per hour), which you can compare with other households at Energy Made Easy.
Brainstorm ways to change lifestyle habits, to reduce energy costs. Some ideas include:
- wearing a jumper before turning up the heater
- switching to cooler bed linen in summer months
- sectioning off parts of the house where the family spends time, like bedrooms or the living room, to keep warmth or cool air in
- taking shorter showers
- using the clothesline instead of the clothes drier, where possible.
Peak vs off-peak
If you are only home in the evenings, chances are most of your energy use will be peak usage. Peak energy costs are higher than off-peak.
To reduce your peak usage, you can consider switching your hot water system to a larger electrical storage system, which will heat your water at an off-peak tariff, but you can still use hot water any time you like. Since heating water is 25 per cent of your household’s energy use, this can be a significant saving.
Try to use appliances like clothes driers and washing machines during off-peak as much as possible to reduce your peak costs.
By getting rid of your second fridge, you can save around $170 each year. Appliances like fridges consume a lot of energy.
If you are buying new appliances, or replacing old appliances, check the energy rating. The more stars, the more energy efficient the appliance. You can also reduce costs by switching off and ideally unplugging appliances when they are not in use. Switching off your game console could save you $193 each year, for example.
Shop around and check discounts
Make sure you are paying the best price for your electricity. You can shop around and compare prices.
It’s also worth checking if you are getting the discounts you are entitled to. Talk to your energy provider about pay-on-time discounts, or if there are savings to be made by paying your bill more frequently.