Cheap Power Bills
Post on June 13th, 2015
Get cheaper power bills in a few simple steps
For many Australian homeowners today, conserving energy has become a grassroots effort that is sweeping the nation. After opening your last power bill, you probably realised firsthand how much energy your household uses month to month. And when you are paying a high price for that energy, it becomes even more important to conserve to get cheaper power bills and save hundreds of dollars per year.
The good news is that saving money by reducing your power bills is as easy as changing your behaviour. The first step is to take a moment to compare electricity rates near you from leading electricity retailers to make sure you have the cheapest rates on your quarterly power bills.
How to compare electricity suppliers
When it comes to comparing electricity providers, it does take a bit of research—but the results are definitely worth it. You want to make sure you have all the information you need to understand what your current supplier is offering you, so you can understand exactly where you can save. So dig out your most recent bills, and have a look at what you’re currently getting charged.
- Call your current retailer and find out the type of electricity tariff that your home is on. This is so you can find out what rate you’re getting charged, and work out if the suppliers you’re looking into actually are cheaper or not.
- Have a look at your current bill and see when you use the most electricity. This can help you find a supplier who provides the best rate during these times. If you tend to use the most electricity during peak times, don’t despair—we’ve got some tips further down that can see you reduce your use.
- Use your bill (or ask your provider) to find out what both your peak and off-peak rates are. These two rates will help you make smarter choices as to when you use your electricity, so you can start saving even before you make the switch.
- Check to see whether you’re currently receiving any rate discounts or special deals. If so, you’ll want to factor this into your research. If not, you can ask your energy provider if they’re willing to offer any discounts, or a cheaper rate, to encourage you to stay on as a customer.
Now you understand more about your current electricity plan and energy supplier, it’s time to see what other companies are offering. Here are the questions to ask providers—or yourself—to work out if they’re really offering a deal that will see you save money:
- Are they likely to increase their rates each year? While most suppliers keep their rates in line with the CPI, some may tell you that they don’t have a cap on their price raises—if they tell you this, we recommend you stay away. This could be a sign they’ll increase their rates in the future, which negates any savings you might get from a cheaper rate.
- Do they charge any moving or disconnection fees? If there’s a chance you might be moving house in the future it pays to find this out now. Moving house is a hard enough time as it is, without any surprise fees.
- Do they have any discount offers? Many suppliers offer discounts for things like setting up paperless correspondence, or direct debit billing. These discounts can make all the difference to your yearly costs, but make sure you know the length the discount is available, and check the terms and conditions.
- Do they offer any percentage discounts, or credits off your bill? See if these discounts apply to your total bill, or if it’s just off your usage rate. For some households, it might work out more cost-effective than a monetary discount applied to your final bill.
- Will they match rates offered by other providers? With the amount of competition on the electricity market today, a lot of electricity companies are willing to match, or even beat, rates set by their competitors, as a way to get you in as a customer. This gives you the power to go with a provider who you like, and get a deal that suits you too.
But if you’re not quite ready to compare electricity providers, the good news is you can make some changes to your electricity usage habits, so you can start saving energy and reduce your costs.
How to get cheaper power bills by making small changes at home
Making a big change to get cheap power bills is easy. It starts by making some small changes around the house to conserve energy each day. Here are some helpful tips to consider from Synergy, a leading electricity retailer in Western Australia:
- Appliances: Did you know that the average household in Australia wastes 10% of their total energy usage by leaving major appliances on standby mode? Taking a moment to turn off all appliances completely instead of leaving them on standby means that you won’t have to pay for unnecessary power that is wasted when appliances aren’t in use. Remember to turn off computers, DVD players, air conditioners, and even microwave ovens completely so that they aren’t using power when they are idle.
- Also, consider when you use these high-draw appliances. Using larger appliances like the washing machine, the dryer, or the dishwasher in the evening, outside of peak use hours, will reduce the rate for the amount of electricity used for each one. You’ll save money, and also reduce your energy use—after all, it makes sense to run a full load of dishes, instead of two half-loads, doesn’t it?
- Kitchen: Conserving energy and saving money on electricity in the kitchen is much simpler than many people realise. First off, if you are cooking for just a few people, use the microwave oven instead of a standard oven; microwaves use less energy and cost less to operate. When using the oven, make sure that your oven seal is new and in good condition so that it doesn’t leak heat and waste energy when cooking.
- Bathroom: The amount of energy that is used to heat water makes up a large majority of your annual power bill. Try to encourage your family members to take a shower that is no longer than 5 minutes to reduce the amount of hot water used each day. From there, take the time to check your hot water thermostat to make certain that it is set no higher than 60°C to prevent extra energy from being wasted.
Simple, aren’t they? Here are a few more tips that we like, that will help you see your utility costs drop even further:
- Instead of automatically reaching for the air con remote, look into more natural ways of heating and cooling your house. During the hot summer months, keep your windows, curtains and blinds closed during the day: this stops the bulk of the sun’s heat from coming in, keeping your house cooler. When the sun goes down, open up those windows and let in the cooler evening air.
- Get the fan going as well. Your fan can use up to 80% less energy than the air con, letting you save up to $200 a year on cooling.
- If the heat does get too intense and the air con simply has to be switched on, set it between 23°C to 26°C in summer. It might not sound cold, but it’s much, much cooler than the temperature outside—you’re after some relief from the heat, not a freezer, after all. Every degree that you change the temperature can save up to 10% on your air con’s energy use, and save you big in the long term.
- We’re blessed by beautiful weather in Australia, so make the most of it and dry your laundry outside, instead of in the dryer. Doing four loads of laundry a week outside, instead using the dryer, can add up to a $150 a year saving on the price you pay for your energy. Simple!
- Switch any blown light bulbs out for newer, energy-saving bulbs. They’re use around 25% less electricity that a standard bulb, which certainly adds up.
- Do you really need that second fridge? An average four-person household can survive comfortably with one fridge, so running a second one just for your drinks isn’t just wasting energy, it’s also costing you. Older models of fridges use up to two or three times the energy as newer models, so ditching the back-up fridge is a great way to save up to $200 a year on your electricity.
So whether it’s looking into making the switch from your current electricity supplier, or switching your mindset around your energy use, there are quite a few ways that you can get cheaper power bills for your home. We’ll be honest though: if you just want something quick and easy, this can all sound like a lot of work.
But don’t worry—that’s what we’re here for.
Getting an electricity comparison the right way
At this point, you’re probably mentally exhausted just thinking about it. Doing an electricity comparison isn’t easy, and many energy brokers don’t do it correctly. This is where ElectricityWizard comes in. We’ll do a comparison the right way, ensuring we cover all the critical elements when comparing energy providers.