There’s no easy way to talk about the state of household expenses for the next 6 – 18 months. The reality is that energy usage may go up by around 50% as the need to self-isolate increases and working from home becomes the norm.
Whether it’s due to greater use of kitchen appliances or running one (or two) home office setups, households will be forced to be smarter with their usage and actively build a long term energy plan that’s sustainable and reliable.
In these uncertain times, it’s understandable to want some form of control and with a couple of tips, you can protect your energy supply & get closer to a more affordable expense for your budget. So if you’re tired of stressing over your hefty energy bills, book in a call with a solar consultant to see if you can switch to solar.
Otherwise, here are 5 expert tips for saving money on your bills during an economic downturn as seen on the Channel 9 Today Show (link to full video is here):
1. Make energy-saving ‘hacks’ a habit
We’ve all had a go at building new habits. Experts say it takes as little as 18 days to adopt a new type of behaviour which is optimistic for those who want to switch up how they use power and save on their bills.
As a first step, identify and inspect your heavy energy usage items:
- Dial back the use of your air conditioner. Let the sun heat your house for free by closing curtains/blinds to keep the heat out in the summer and in during winter.
- Keep electronics off and unplugged when you’re not using them, especially those you use at night and will need to switch off/unplug before bed.
- Charge your phone faster and with greater energy efficiency in aeroplane mode
- Use LED lights wherever possible
- Next up, inspect your home office setup for potential energy wastage:
- Use a laptop instead of a desktop
- Swap out your screensaver for sleep mode on your laptop
- Use a desk lamp instead of a whole room full of lights
Last (but definitely not least), check out your kitchen appliances. It’s a hotspot for items that are pricey to run and now that many will have more time to cook/meal prep, it’s a perfect opportunity to make smarter energy swaps;
- Keeping a fridge or freezer that is full rather closer to empty is ideal. This is not an invitation to panic buy but rather a reminder that if you plan ahead, stocking up appropriately can keep your energy usage down.
- If you have a small pantry, staples such as flour, dried herbs and nuts can be refrigerated to extend shelf life.
- A two-step energy hack is using a slow cooker to cook a big meal, then portion it out and use a microwave to reheat. Both appliances are less energy-intensive than electric ovens and stovetops. The added bonus is slow cookers usually double as a heat source, keeping the home cosy on cooler days.
2. Master the finer details of your energy bill
There is a lot of jargon in energy bills that can become confusing. When trying to save money on energy, it’s important to go through the bill to understand exactly what you are being charged for. To summarise:
- The daily charge refers to how much you’re being charged for connection to the grid.
- The energy rate is the price per kilowatt, per hour or unit of electricity.
If you are a low energy user, focus on getting a good daily charge. If you’re a high energy user, focus on getting a low energy rate as that’s where most of your bill is coming from. If you have solar panels, it’s good to familiarise yourself with the solar feed-in tariff. This is the credit you get back for sending power to the grid and while it’s usually pretty low, it can help if you’re having trouble deciding between two retailers.
3. Be prepared for potential negotiations with your energy supplier
In recent weeks, stories of hoarding and panic buying at supermarkets have filled our news feeds and entertained meme culture but they have made a really strong point about how people are ‘prepping’ for the short term impacts of social distancing. Soon enough, competitor comparisons and negotiations over your energy bill or the payment terms will come into the ‘prepping’ equation of long-term household budgeting.
As a general rule, it’s recommended that those on standard or market energy contracts reach out to their energy provider to talk about potential savings. In the current landscape, you could expect to save anywhere between 5 – 10% through switching retailers.
By doing some research, staying up-to-date with competitor offers and keeping an open mind about the scope of energy options out there, you’ll be armed with the right knowledge to ask for a discount or alternatively, overhaul your energy setup.
4. Know your blackout risk and protect your energy access
Australia’s energy network is centralised which means that our power is generated at a few main sites and reaches us via major powerlines. If something were to happen to these lines, households would be left in the dark without access to basic necessities.
Residential solar and batteries are one of the most effective ways to protect your access to energy and save around 90% or more on your electricity bills. Every household wants an energy source that is free from the inconvenience of disruption and in reality, harvesting your own supply (and becoming energy self-sufficient) is the best way to keep you covered.
Here’s how a solar + battery setup can benefit you during our current situation:
- Keeping your household productive and uninterrupted during working from home hours
- Providing power to ‘always on’ food appliances such as refrigerators and freezers, keeping food fresh and cold
- Providing power for everyday appliances throughout the home from lights to washing machines
- Building energy confidence – knowing that even if a blackout were to happen – you’ll still have access to fresh food, lights, and the ability to work from home.
5. Consider a long-term solution with solar panels & batteries
More than just a nice-to-have, a good solar solution provides a steady stream of savings, greater predictability for energy bills and complete confidence that you have secured your household’s future with a power source you can rely on.
We’re living in a time of uncertainty and there’s likely to be many unknowns for Australian households in the months to come. We think energy doesn’t have to be one of them. By choosing panels & batteries, you’re investing in a future of affordable bills and a stable energy supply. At ShineHub, you can cut your bills up to 90% or more and never worry about electricity bills again. Book a consultation to speak to an expert today!