Four tips to avoid bill shock this winter
Did you know that in the eastern and southern states, energy bills are often highest during winter? Avoid bill shock with these simple energy saving tips.
There’s no better feeling than cosying up on the couch with a cuppa and making your space warm to get through the cold winters. However, as the temperature takes a turn down south, our household energy consumption begins to rise. New Australian Energy Council data shows that winter electricity bills can be more than $200 higher than in summer, depending on where you live.
While energy use may fluctuate through different seasons, it’s also important to realise the additional benefits from adopting energy efficiency practices. Here are some helpful tips to help you save more this winter.
Now that you know winter bills can increase on an average of $200 a month, depending on your state, you can look at your budget and start to think of savvy ways to save:
- Set a savings goal. By using a budget planning tool, you can work out how much you need to regularly set aside to reach your savings goal. Think of cheaper alternatives to your favourite entertainment options. If you want to have a movie night, consider streaming playback TV, Netflix or Stan and stay in instead.
- Make a list of the items you need from the grocery store to stop you buying excess and keep the costs to a minimum.
According to energy.gov, heating and/or cooling can account for 20% to 50% of energy used in Australian homes. Here’re a couple of tips to help you save:
- Understand the factors affecting your heating costs. This includes the area being heated, how well your house is insulated, your thermostat settings, the amount of time the heating is on, your local climate and your energy tariffs.
- Set your heating to around 19 degrees – it is estimated that every degree above 20 degrees can add 10% to your energy bill.
- Only heat the rooms you’re in or use a blanket and rug up before turning on the heating.
- Choose the most energy-efficient appliances that best suit your needs.
Laundry can be one of the costliest chores. Since most of us do at least a few loads of laundry each week, it’s worth taking steps to reduce energy use.
- Avoid peak electricity rates by putting your washing on during off-peak tariff times (if you’re on a time of use tariff).
- Use washing machines and dishwashers when they’re full and set the most appropriate cycle (not just the longest one each time).
- Use cold water to wash clothes where you can, as this helps to reduce energy usage by not heating the water.
- Use an ENERGY STAR-certified washer and dryer. New ENERGY STAR washers use about 25% less energy than conventional models, and ENERGY STAR dryers can use 20% less energy.
Insulation acts as a barrier to heat flow and is essential for keeping your home warm in winter. A well-insulated and well-designed home can provide year-round comfort and reduce heating and cooling bills.
- Deal with draughts. Stop draughty doors with adhesive strips, or even bolsters. Making your own door snake is also a fun winter project.
- Up to 40% of heating energy can be lost through your windows, so close the curtains and blinds as the sun goes down. If possible, install curtains or blinds with a high insulation value, e.g. with rubber backing or with high fibre content.
- Thick rugs can assist to retain some of the heat in your home, particularly if you have hard floors.
- Rug up! Dress for colder weather and layer up with coats and blankets to stay warm.
Talk to your energy provider
If you haven’t looked at your Energy Plan for a number of years, you might like to investigate your plan and see if you’re eligible for a better deal with your provider.
If you’re unsure about anything on your energy bill, or even anticipating bill stress, having a conversation about it with your provider will help. No one will be disconnected if they are talking to their provider about overdue bills or if they need a re-payment plan. In fact, at AGL we have many options to make sure customers are supported, stay connected and stay warm this winter.