How to safely save on energy when things hit a peak

Here are some easy ways to change your behaviour and reduce your energy usage in peak periods without compromising your standard of living.

7 min read
Like the idea of giving your community a helping hand? Here’s how to do your bit to ensure there’s enough energy to go around. Plus, you could also save on your energy bills too.

Heard of peak energy times? It’s that time of day when the homes in your community use the most electricity, and it can put a real strain on the energy grid. To help reduce energy consumption at these times, we’re offering Peak Energy Rewards, a program which rewards you for using less electricity during these specific peak event periods.

Think of a hot summer afternoon. Home from work for the day, people crank up the air con, flick on lights, turn on TVs, open fridges and switch on ovens. All this activity puts pressure on the electricity grid.

If you are healthy, able, and wish to participate in a peak event, you can help reduce the pressure on the local electricity grid by making a few simple changes during peak periods. If everyone pitches in, then the entire community benefits and could avoid a lights-out event.

And the best bit? If you sign up to AGL Peak Energy Rewards and hit the targets during set peak events, you can get rewarded with energy credits that result in savings off your next electricity bill.

When our SMS comes through, plan your energy-detox arvo

There’s no guesswork involved when a peak electricity event is about to hit. Rather, you get a heads-up text message from AGL beforehand, telling you exactly when you will be rewarded by reducing your electricity consumption.*

Say it’s from 2pm to 4pm this afternoon. What can you do around the house to ensure that you use as little electricity as possible during those two hours? What can you safely switch off and still maintain comfort for you and others in the house? What energy-guzzling activities can you put off until later?

Let’s take a look at easy ways to change your behaviour and reduce your energy usage in peak periods without compromising your standard of living.

Cool things down, naturally

Consider switching off the air con at times during peak periods. In the average Aussie home, heating and cooling account for 40% of household energy use.

If you’re able to, instead of using the air con, try to keep your house cool by closing windows and curtains (or, if a cool breeze is blowing, then throw those windows wide open and enjoy the fresh air).

The best way to start cooling your home is before the peak event. That way, you are using non-peak electricity and your home is already cool before the peak event period starts. This means that you may be able to turn your air con off and rely on fans to keep you cool during this period.

If things are too hot to handle, sit in front of a fan with a cold flannel on your neck. Or use your fan to move the cooler air around – a simple fan can make you feel up to 3°C cooler. It also uses a fraction of the energy that air conditioning does.

If the heat is unbearable and air conditioning is a must, then to try make sure the thermostat is set no lower than 24°- 26°C. Remember that you could save up to 10% of energy usage for each degree that you turn up the thermostat. And don’t forget Eco mode, which does the energy-saving for you by boosting the fan speed but not increasing the temperature.

Put the chores on hold

Many household chores use up electricity. A load of washing. Roasting vegetables. Vacuuming. Think of your text from AGL as an excuse to put your feet up during the peak event – or at least tick off the tasks that don’t use any electricity.

As well as doing your bit to reduce the load on the electricity grid during peak times, changing when you do some chores could help you save on your energy bills. If you’ve signed up to a time-of-use tariff on your energy bill – which has different rates at different times of the day – then get into the habit of doing your laundry and turning on the dishwasher when rates are lower.

Switch off standby mode

How many appliances around your home are plugged in and on standby? Computers, TVs, gaming consoles, phone chargers and more can all drain electricity, even when they’re not technically being used. Before a peak event, scoot around and switch things off at the wall. Leaving things switched off could help you save on your energy bills, too.

Another option is to invest in energy-saving smart powerboards, which automatically sense when a device is in standby mode and cuts power to that device and other devices also plugged into it.

Head outside

One of the easiest ways to reduce your energy consumption at home is to leave the house. If it works for you, turn off the TV, turn off standby, switch off the lights and air con, and go outside.

Whether you’re going for a walk, going shopping or going to kick a ball in the park, heading out not only saves energy but it’s a great endorphin boost. Plus, it helps you meet your daily target of 30 minutes of exercise, recommended by the experts to keep you healthy.

Even heading out into your own backyard to enjoy the shade during the two-hour peak event can help you save. Just remember that electric gardening tools might increase your energy usage – do some weeding or tend your vegetable garden instead.

Keep track of where you’re at

To help you stay in control of how much energy you’re using, we’re here to help with tools like Energy Insights, smart data and meter reads. And, for personalised tips on how you can reduce your home’s overall energy consumption – not just during peak events – take this short quiz.

It’s all about becoming more aware of when and how much energy you use at home, so you can take proactive steps to reduce your electricity consumption when it matters most.

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Do you want to save more on your home energy bill?

AGL's Peak Energy Rewards program can reward you with bill credits for reducing your home energy use during peak times.

Learn more