This winter, many Aussies have unfortunately become all too familiar with COVID-induced lockdowns and the four walls of their home. Which of course means more of us are likely working and studying from home, using more appliances, blasting the heater all day, having long, hot showers and keeping the lights on to brighten those dark winter afternoons.
All that extra energy usage during a lockdown (or winter in general) can really add up and potentially cause winter energy bill shock when that evil envelope or email finally makes an appearance. But you don’t have to grin and bear it.
You probably know all the common ways to save on energy (like layering up or putting a sausage under your door) but, we’re here to share with you a few uncommon ways to save on your energy in lockdown that you may not have thought of.
1. Choose Your Usage Moments
If you weren’t aware, a new Demand Tariff was introduced on July 1 this year that will impact some customers and could result in a potential rise in energy costs for some customers depending on your energy use in peak times.
This new Demand Tariff will calculate and record the maximum demand that is placed on the grid and obtains your own peak demand measurement within a specific period of time (often measured within a month).
To help combat these new energy tariffs, we suggest choosing your energy moments wisely and avoid heavy energy usage during peak times (usually in the early evening). For example, doing your washing or running the dishwasher during the day (before 3pm) or in those off-peak times. Or only do a load of washing when it’s full.
2. Examine Your Usage
Okay, so we now know that choosing your usage times is important but what about examining which devices or appliances are draining the most energy? It can be helpful to understand whether heating, hot water, lighting or home appliances are causing your bills to increase and help you make informed usage decisions.
Generally, heating, cooling and refrigeration are the main energy-sucking culprits. The Government’s Energy website has great resources to help you figure out which appliances could be costing you the most.
3. Upgrade Your Power Board
Working or studying from home means more devices being used more often. If you’re using a regular power board to connect all of your devices, it may waste energy. Consider replacing your old power boards with new smart docking stations, as they could help to reduce energy usage while your devices are on standby.
Don’t get Complacent with Reduced Rates
Some energy retailers announced a decrease in electricity rates in 2021, including a reduction to the Default Market Offer (DMO) and Victorian Default Offer (VDO) however, this doesn’t mean all consumers will see an automatic decrease on their bills. Your best bet is to shop around for a suitable market offer (which are the offers your see advertised by energy retailers) that suits your family’s lifestyle.
While reducing your energy consumption can help lower the cost of your energy bills, a great way to help reduce future bills which doesn’t involve even touching the thermostat is to simply compare energy plans*. If you’ve been on the same plan for a few years now, you might be paying more than you need to.
Being in a lockdown, there really is no excuse not to pick up the phone and compare your options instead of pressing ‘yes, I’m still watching’ on Netflix. Unless of course, you’re juggling work and home-schooling life then you can absolutely be forgiven for not finding the time!
This is where an energy comparison service like iSelect, could help with the leg work by comparing a number of energy plans from their range of providers, and suggest a suitable plan for your family and even help make the switch for you.
* iSelect does not compare all energy providers or plans in the market. The availability of plans may change from time to time. Not all plans made available from iSelect providers are compared by iSelect and due to commercial arrangements, area or availability, not all plans compared by iSelect will be available to all customers. Some plans and special offers are available only from iSelect’s contact centre or website. Energy plans are available only for properties located in eligible areas of Victoria, New South Wales, South East Queensland, South Australia and ACT. Click here to view iSelect’s range of providers.
By Jessie Petterd, iSelect spokeswoman