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How to Save on your Energy Bill - Part C

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Our final blog on reducing the cost of your electricity bill gives you tips for across the home. They may seem like tiny changes, but overall can make a huge difference to your quarterly bill.

Avoid Peak Tarrif Charges

If you have a ‘smart metre’ installed at your home then you may be able to choose to be billed by your provider according to the time of day you use your electricity. This can be good if you’re able to avoid peak times for the most of your usage, but peak tariff time can be anywhere between 2pm - 10pm weekdays depending on the state you live, and it's when most of us are at home with the stove top on, TV blaring, lights on in several rooms, maybe a radio on and multiple devices charging for the following day. It’s called peak for a reason, it’s when most people use most of their electricity. But with some conscious changes and increased awareness you can reduce electricity usage during these times if you are on a time of use tariff. It might be worthwhile to choose this option if you work from home (or someone is home during the day) and can get dinners cooked and baking done, clothes washing and showers done outside of peak and shoulder times (i.e. do most of the above in the middle of the day).

If you work 9-5 and have a large family still at home it might make more sense to stick with the certainty of a single rate tariff, where you pay the same price for power at all times.

Lighting

The humble light bulb is one of the biggest contributors to your bill. A single bulb doesn’t cost much at all, but the average household tends to have multiple light bulbs glowing at the same time in the evenings. And as it’s almost always during peak time that they are on, the cost adds up. Awareness is the first step in reducing usage. Just begin to notice when lights are on in empty rooms. Aim to only have lights on in a room being used, and turn lights off when you leave a room. Energy efficient bulbs, (particularly LED) also make a difference, as do low wattage lamps.

Appliances

Turn appliances off at the wall when not in use, as some still use a small amount of electricity when plugged in even when they are off. Ovens and cook tops are quite energy hungry, and while it’s hard to avoid using these at dinner time (ie. peak time for those on a time of use tarrif), non-dinner baking efforts such as baking cakes or cookies, or the Sunday roast can be reserved for non-peak times. Putting the lids on pots and pans while cooking helps to speed up cooking times and if you’re about to upgrade your cooking appliances it’s good to be aware that gas stoves and ovens are slightly cheaper to run than electrical. Leaving space behind your fridge allows it to more efficiently cool and circulate its air and will help reduce its running costs. Ensuring your fridge and freezer are well packed (but not too full) and properly sealed will also contribute to lower running costs.

Hot Water

Heating the water in your home is also a major contributor to your energy bill, whether it is heated by electricity or gas. Gas is generally a bit cheaper than electricity. If you have a large household of hot shower lovers a solar hot water system might be a worthwhile investment. When you are washing your clothes choose the cold cycle and a lower temperature option such as 40 degrees for sheets and towels. If you have the option, set your home hot water system to 60 degrees. Solar hot water heaters are also becoming more popular as a long term investment to help reduce energy costs.

With electricity prices continuing to rise it can also pay to shop around for a better deal. The Federal Government has free a website where you can enter your postcode and shop for the best deal for your local area. Don’t just let price be the decider, check everything from contracts periods, joining or cancellation fees, whether the discounts are conditional or not (i.e. only apply if you pay on time) and other special deals that might be on offer. You can find our more here.

Ensuring you have the funds to pay your bill when it does come will help to avoid bill shock and the resulting cash flow problems. Endeavour Mutual Bank provides a free budgeting service for all its members and has a range of account options which allow you to direct debit your wages into an account especially set up for bills. To find out more visit one of our branches or speak to one of our friendly member services officers on 1300 13 14 20.