Article by Jessie Petterd, iSelect spokeswoman
Summer is finally upon us and along with the warmer weather, longer days and an increased purchase of Frosty Fruits also comes the less desirable part of summer – expensive energy bills.
It’s easy to forget about monitoring your air-conditioner usage when you’re on day 2 of a 5-day heatwave but before you know it, that dreaded summer energy bill will arrive and you’ll be kicking yourself that you didn’t try to find a better value plan before the warmer weather well and truly kicked in.
Thankfully, there are a few handy hints you can employ that don’t involve laying a finger on the air-con remote.
1. Be Mindful of Peak Usage Periods
You may be aware the new Demand Tariffs were introduced for some customers this year which may mean that you’ve seen a slight increase in your energy bills depending on your energy use in peak times.
If your demand is being measured in peak times, then it makes sense to avoid excess energy usage in those times. Try hold off on blasting air-con in peak periods which are generally 3pm – 9pm in most states (and dependent on your retailer). Or choose off-peak time to do a load of laundry or washing cycle. Nothing wrong with a late-night laundry load if it means saving yourself some cash!
It’s not only important to know when peak usage times occur but also what devices and appliances are draining your power. It can be helpful to understand whether the air-con, hot water, lighting or home appliances are causing your bills to increase and help you make informed usage decisions.
2. Consider Flexible Payment Options
One of the easiest ways to avoid bill shock is to opt for flexible payment options. Most energy retailers allow you to pay your bills weekly, fortnightly or monthly or to sign up for bill smoothing.
Bill smoothing may help bring your blood pressure down when opening your seasonal energy bills as it divides your predicted annual usage into even monthly instalments.
3. Avoid Paying the Lazy Tax
If you’re the household CEO and juggle 3, 4 or even5 different hats then you’ve probably fallen victim to paying the ‘lazy tax’ in your time. The lazy tax us the money we waste simply because we haven’t found the time to shop around and compare our energy plan with a range of others.
It’s important to remember that energy discounts can change after a year or two and after this time you could be rolled over onto a higher-priced plan. Retailers are required to notify you when your discount period ens and this should be your prompt to compare energy plans.
Don’t Default to the Default
Default Offers was introduced in some states in 2019 and act as a safety net for more vulnerable Australians who, for whatever reason cannot shop around on their energy plan.
The default offer is a ‘benchmark’ against which all discounted offers are compared, making it easier to compare different energy plans and figure out which one will be suitable. If you haven’t changed energy plans or providers for many years, you could still be on the default offer.
While the default offer is a great fallback, these offers will unfortunately almost always be more expensive than market offers, which are the offers you see advertised by energy retailers. So don’t sit back and default to the default price. A great way to reduce your energy bill could be shopping around for a market offer.
While being mindful of blasting your air-conditioner 24/7 and your general usage this summer can help to minimise bill shock, making sure you’re on the great value plan to begin with could be a practical way of keeping costs down during the warmer months.
The last thing you want to worry about leading into the silly season is your household bills. If you’re strapped for time but keen to find yourself a more suitable energy deal this summer, there are comparison services like iSelect who can help you select and switch to a suitable energy plan from their range of energy providers.
* 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.
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