How to take control of your energy
Energy bills can be a source of unexpected surprises. Here’s how tools like live data and DIY meter reads are helping to make things clearer.
Here are some tools you can use to get a clearer picture of your energy usage and how to lower it.
Got a smart meter? Get more detailed Energy Insights
If you’re an AGL electricity customer in Victoria with a residential smart meter and you’re subscribed to e-billing, you’ll automatically receive an Energy Insights report a couple of days after your bill lands.
The Energy Insights report is generated using algorithms and statistical data to provide you with an estimated breakdown of your energy usage across up to 12 categories:
- Electric hot water
- Laundry and dishwasher
- Fridges and freezers
- Home entertainment
- Pool pump
- Standby power
- Electric vehicle
- Anything else
Importantly, the Energy Insights report calls out actionable and tailored tips to help you reduce your energy usage. It also includes contextual information, like the weather at the time of your usage, as well as a comparison to previous bills and similar residences in your area.
Find out more about Energy Insights and how to set up your Home Profile for a more accurate energy breakdown.
Some top power saving tips
While there’s no silver bullet solution for cutting your bills in half, there are a few things you can do that will have an accumulative effect on your power use.
Appliances on standby – like phone chargers, computers, and TVs that aren’t in use – can account for up to 10% of your household electricity use. Turn appliances off at the switch or use smart powerboards which turn off multiple devices at once instead.
The optimal household temperature is between 18 – 20°C in winter and 24 – 27⁰C in summer. Every degree above or below this range, depending on the season, can add an extra 10% to your heating or cooling bill. So think twice before reaching for the thermostat.
The time when you use your appliances can also make a big difference. Some people are on tariffs that charge different prices at different times of the day (you can check this on your bill). For people who pay less for energy at a certain time, it can pay to use appliances like washing machine, dryers and dishwashers at that time.
Home Energy Efficiency Guide
Want more tips? Download AGL’s guide for more ways to help make a real difference to your home's energy bills.Download now
What if you just have a basic meter?
If you have a basic meter – i.e. an analogue one, not a smart meter – it’s possible you’ve received a bill based on an estimate at some time.
Bills are only ever estimated to calculate energy consumption in two situations. One is if it’s not been possible to collect a physical read from your meter. This might be because your meter’s been installed indoors, is behind a locked gate or it’s guarded by the family dog.
The other is if you receive your bills monthly. This is because your distributor (the company who manages the powerlines and pipelines) only provides your energy provider with a physical read every two or three months.
How are estimates calculated?
To make sure you’re billed as accurately as possible, AGL bases usage estimates on previous periods, or if you’re a new customer, a state average.
If a physical meter read then shows your usage has been overestimated, the balance will be returned as a credit to your account. If it’s been underestimated, your next bill will be adjusted accordingly to reflect the total amount owed.
How Self Service Meter Reads ensure you’re getting accurate bills
While estimates are delivered with a fair degree of accuracy, doing a Self Service Meter Read gives you more control over the accuracy of your gas and electricity bills. Plus by taking the read yourself, you don’t need to worry about any surprises from your next bill.
Here’s how it works:
- If you’re a monthly billing customer, you’ll automatically be sent an SMS to remind you to provide a meter reading.
- Enter your meter read into the AGL app or My Account online and submit it.
- If it’s submitted within two days of your billing date, you’ll be issued a bill based on what you’ve entered – no adjustments necessary.
Not only that, but by submitting your meter read you can get usage updates and projected bill information at any point in your billing cycle. This is particularly useful for monitoring how you’re tracking when your energy usage tends to be highest, like the middle of summer when you want a cooler house or while heating it during chilly winters.