If the thought of your winter electricity bill gives you the shivers, there’s a good reason. According to Selectra1, the average annual electricity bill for Western Australians was an eyewatering $1831 this financial year.
So as we head into July — the coldest month of the year — how can we stop power bills battering our hip pockets while winter storms batter our homes? We’ve assembled a selection of our favourite easy and affordable bill-busting tips to help you navigate the winter months minus the bill shock.
1. Get energy-efficient
Lighting accounts for around 10% of your electricity bill. So swap those old incandescent globes for LEDs. They cost around 75% less to run and last five times longer. Select the more efficient programs for your washing machine and dishwasher. Avoid using your tumble drier whenever you can. Dry clothes outside on a washing line or inside on a clothes airer on those wet and windy days. Turn off lights and heaters when you don’t need them, and switch TVs and gaming consoles off at the wall. Try to run your appliances at the most energy-efficient times. That could be overnight if you have an off-peak tariff or during the day if your home has a solar energy system. Remember, if an appliance needs replacing, purchase the most energy-efficient model you can afford. You’ll reap the rewards in the long run with lower power costs.
2. Going cheaper by degrees
Check your thermostat and set it between 18-20 °C. Did you know that every degree above 20°C can add 10% to your winter electricity bill? Check the settings on your fridge and freezer too. Temperatures of 4°C for your fridge and -18°C for your freezer are ideal. Avoid positioning your fridge or freezer in hot and cramped areas because they’ll have to work harder to stay cool. And don’t leave fridge and freezer doors open for longer than necessary as you’ll rack up extra electricity costs.
3. Get cosy
Insulating your home is a great way to cut your energy bills. But it can be expensive. So if your budget is tight, here are few affordable ways to stay warmer at home. Get crafty and add thermal linings to your curtains. If sewing is not your thing, use iron-on invisible mending instead and cut heat loss through your curtains and windows by up to 25%. Draft excluders such as door snakes are a fun and inexpensive way to stop heat leaking from your home. If you’re handy, pinpoint any gaps around your windows and doors and seal them with suitable products from the DIY store. Don’t forget wearing an extra sweater is always an option, as is adding extra blankets or duvets to your bed at night. A cosy throw and extra cushions for your sofa will make winter evenings in your lounge room more comfortable too.
4. Consider switching things up
We’re always being advised to shop around to get a better deal from our energy providers. But it’s not that simple for us Western Australians. Most of us are part of the South West Interconnected System (SWIS). While some SWIS customers may have the option to change their electricity provider, customers that live outside the SWIS do not. Within the SWIS, customers fall into one of two categories: contestable or non-contestable. Contestable customers can choose their electricity retailer, while non-contestable customers can’t and are supplied by Synergy. Non-contestable customers are electricity consumers with an annual electricity usage below 50-megawatt hours. And as the majority of households don’t cross the 50-megawatt electricity threshold, that’s most of us. So, if you want to reduce what you pay for electricity, ultimately you need to look at renewable energy options as your alternative to the government-set electricity tariffs.
5. Explore renewable energy solutions
Solar panels will trim down how much you pay for power. But if you team your panels up with a solar battery, it’s a game-changer. Not only will you save costs and the environment you’ll also avoid the misery of blackouts. With Plico Energy’s solar panel and battery inverter system, you can create your own energy to power your home day and night.
For more information, see Does Solar Work in Winter?
If the upfront cost of a solar energy system is a stumbling block stopping you from choosing solar, it’s not an issue with Plico Energy. We offer you a fully serviced and maintained high-quality solar energy system for an affordable weekly fee. Simply check how much you will save by switching to Plico Energy’s solar solution using our handy calculator and give us a call on 1300 175 426. We can help you take things from there.
1 Selectra. 2021. Average Electricity Bill in Australia 2021: Cost of Electricity and Gas by State. [ONLINE] Available at: https://selectra.com.au/energy/guides/billing/average-usage.