How to save money on your power bill this summer

Saving on your power bill is something that we all want to do, but where do you start? Energy auditor from EcoDecisions, it’s Graeme Ambrose’s job to analyse data and recommend ways to lessen his clients’ usage. Here are his top tips to save you money.

1. Retire the garage ‘beer fridge’

Fridge energy efficiency improves every year, and it’s estimated fridges have become 70% more economical  to run in the last 30 years due to the minimum energy ratings scheme alone. As an example, Graeme says that in his experience with clients an old fridge being used for beer or other refreshments might cost up to $1,000 per year to run, whereas a new fridge might only cost somewhere around $100 (although your individual mileage will likely vary).

2. Cut heating and cooling costs 

If you live in a two-storey house and the top level is almost unbearable in summer, install a cheap ceiling vent from a hardware store that you can open during the hottest months and keep closed during winter. 

3. Change your chores timetable 

Solar power users should cook meals and run the dishwasher and other big appliances during the day. Regular electricity users should check with their provider for their off-peak rate times and perform jobs during those hours.

4. Keeping windows cool in summer

Pelmet boxes over heavy curtains or blinds can help, too. In summer when the curtains are closed, the heat will stay between the window and the curtains. You can also use a rolled-up towel at the top of your curtains to the same effect. In winter, pelmets will trap heat inside the room rather than letting it escape out the window. Graeme also suggests planting deciduous trees outside north, east or west facing windows to keep them shaded in summer, while allowing the sun to shine through in winter.

5. Create a power bill spreadsheet

Input details with the billing date, number of kilowatt hours used and prices. Compare this with the electricity provider’s tariff sheet to see if you’re paying the correct amount. 

6. Switch off washing machines from stand-by

Graeme makes the point that some brands of washing machines and clothes dryers use stand-by power even though there are no lights to indicate they are in stand-by mode. Instead, switch off at the wall when not in use.

7. Monitor your power usage and replace inefficient appliances

Examine how much electricity you use with a power monitor meter and consider replacing inefficient appliances. Monitors range in price; a basic option retails for about $20, while a more advanced model starts from $100.

8. Check state electricity discounts for seniors 

State governments offer discounts to Pensioner Concession Card or Seniors Card holders; check on your state government’s website for eligibility. 

9. Be wary of extra charges or ‘deals’ 

Large pay-on-time discounts on energy bills may seem attractive, however, if you don’t pay on time it can mean a hefty interest charge. However, minister for Energy Angus Taylor says the government is cracking down on some energy retailers that are charging these “unfair penalties” for paying late. It is always recommended to read the fine print in the contract to ensure you understand the risks of paying late and avoid these extra charges whenever you can.

10. Shop around

Make sure you shop around to get the best deal. Don’t be afraid about speaking to a host of providers to see which one will work best for your household.

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