Electricity is a household essential but the cost can give your budget – and hip pocket – a nasty zap. We look at 8 easy ways to take the spark out of power bills
If you think your electricity bill is overheated, you’re not alone. According to Canstar Blue, you could pay anywhere from just over $1,000 annually in Victoria through to $1,444 in South Australia1. That’s a big chunk of your budget.
Sure, you could save by living on torchlight and cooking by campfire, but there are smarter strategies to trim electricity costs.
Here are 8 ways to tame high voltage energy bills.
According to the ACCC, electricity prices have dropped almost 9% since mid-20202. That’s because increased use of renewable energies and cheaper fuel costs have pushed power prices down at the wholesale level. But you may not be reaping the full rewards if you’re sticking to an outdated power plan.
If you’ve been with the same electricity provider for a number of years, chances are you could be paying more than necessary. Plenty of new providers have come onto the market in recent years, and competition is helping to push prices down.
That’s why it’s worth shopping around to see if you could get a better deal with a different provider – or switching to a new plan with your current provider.
If you’re in New South Wales, South East Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania or the ACT, the Energy Made Easy website lets you compare offers with a few keystrokes. Just upload your more recent power bill, and voila! You’ll see in an instant which plans can help you save. If you live in Victoria, check out the Victorian Energy Compare website to score a better deal.
According to Sustainability Victoria, home insulation is one of the most cost-effective and energy efficient ways to improve the comfort of your home3. It may sound like a big job, but laying some insulation batts in your roof cavity is a job the average home handyperson can tick off over a weekend. And it doesn’t have to be a budget buster.
Expect to pay around $50 per pack of insulation batts4. That typically covers around 9 square metres5, and it’s a cost that can soon pay for itself. A fully insulated home can have up to 50% less heating and cooling costs than a non-insulated home6.
There’s no way you’d leave a tap running with water cascading down the sink. Yet plenty of us are wasting bucketloads of electricity by leaving appliances turned on at the wall when they’re not being used.
Okay, some appliances shouldn’t be turned off, like your fridge or freezer. But consumer group Choice say appliances still use power when they're in standby mode – and it can add up to 10% of your electricity use7.
So, before you head out the door, flick the switch on lights, TVs, consoles and other electronics that really don’t need to be left turned on. It won’t make you rich but it will put cash back in your pocket instead of your power provider’s.
Australia really is one of the sunniest continents on earth8. It makes for great days at the beach. It explains why thongs are our go-to footwear for summer. And it also means a washing line is a lot cheaper, and a more eco-friendly option, than a clothes dryer.
It costs around 44 cents each time you put a load in the clothes dryer9. Add that up over the course of the year and you could be paying over $10010 for something the washing line offers for free.
And when the time comes to upgrade your laundry appliances, be sure to check out the Energy Rating Label that is stuck to the front of the machine. The more stars it has, the more energy efficient the appliance11, giving you a quick visual cue as to how much power it may consume.
There are also numerous sites which allow you to calculate the running costs of appliances in the ERL program12. So be sure to plan ahead to save money and reduce your electricity bill in the future.
When summer starts it can be tempting to crank up the air con to full throttle, pull up a seat and bask in the arctic blast. But it’s a luxury that’s going to heat up your power bills.
The lower the temp you set the thermostat to, the harder your air con has to work. And that’s going to see the machine suck up the watts faster than a parched polar bear at an Alaskan watering hole.
It works out a lot easier on your wallet if you set the thermostat between 22 and 24 degrees celsius13. That’s the Goldilocks zone where your air con isn’t working overtime, and you’re still enjoying a comfy temp for your home. Even setting your thermostat to one degree warmer than you’d normally have it can cut your running costs by up to 10%14.
Sustainability Victoria says around 56% of Victorian homes have inefficient lighting15. It means lighting is drawing on more power than it needs to do the job. And it’s a fair bet a similar stat applies to the rest of the country.
Home lighting accounts for 16% of household power bills16. So there’s a golden opportunity to pocket big savings with simple changes.
Halogen downlights can be a real culprit for chewing through power as they produce both light and heat. Switching to LED (light emitting diode) and CFD (compact fluorescent lamp) lights can help you save. They use up to 80% less energy to produce the same amount of light17.
If you’re not sure which light bulbs to buy, check out the Light Bulb Saver App. It can identify the right bulbs for your space, and help you calculate the savings of switching light bulbs.
Why wait for ‘bill shock’ – that weak-at-the-knees moment when you receive your power bill and reach for the smelling salts. Take charge of your power consumption instead by tracking how much power you use.
The CSIRO found one in five citizen scientists use some type of in-home energy monitoring device18. You can pick up an energy monitor for around $12019, and it’s a great way to track your electricity consumption, and adjust your usage before getting slugged by an over the top energy bill.
Remember we said that Australia is the sunniest continent on the planet? Why not harness all that lovely eco-friendly sunshine to power your home? It could be more affordable than you think.
According to the Clean Energy Council20 installing a solar system can cost from around $3,000 for a 2kW system to over $14,000 for a 10kW set-up. Yes, it’s a big outlay but Canstar Blue found a solar system can pay for itself in as little as 10 years21.
So if you’re keen to harness solar power and cut your power bills, whilst also showing the planet some love, Nimble’s got you covered. Our AnyTime Virtual Mastercard or a Nimble Personal Loan can help you get off the grid and start soaking up the savings of sunlight.