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The Growing Cost of Energy

  • November 23, 2017
  • By 50 Shades
  • 24 Comments
The Growing Cost of Energy

Let me ask you a question. What is the single-most costly expense in your household? For us it is rates/water, followed by our electricity bill. Over recent years we’ve turned into “electricity commandos”, running around our house turning off lights and appliances and using a rug for warmth during the cooler months. For many people the growing cost of energy is becoming a financial burden.

Let’s take my octogenarian mother as an example. During my weekly visits to her house I often find that she rugs up rather than switching on her heater and she often sits in the dark rather than turning on lights. Because she is on a limited income on the aged pension she finds the high cost of electricity to be a strain on her budget. Electricity tariffs have increased rapidly over the past two decades, however the old age pension hasn’t increased by much.

The High Cost of Energy

The Growing Cost of Energy

The high cost of energy is very controversial with most Australians questioning why this is happening. In fact electricity bills have gone up by a whopping 183 per cent on average over the last two decades, according to The Australia Institute’s senior researcher David Richardson. The public consensus seems to be that our Federal Government should be stepping in to do something about this.

Much of the increase in energy prices has been attributed to the need to invest in the electricity network component because of previous under-investment in maintaining the network or to increase capacity. Also important has been the impact of government policies or lack thereof, to address environmental issues.

It is evident that the government need to formulate a major carbon and energy policy beyond the end of the decade and there needs to be necessary investments made in our electricity system. There are a number of intergovernmental processes being actioned presently to address some of these issues. However, it remains to be seen whether they will be effective in containing price increases in the meantime.

Shopping Around for Energy Providers

The Growing Cost of Energy

The Australian Energy Market Commission have found that about 50 per cent of people were not shopping around for the best electricity deals, even though this could save some households a whopping $507 a year on electricity (38 per cent).

By shopping around and comparing different energy providers you can save money on your electricity bills. Don’t just look at tariff charges but also consider contract periods, exit fees, credit card charges, customer service and discount rates for paying on time. You can save up to 25 per cent just from paying your bill on time.

A great tool for shopping around for an energy provider is utilising the Canstar comparison table. Energy cost estimates calculated on this table are done so by using average electricity usage data for a five person household in a selected Brisbane suburb. Costs can vary between suburbs, so try their electricity comparison tool to see which provider is cheapest in your area. The table currently shows the Alinta Energy offer is the best in South East Queensland, so I would definitely check them out.

Saving on Energy in the Home

The Growing Cost of Energy

Utilise energy saving strategies in your home, such as:

  • Wear the right clothes and dress for the temperature.
  • Shut doors and close curtains/blinds.
  • Set your thermostat on your air conditioner.
  • Turn heaters and coolers off when you don’t need them.
  • Wash clothes using cold water.
  • Run your fridge efficiently.
  • Insulate the roof of your home.
  • Stop standby power waste.
  • Save energy in the kitchen.
  • Use energy-saving light globes.

You can also save a considerable amount on electricity bills by taking advantage of off-peak times. Off-peak times are generally when residential homes and businesses use less electricity. Off-peak times will vary depending on your location and meter type, but typically are at night or weekends. In Queensland, where I live, it is between 10pm and 7am.

The Growing Cost of Energy

Save money by shifting your electricity use to off-peak times. Consider running appliances like dishwashers, washing machines and clothes dryers at off-peak times. Many appliances now have timers and delay start features; so you can control your electricity usage and save money. In our home we have both our pool pump and hot water system running off-peak.

At the end of the day you don’t need to be an “electricity commando”. If you’re smart and willing to implement a few changes into your household, then you can save money on electricity.

Disclaimer:  This is a sponsored post, however all opinions expressed are my own and statistics quoted are from Australian Energy Market Commission and The Australian Institute.

Alinta Energy is an established national energy company, with a proud history dating back to 1941. They have 800,000 customers and over 400 employees across Australia. They both generate and retail electricity in Australia, which means they are able to offer extremely competitive pricing.

They retail energy in Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and have recently launched in Queensland.

Lyndall from Seize the Day Projectlovin-life-linky
Deb from DebbishDotCom
Min from Write of the Middle.
Leanne from Deep Fried Fruit
and of course me, Kathy from 50 Shades of Age


By 50 Shades, November 23, 2017 <p>Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 4 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now 60. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland. She enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, movies, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.</p>
  • 24

50 Shades

<p>Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 4 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now 60. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland. She enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, movies, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.</p>

24 Comments
  • Lydia C. Lee
    November 23, 2017

    We had an $800 bill and we didn’t even use the heater this winter. Heaven help us if we use the aircon in summer!

    • Kathy
      November 23, 2017

      Yes we used to pay around this amount quarterly, but we had solar panels installed a few years ago so our bill has more than halved. Our main expense was the amount of hot water being used when our two kids were living at home. #TeamLovinLife

  • Sydney Shop Girl
    November 23, 2017

    I always need a periodic reminder to be more mindful about my energy consumption at home. Glad we invested in energy efficient globes for the house. I’m trying to be more energy efficient at work too – switching off my computer and office lights at the end of each day. I shudder to think what it costs to keep my workplace running electricity wise…

    SSG xx

    • Kathy
      November 23, 2017

      Yes we got energy-wise a few years back and installed solar panels, put our hot water and pool pump on off-peak and installed the LED lights. We’ve now saved ourselves a lot of money with these things in place. #TeamLovinLife

  • Jo Tracey
    November 23, 2017

    Our bills in Sydney were phenomenal, here we’re using a third of the electricity we used to. Why? We have solar power and are changing the way we use our power, by scheduling high energy users like the pool filter and the dishwasher to run when the solar is running (we don’t have a battery to save our solar energy, so it’s returned to the grid). We’re about to change our hot water tank over so it will run only during off-peak times.Some great tips.

    • Kathy
      November 23, 2017

      Solar power is definitely the way to go in Queensland. We have more than halved our electricity bills and also use the dishwasher and washing machine during the daylight hours. There are some good ways to save $$ by shopping around for providers as well. #TeamLovinLife

  • Jan Wild
    November 23, 2017

    A really helpful and informative post Kathy. We are so pleased that we invested in solar back to the grid when we built here in Mallacoota. It was a big investment but totally worth it as we now don’t pay electricity at all (we are also fortunate to be on a 66 cents feed in tariff). However as we look to be moving north in the next few months (contracts should exchange today or tomorrow) we will need to look at our options again.

    • Kathy
      November 23, 2017

      Thanks Jan. I think we all need to be a little more energy-wise around our homes. We have solar too and it was a good investment. It’s great news about your house sale. I will look forward to seeing you when you move up to Queensland. #TeamLovinLife

  • Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au
    November 23, 2017

    We’ve changed gas providers and received a 25% discount – there’s only one electricity provider in WA so that can’t happen – we talk about solar panels a lot, but we are pretty frugal with our power use (we too use rugs in winter!) so will put off getting panels for a few more years.

    • Kathy
      November 23, 2017

      We always compare provider prices and discounts. It’s good that there is some competition to try to keep the prices down. Alinta Energy has just commenced in WA. You should check them out. #TeamLovinLife

  • Deborah
    November 23, 2017

    I actually noticed it more over the previous few years than I have in the past year. My bills were quite huge in my apartment and I was constantly shocked. It made me paranoid about using my airconditioner, even when I needed to.

    Now however I have solar hot water so my bills are a lot better than they were. I don’t have the kind of solar power that gets used for things other than hot water though, so that would be ideal I think.

    • Kathy
      November 23, 2017

      Yes hot water is a big consumer of electricity. When our kids lived at home we used to be on their case about the long showers they had! Putting your HWS onto off peak can be a big saving so you should get that done. #TeamLovinLife

  • jodie filogomo
    November 23, 2017

    We don’t have an option of different providers but at least ours doesn’t seem as high right now.
    We try to keep the heat down in the winter and a/c on minimally, but there are times it’s nice to be comfortable!
    XOXO
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

    • Kathy
      November 23, 2017

      Yes it’s a shame that electricity in Australia has got so pricey, because a lot of people aren’t living comfortably, particularly those on low income and on pensions. It is a good idea to be aware of energy usage in your home and try to limit it where you can. #TeamLovinLife

  • Jo
    November 23, 2017

    So agree and it can be such a shock to get a high energy bill. In our last house our bills were huge, but now we have downsized a little and have solar panels we pay very little. However, this will change in the next few years when the new solar plans are rolled out, but for now, it’s great. Thanks for the great tips on how to save energy though – it’s easy to be neglectful on that count.

    • Kathy
      November 23, 2017

      It is very easy to take electricity for granted. We installed solar panels a few years and that has been a big saving for us. But shopping around for better deals and utilising energy saving tips also helps. #TeamLovinLife

  • Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond
    November 23, 2017

    Hi Kathy, my Parents-in-Law were the same as your Mum. They wouldn’t use the air conditioning or heating, would only have one light on at a time. Now that my MIL is in aged care, she still turns off the light every time she leaves her room. She gets very annoyed that others ‘leave their lights on and waste money’. The staff have a giggle about her attitude but I think it is ingrained. Power costs are certainly out of control and unfortunately, alternative energy isn’t cost effective at the moment for many. I see so many solar panels and wind farms in Europe. Thanks for the tips which are always helpful.

    • Kathy
      November 23, 2017

      I do feel for the elderly and the low income earners that can’t afford the high cost of electricity. I think our parent’s generation were very frugal anyway, so it is ingrained in them. We have solar panels and they save us heaps on our bill. #TeamLovinLife

  • Suger
    November 23, 2017

    My power bill went up by about 30% on last winter. We can’t figure out how and have to put it down to increasing costs. Time to invest in a solar option for us, we just need some semblance of control back.

    • Kathy
      November 23, 2017

      Yes you have to take control and look into energy saving solutions. Shopping around and comparing energy providers is also a great idea. #TeamLovinLife

  • Denyse
    November 24, 2017

    We had high electricity costs when we lived in Sydney as we were running a pool pump, and had ducted air. However, we lived in the hot suburbs of Western Sydney and they helped us survive. We paid a negotiated amount each fortnight to our provider and that help somewhat. However, since moving here, we pay quarterly and with this rental house being in a more temperate climate, the bill is less. We have the best rate for us right now. Thanks for sharing. Denyse

    • Kathy
      November 24, 2017

      Air conditioning or heating really seem to chew up the electricity. We don’t run a heater at all here on the Gold Coast, but we do put our air con on during some of our very hot and humid days during summer. Since we’ve had solar panels our bill has been a lot less. It sounds like you have shopped around to get the best rate so well done you. #TeamLovinLife

  • Lyndall @ SeizeThe Day Project
    November 27, 2017

    Love your tips Kathy. We keep our bills relatively low by following many of the tips you’ve outlined. I recently shopped around for a new supplier and changed to Click Energy. It will be interesting to see how their service is, as their price was considerably cheaper than our former supplier. #TeamLovinLife

    • Kathy
      November 28, 2017

      It is advisable to shop around for the best energy provider once in a while. We do this often. You really need to keep your eye on the ball where electricity is concerned or otherwise you can be up for hefty bills. #TeamLovinLife

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