October 24, 2017

Things to Consider when Comparing Energy Offers

When you want to save money, you’ll look at your monthly expenses and see where you can cut corners. The water bill and electricity bill are two regulars in a monthly budget. With some research, you can do several things to reduce your utility bills. One of these is to get the best energy offer from your energy retailer.

If you’ve been with the same energy retailer for several years, you may want to revisit your contract to see if you’re still getting the best deal.

In this article, let’s take a look at some of the things to consider when comparing energy offers:

  • In some regional areas in Australia, there’s only one electricity retailer. If this is the case, make sure that the contract works well with your needs. But in all states and territories excluding the Northern Territory, Tasmania, Western Australia and areas outside South East Queensland, there are energy retailers to choose from.
  • Except in the Northern Territory and Western Australia, you have the option to have a market or standard retail contract. A market retail contract comes with a minimum set of terms and conditions, and the retailer is the one that sets the market retail contract price. On the other hand, a standard retail contract becomes the default contract if you weren’t able to look for another one. It comes with a set of terms and conditions that the energy retailer cannot change.
  • Look for the usage and daily supply charges and discounts. Are there any exit fees involved if you want to switch retailers sooner? Are there discounts for paying the electricity bill on time?
  • You can use an estimator or calculator to help you compare the different electricity and gas contracts from licensed energy retailers. Take note, however, that it is still necessary to check your personal situation and not rely solely on online calculators or estimators as these may have some sort of agreement with certain energy retailers.
  • As with anything that comes with a contract, make sure to read the fine print. You can ask someone who knows more about energy offers so you will better understand what you’re paying for. So you can minimize or avoid inconveniences later on.

Got other ideas on energy offers and how to save money on water and electricity bills? Share your tips in the comments section.

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Understanding Energy Use around the House

Water and electricity are essential in our day-to-day lives. Every month, we obviously need to pay our water and electricity bills, and if we’re not careful, our monthly utility bills can continuously increase. But before we can come up with ways to save on water and electricity, it is important to understand how energy is used around the house. Energy consumption can be zeroed in on heating and cooling, appliances, water heating, as well as lighting in your home. In this article, let’s learn more about energy consumption and how we can lower our utility bills:

Heating and Cooling

This energy culprit accounts for almost half (40%) of energy usage of a typical household in Australia. There are several ways to lower your energy consumption with heating and cooling, and most are simple enough that everyone in the home can adhere to:

  • Use heating only in rooms or areas that are being used.
  • During warm days, always close the blinds and curtains. Doing so can actually make the rooms cooler. During cold days, you can also close the blinds and curtains as protection against draft.
  • If you want the room to be cooler, opt for an electric fan. Not only is this cheaper than using your cooling system, it also has low greenhouse impact.

Appliances

An average Australian household has a washer, dryer, dishwasher, TV, and refrigerator. Did you know that appliances account for 33% of your home’s energy use? Lower your energy consumption with appliances by doing these simple tips:

  • Unplug all appliances that are not in use.
  • When buying appliances, make sure to check the energy ratings, which can tell you more about energy efficiency that can translate to lower electricity bills.

Water Heating

About 20% of the total energy consumption is attributed to water heating. Want to reduce your electricity and water usage? Keep these tips in mind:

  • Keep the thermostat of your water heater to 60°-65°C.
  • When doing the laundry, use cold water in the washing machine.
  • Replace your shower head with a model that is water-efficient.

Lighting

About 6% of the total energy use of an average household is attributed to lights. It may not look much, but turning off lights when there’s no one in the room can help reduce your electricity bill. You can also replace incandescent lighting with energy-efficient bulbs.

Do you have other ideas when it comes to water and electricity bills? Share your insights in the comments section.

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How to Stop Power Guzzlers from Sending Your Utility Bills through the Roof

We all need water and electricity in our day-to-day activities. Obviously, we need our appliances, devices, and other gadgets, but did you know that there are some items that can send your utility bills through the roof? These are also known as power guzzlers, and if you’re not aware of them, you may be in for a surprise come bills payment time.

How can you stop power guzzlers from having a huge impact to your water bill and electricity bill? Here are some tips to take into account:

  • Know the power guzzlers. Of course, you need to identify the culprits that increase your water bill or electricity bill. For instance, your home appliances may not be energy-efficient, adding more to the cost of electricity. Cut costs by replacing these appliances with energy-efficient ones.
  • Heating water accounts for about a quarter of the total household power usage. Save water, and money, by being more conscious about your hot water. Take shorter showers. Make sure that the temperature is between 60C and 65C, or lower if you have children. Check for faucet leaks. It may seem little but you could be wasting a lot of money when you add everything up.
  • The air conditioner is another power guzzler. If you’re planning to buy one, find a model that has a multi-starred Energy Rating System, which tells you that it’s energy-efficient. You can also choose an inverter unit which can be much quieter. Keep your air conditioner in good working condition by cleaning its filters regularly. Of course, do not turn it on when no one’s in the room, and close vents or ducts which are connected to unoccupied rooms.
  • A refrigerator runs 24/7, so it’s one of those appliances that can really increase your electricity bill. If you’re planning to buy a new one, make sure to choose the model that has at least four stars, which means that it’s energy-efficient. Do not place your refrigerator next to an oven or a window where there is warm temperature. Keep it clean and make sure that its seals are working properly.
  • Unplug appliances when not in use. Even if you’re not using them and they’re still plugged into the wall or left on standby mode, these appliances still consume electricity, so make sure to unplug them.

Got other tips on how to lower water and electricity bills? Share your ideas in the comments section.

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What Makes Up the Cost of Your Electricity Bill?

We pay for our water and electricity consumption on a regular basis, but did you ever take time to check what you’re actually paying for? All those figures represent different items that make up our electricity bill. Understandably, we tend to look at the total amount so we can get the bills payment over with and move on with our other household tasks.

Every household has different levels of energy consumption. Each has a different set of appliances and gadgets that use varying levels of electricity. The price you pay for your electricity bill depends on several other factors.

Here are the different items that make up the cost of your electricity bill:

  1. Generation costs are for creating electricity at a power station.
  2. Transmission costs are for setting up and maintaining the state’s network of high voltage powerline infrastructure.
  3. Distribution costs are incurred for building and maintaining the network of low-voltage poles and wires which send electricity to homes and establishments.
  4. Retail costs are incurred for connecting and billing customers. The expense in managing their accounts also falls under retail costs.
  5. Green scheme costs are associated with the Commonwealth Government’s Renewable Energy Target.
  6. Metering costs are expenses associated with your metering equipment. This covers maintenance and meter reading.

Take note that generation and retail costs are determined in competitive markets wherein companies offer cheaper products to get customers. Also, independent regulators are the ones responsible for the network costs.

Your electricity bill is likewise affected by where you live in the country. There are laws on general consumer protection as well as state and territory energy under the National Energy Customer Framework. This operates in all states and territories, excluding Victoria, Northern Territory, and Western Australia.

Why is it important to know what you’re paying for? Most of us just pay the electricity bill without looking at the different elements involved. Understanding your electricity bill will greatly help you in saving money in energy consumption. You can devise a strategy on how to keep your energy costs down and see if it is effective. You can replace incandescent bulbs with LED lighting, unplug all unused appliances and devices, and buy energy-saving gadgets. You can also check your electricity bills from the last few months or so to see which months posted higher amounts, then make the necessary changes to save money.

Got tips on how to save money on electricity bills? Share your ideas in the comments section.

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11 Ways to Conserve Water in Your Home

Water and electricity bills are some of the common expenses that we need to pay on a monthly basis. If you want to lower your water bill, you obviously need to conserve water in your home. Here are some simple ways to go about it:

1. Shorten your time in the shower

It takes eight minutes for an average person to take a shower. That’s about 62 litres of hot water. Imagine how much water and electricity you can save if you take five-minute showers instead.

2. Turn off the bathroom tap when you’re not using it

Some people tend to keep the water running while brushing their teeth, washing their face and hands or even cleaning the sink. Break that habit and start turning the faucet off while doing the task and you’ll be surprised with the big change on your water bills.

3. Use rainwater for flushing

If there is enough space, you can have a rainwater tank set up in your backyard to gather rain and hook it up to your toilet plumbing.

4. Use a bucket if you need to clean up or when doing your tasks

There’s no need to keep the tap running.

5. Check your plumbing system

If there’s a faucet leak, fix it as soon as possible.

6. Check the water metre regularly

You can track your water consumption and try to reduce the amount of water being used for some of your household chores.

7. Use a dishwasher and set it on ‘low water’ mode

You can also save on your water bill if you use your dishwasher only when it’s full.

8. If you prefer washing dishes by hand, avoid running the tap continuously

In a double-basin sink, put soapy water in the first one then water for rinsing in the other sink.

9. Install a displacement device to lessen the amount of water every time you flush the toilet

One thrift way to lessen your waste water in every flush is a plastic bottle that you can put in your toilet tank. Simply put water and pebbles in the plastic bottle and you’ll save several litres of water per day.

10. Reuse cleaning water to wash your car or even to water the garden

Just make sure not to use water with cleaning products to water your plants.

11. One more tip to save water is to have a water butt which is used to collect rainwater

Reuse the water from your water butt when cleaning windows or sweeping the floor.

Got other ideas on how to save money on water and electricity? Share your ideas in the comments section.

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How to Save Money on Your Energy Bills this Winter

During winter, one of the concerns of Australian households is the ever increasing energy bills, with heaters being one of the main culprits. Prices of gas and electricity in Australia rose to double-digit figures in recent years, that’s why keeping electricity bills down becomes more and more difficult.

You’ll be glad to know that there are several ways to save money on energy bills this winter. In fact, most of them are simple lifestyle changes that can bring huge impact to your utilities.

Inspect your windows

Heat lost through windows of your home can greatly increase your electricity bill. Check your windows and make sure that the glass and sills are in good working condition. If possible, add double glazing to reduce heat loss.

Utilise your ceiling fan

Make your home’s heating more effective by switching your ceiling fan to the reverse, clockwise setting. This will keep the heat inside the house, by pushing it back down and around the different areas.

Switch to LED lighting

Nights tend to be longer during winter. Reduce your electricity bill by replacing incandescent lights with LED lights. These are energy-efficient and last longer.

Get a programmable thermostat

Set your thermostats between 10 and 20 degrees Celsius, and reduce heat usage by turning it down when you’re at work or sleeping. This will significantly reduce your electricity bill.

Switch energy provider

Look around for several energy providers, compare their offerings, and see if you’re getting a great deal from your current provider. To reduce your energy bill, you can choose an ethical green electricity and gas provider or consolidate all of your energy financial outgoings into a single provider.

Minimise the use of hot water

To reduce your water bill, take showers instead of baths which usually entail more time and water. It is also important to check taps for leaks and repair when necessary.

Use a gas heater or fireplace instead of an electric heater

A gas heater can warm your house quicker, and gas is less expensive than electricity.

Set up payment plans for your energy bills

Stick to your regular budget by setting up regular energy bill payment plans. This means that you will be billed with the same amount every month according to your average household use, instead of having to deal with a huge energy bill during winter.

Got other tips on how to save money on water and electricity bills this winter in Australia? Share your ideas in the comments section.

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Introducing a Timer to Save Money on Your Family’s Water Bill

Any Australian household can relate to the fact that water bill and electricity bill are some of the expenses that we have to handle on a regular basis. Both are necessities to our day-to-day lives and there may be instances when we need to pay more for these utilities. But the thing is, there are simple and practical ways to keep our water bill down so we can save money. In fact, you’ll be surprised that a few changes on the way we do certain daily activities will have a great impact to water and electricity costs.

How can we save money on the water bill in Australia? One of the ways to take into account is introducing a timer on some of your day-to-day tasks. You’ll be amazed at how a simple gadget can make a huge difference on how you use water. When taking a shower, keep track of time by using a shower timer. This can reduce your shower time, saving you money. For a family of four, just cutting the shower time to about four minutes can save you more than $300 per year, compared to taking eight-minute showers twice a day. You can also use a tap timer so will always remember to turn the watering system off.

Here are other practical ways to save money on your family’s water bill:

  • Consider using water-efficient products. A water-efficient shower head, dual flush toilet, and washing machine can help lower your water bill. You’ll find more devices available in the market that promote water efficiency.
  • Reduce the time you spend watering your plants in the garden. If you usually spend one hour a day, cut it to 30 minutes only so you can save money. Also, it may be better to water plants early in the morning or at night when less water evaporates.
  • Check faucets and water pipes for leaks. It is important to routinely check all of your faucets and water pipes for any leaks. You may not realise that it’s water wasted and costs added to your bill. By keeping them in good condition, you can save money not only on your water bill but on plumbing costs as well.
  • Wash your car with a trigger nozzle so you can control the flow of water.

Do you have other tips on how to save money not only on your water bill but also on electricity bill in Australia? Share your ideas in the comments section.

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How to Find the Cheapest Electricity Company

Just like the water bill, the electricity bill is one of the many utilities Australian households pay on a regular basis, and nowadays when almost everyone uses one or more gadgets on daily, it’s not surprising that your electricity bill can cost a lot.

Nobody wants to shell out more money than what’s necessary for electricity and of course, there are several ways to lower your electricity bill. One of these is at the onset, you may want to consider finding the cheapest electricity company. How? Consider these tips:

Compare offerings of several providers

You can have options depending on your location. If you live in areas of Queensland, New South Wales, ACT, South Australia or Victoria, there are several electricity companies that you can choose from.

Look at your current tariff

This refers to the meter type that is used to know your rate. It can be single rate which means that the rate is the same whatever time you use electricity, or time of use which means that rates vary depending on the time you use electricity.

Ask if there are additional charges

When it comes to electricity bills, these can be establishment fees, charges for connection or disconnection, and late fees.

Know the billing options

Ask what the billing cycle is and when you will pay the electricity bill, whether monthly, every two weeks or every three months. You can also ask if there’s additional fee if you prefer paper bills.

Consider the level of savings with each plan

You can save some cash when you pay your bill on time but bear in mind that the level of savings may be good for only the first year. If your electricity plan is more than a year, you may not get the same savings in the coming years.

Read the offer conditions

Different electricity providers have different offer conditions so it is very important to read these carefully before entering into a new contract.

Know what to do when you want to switch providers

If you found the electricity company for your needs, check with your current provider on any applicable fees for switching to a new one. In general, moving to a new provider is a quick process.

Finding the cheapest electricity company depends on several factors including your location, electricity usage, and electricity providers available in your area. If possible, consider options and choose the one that offers lower rates so you can reduce electricity bills.

Do you know other ways to find the cheapest electricity company? Share your water and electricity tips in the comments section.

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How to Get the Most Out of Solar to Save Money on Your Electricity Bills

Electricity forms an integral part in our daily lives. This great invention helps us do our day-to-day activities in many ways. In this day and age, it seems impossible to live comfortably without electricity.

This convenience obviously comes with a price, and many Australian households pay a lot every month for utilities. The good thing is, there are many ways to reduce your electricity bills and even water bills. One of these is to utilise solar power. It can significantly cut costs on electricity, depending your average energy consumption, usage patterns, tariff rate, your location, and the type of solar power system that you have.

So how can you get the most out of your solar power to slash your bills on water and electricity? Here are some simple tips to consider:

Turn off your heater at night

Everyone wants to have a good night sleep, but you don’t really need to turn the heater on to keep you warm. You can turn it off while you sleep. Use more blankets instead so you can sleep comfortably.

Unplug all appliances and gadgets when not in use

Standby power gets generated by appliances that are kept plugged in even when not in use. These costs can add up and you’ll end up paying a big electricity bill. Develop the habit of switching appliances off the wall to avoid paying for standby power.

Change your usage patterns

You can save money on your electricity bills just by shifting your usage patterns. It is better to consume more energy during sunny days if your solar feed in tariff is dramatically lower than the electricity market rate.

Use cold water when washing clothes 

Save energy and money by washing clothes in cold water instead of hot water that requires power to heat it. A cold water wash is usually more beneficial for your clothes as it helps maintain colours and prevent shrinkage of certain types of clothing.

Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs

This is one of the simplest ways to reduce your electricity bills. If you use incandescent lighting, replace them with energy-efficient light bulbs which usually use less power and are longer-lasting.

These are just some of the many ways on how to get the most out of your solar power to cut costs on water and electricity. Even small changes to your home can make a big difference. Once you’ve implemented these, you will eventually see the reduction on your water and electricity bills.

Do you have other tips on how to further slash your water and electricity bills in Australia? Share your ideas in the comment section.

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Top Water Saving Devices to Save You Money on Your Water Bill

A household in Australia consumes about 900 litres of water, an average of 340 litres of water per person each day. You can reduce your water usage, and also save on your next water bill when you invest in some simple water saving devices.

We’ve put together a list of inexpensive items that you can buy to save you money on your water bill, without the need to hire a professional to install. You can simply install them yourself with the tools you probably already own.

Change Your Faucet Aerators

This is the most effective and easiest way to lower your water consumption. Faucet Aerators can control the flow of water through your faucet and it can reduce water usage up to as much as 50%.

Aerators don’t just save water, they can also reduce the natural gas and electricity cost involved with water heating; you can save on your electricity bills when you have this installed.

Faucet Aerators and Shower Heads

Bathroom Aerators: A regular aerator in the bathroom is 9.5 lpm (litres per minute). You can see the rated flow rate indicated on the side. You should install a new aerator that has a 5.67 lpm or less, this can save you thousands of gallons of water yearly.

Kitchen Aerators: Kitchen faucets demand a higher flow rate than bathroom faucets. It is recommended to have a 8.32 lpm or below.

Installing faucet aerators is simple, but make sure you turn your water off for the entire house first before you start! Use a wrench to unscrew counter-clockwise the nut that’s holding the old shower head or faucet. You can finish unscrewing it with your fingers. Twist the new aerator in place clockwise with your wrench, and you’re good to go!

If your old aerator does not unscrew, think about buying a new faucet especially if your old one uses more than 9.5 lpm. The expense will soon make up for the cost of the new faucet with savings on your water bill.

Shower Heads: Aerating shower heads and non-aerating shower heads are the two kinds of low-flow shower heads. With an aerating shower head, air is combined with water. With the non-aerating shower head, air is not used but instead it pulses to keep the pressure strong.

The standard flow rate for shower heads is 9.5 lpm. But you can change your shower head with a 5.67 lpm while still having a normal shower with lesser water usage so you can save money monthly on your water bills.

Install a Dual-Flush Toilet

Dual flush toilets handle solid and liquid waste differently. It features two flushing options, one for half flush for liquid waste it uses about 5 to 6 litres per flush, and one for full-flush for solid waste which uses 3 litres per flush.

However, if your toilet doesn’t have this feature, you can use a dual flush conversion kit which can be installed easily without replacing your toilet. There are many dual conversion kits available in local hardware stores or online.

You can convert your toilet to dual flush without using any tools. You simply just have to remove the old flapper chain and handle, then slid the bottom part of the kit where the old flapper was located. This can save you up to $100 annually on you water bills.

There are many other ways and devices you can use that could save you money on your water bills. There’s the good old shower timer, where you time yourself when showering. There’s the toilet tank bank, an inflatable device that can shrink the tank size of the toilet and reduce the amount of water that goes down the tube every time you flush.

Your water and electricity bills will be less costly once you invested in these devices. The outcome spent will return after a few months later, and you’ll feel good about saving the planet!

Do you have any other tips on how to save money on your water bill? Let us know in the comments section.

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