Keep your cool and avoid a red-hot power bill
With a long hot summer likely for most Queenslanders this year, many households may be in danger of being hit with a red-hot power bill at the end of the season.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Energy and Water Ombudsman Jane Pires says there are some simple ways to save energy, keep your cool and reduce your power bill this summer.
“Simple actions like turning the light off when you leave a room and hanging your washing on the line to dry in the sun rather than in the dryer make a big difference to the amount of electricity you use,” she said.
“Appliances like TVs, gaming consoles and computers are still using power and adding to your energy bill when they are in standby or sleep mode so switch them off at the wall when not in use to prevent unnecessary energy usage. Just getting the kids to turn the gaming console off at the wall can save you up to $193 a year.”
It’s no secret that air conditioning is one of the biggest users of electricity in the home, but there are ways to be smart about your home cooling to keep your bills down.
“Aim for a constant and reasonable temperature in your home. Set your air conditioner to an energy efficient 24°C or above and be sure to close doors, windows and curtains to cool rooms quicker and keep them at a comfortable temperature for longer.
“Only use your air conditioner on particularly hot or humid days and consider using a fan instead in some rooms. Keep your air conditioner well maintained as a dirty unit will be forced to work harder, so remember to clean your dust filters regularly.”
Another area where maintenance matters is when it comes to your fridge and freezer.
“Worn seals on your fridge and freezer can let cold air escape, so if your ice cream is softer than it should be, check if your seals need replacing to keep the temperature and your power bills down.
“Also consider whether your household needs that second fridge. If it’s on all year just to be used for festive drinks, an esky might be a better choice. This can save you up to $172 a year.”
Ms Pires said while festive lighting provided much joy at this time of year, older style lights can be a burden on the hip pocket when the next power bill arrives.
“LED festive lights use less electricity and last for longer than old incandescent bulbs. Start by replacing one light strand at a time to avoid sacrificing your wallet. Solar options will save you even more.
“Using automatic timers on festive light displays will avoid them being inadvertently left on longer than intended.
“Switching lights within your home can also add to the savings. Replace any old light fittings with LEDs and you can save around $16 a year per light bulb.”
For those who want to keep track of their summer energy use, digital meters are a great way to monitor the impact of your energy saving efforts.
“Those homeowners with digital meters have access to mobile apps to track their energy use. If you are unsure if you have a digital meter or you are interested in having one installed, chat to your electricity provider.”
Ms Pires said If consumers are worried about affording their summer energy bills, the best thing they can do is get in touch with their electricity provider to discuss the options available.
“Electricity providers can help their customers with payment plans or extensions and any rebates or concessions they may be entitled to,” she said.
“If they’re not happy with the outcome or need further support, contact us to make a complaint. We provide a free, fair and independent dispute resolution service for unresolved complaints with electricity and gas providers across Queensland and water suppliers in South-East Queensland.”