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 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.
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.
Utilise energy saving strategies in your home, such as:
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.
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.
<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>