Alexandra Cain Finance Writer
It’s winter, the time of year when we stay cosy inside and batten down the hatches. It’s also the time of year when our energy bills tend to rise as we spend more time with the heater on, cooking and using more water. But there are plenty of steps you can take to save on your power costs in the cooler months.
1. Go back to basics
It’s all too easy at this time of year to switch the heater on without being mindful of other easy steps you can take to keep warm. Put another layer of clothing on and use blankets when you’re relaxing on the couch. Then, when you turn the thermostat down on your heater – which can produce substantial cost savings – you won’t feel the difference compared to when it was on a higher setting. And don’t forget to change the lint filter on your heaters to make sure they are working in the most efficient way.
2. Avoid the ‘vampire power’ trap
Vampire power is the power you waste by leaving appliances and electrical devices on at the switch or on power save mode. Make sure you and your family members make a habit of turning everything off at the point and power down laptops and computers every night to avoid wasting excess power.
3. Use your off peak power
If you haven’t already switched to off peak power, now is the time to do so. Off peak power means you pay a lower rate during certain hours, usually through the night. Once you have switched to off peak power, use it. So don’t run the dishwasher, washing machine or dryer – if you have to use a dryer – during peak times. Only use them when the power has switched to off peak.
4. Don’t waste water
A huge part of your power bills can be attributed to hot water and there are lots of things you can do to reduce your use. Make a family commitment to keeping showers to two minutes. You can keep an egg timer in the shower so you can time your usage. Washing clothes only in cold water is another great tip, as is making sure your dishwasher cycle is as short as it can be.
5. Shop around
Don’t assume your existing energy provider is offering you the best deal available. Every year, it’s worth looking at price comparison web sites to check which provider is offering the best rates. You can use this as a negotiating point with your existing supplier, or you can just switch, given there are no barriers to changing your power provider.
Saving money on your power bills is all about paying attention to detail and being consistent. Every little bit counts, so make sure you and your family are all committed to saving as much power as possible, not just for the back pocket benefits, but also so you’re doing your bit for the environment as well.
About the author
Alexandra Cain is a finance journalist who contributes regularly to The Australian Financial Review, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
Please note that this article is not financial product advice and does not take into account any person’s individual objectives, financial circumstances or needs.