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Tips to Lower Your Electricity Bill Year-Round

Updated: Sep 3

Simple ways that can significantly lower your electric bills.

Electric bills account for a considerable chunk of household budgets. While several factors influence these rates, consumers can take active steps to reduce the amount and reclaim control. From everyday adjustments to major renovations, here’s how to lower that electricity bill all year round.

Monitor Usage with A Smart Meter

As the saying goes, what is measured can be managed. So, to reduce that electricity bill, start by monitoring consumption.

If the household still uses a traditional meter, consider asking a local electrician to a smart meter. A smart meter sends real-time information directly to the energy supplier, eliminating “estimated” bills. More importantly, smart meters allow households to track real-time energy usage. As a result, homeowners can see for themselves the running cost and deduce the offending appliances.

However, keep in mind that switching to a smart meter does not automatically translate to savings. It’s only a tool that can help a household better understand what goes into that final figure. Homeowners still have to make smarter energy choices based on the information they have. Whether it’s practising mindful consumption or embracing low-cost appliances, a meter only provides the starting point.

There is another advantage to smart meters. Since they capture energy usage throughout the day, some suppliers may also offer cheaper rates under certain conditions. They may reward a household that consumes energy during off-peak hours. For example, running the washing machine and doing the laundry at night may translate to some savings.

Identify the Top Culprits

Most households have three main offenders that drive their electric bills up: Hot water, refrigerator, and air conditioner. These three are often the biggest sources of energy use in typical Australian households. Fortunately, upgrading to more efficient versions and changing consumption habits can significantly impact the final amount.

Hot Water

What system does the household have in place to heat water? If the family still uses an electric storage system, consider switching to a solar or heat pump heater. This transition can translate to significant savings, especially during winter.

Refrigerator

How old is the fridge? If it’s more than 10 years old, it’s time to buy an energy-efficient one. These appliances work non-stop and consume a huge chunk of energy. Moreover, older models tend to consume more energy than modern models in the market. In purchasing major appliances, make sure to check for Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS). A general rule of thumb: The more stars, the better.

Air Conditioner and Heater

Consider investing in a reverse-cycle air conditioner. This unit can cool and warm the home as needed. Unlike portable heaters, a reverse-cycle system can heat an entire room more efficiently during winter.

During summer, ensure to set the air conditioner at around the 24 to 25ºC range. This should be enough to cool the room. If the thermostat is set too low, it may have to work overtime to achieve the desired temperature. A household saves about 10% on energy usage with each 1°C increase on the thermostat setting.

Start with the above three offenders. Once done, look at other components of the electric bill and make the necessary changes:

  • Standby power

  • Lighting

  • Entertainment systems

  • Computers

  • Pools

Compare Electricity Providers

For those who have the option of choosing their electricity retailer, it’s good practice to compare providers. Even if there’s only one retailer in the area, households can still select from several energy contracts.

Make sure to check out Energy Made Easy, an energy price comparison platform produced by the Australian government. Homeowners and small businesses can compare electricity and gas contracts using this service. It provides an estimate of annual energy costs under each contract. Energy Made Easy also outlines average electricity usage for a household in each area.

Some contracts may reward a household for moving their energy use away from peak times, but make sure that the contract suits the household’s needs. Otherwise, it may end up being more of a hassle than a benefit.

Consider Switching to Solar

While the upfront cost may be steep, switching to solar still makes economic sense in the long run. If a household produces its own energy, it doesn’t need to buy as much power. This translates to massive savings and even extra cash if homeowners can sell excess energy to the grid.

Once installed, a Photovoltaic (PV) solar system should work like a charm.

There is no special care required for solar panels - the only maintenance is removing dirt and dust every now and then from the surfaces.

Unplug Appliances When Not in Use

While it may be convenient to keep appliances plugged in, this practice can still eat up energy. For example, appliances like refrigerators and computers continue running even after being turned off. These costs may be negligible at first but can stack up over time.

It’s good practice to unplug appliances when not in use, build the habit and teach other members of the household. This way, a household not only reduces their electricity bills but also the risk of power surges.

Ask an Electrician

While households can take certain steps to reduce energy use, it’s also best to check in with a professional electrician, such as Real Electrical Solutions in Newcastle, NSW. An experienced electrician can inspect residential electrical systems and make recommendations. Having an informed eye to inspect the place can prevent the need for costly repairs later on.

Make it a point to have an electrician come over during winter. A winter electrical inspection may cover:

  • Identifying electrical hazards.

  • Inspecting wiring for signs of damage.

  • Testing power points and safety switches.

  • Examining the power box.

  • Checking smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

  • Finding and correcting electrical mistakes of contractors and previous homeowners.

Contact Real Electrical Solutions for detailed advice!

For personalised advice on reducing electric consumption, ask the experts at Real Electrical Solutions. Our ASP Level-2 electricians can inspect homes and identify energy hot spots. Then, depending on our assessment, we can offer detailed advice on reducing that electricity bill – at any time of the year!

Households and businesses can also trust our team to come to their aid during emergencies. Our after-hours electricians will get your power up and running in no time.

For inquiries, call 0403306842 or email admin@realelectricalsolutions.com.au. We look forward to hearing from you!