Don’t be shocked by high electricity costs in winter

WITH the colder weather now on our doorstep, Energy and Water Ombudsman Forbes Smith is reminding Queenslanders to watch their energy consumption during the cooler months.

"Many people contact the Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland (EWOQ) for assistance with high energy bills, especially after a cold winter," Mr Smith said.

"It's important to stay comfortable during a cold winter but it's equally as important to keep costs down for you and your family."

Mr Smith said the increased use of heaters or gas for heating hot water during these months can significantly increase energy bills, which could bring an unwelcome surprise at the end of the billing cycle.

"The last thing you want is a nasty shock at the end of the season when you open your electricity or gas bill," he said.

"Ensure you check your appliances for damage as faulty, old and inefficient appliances can cause a significant increase in the total amount of energy used in your home or business.

"A licensed electrical contractor can check your appliances for faults if you believe there is a problem.

"Other ways to help reduce your energy bills include replacing worn or damaged fridge seals, using energy-efficient light bulbs, turning appliances you are not using off at the wall, insulating walls and ceilings and only using washing machines, dryers and dishwashers at full capacity.

"Also, remember to set your air conditioner to an energy-efficient 18°C in winter and seal gaps and close doors, windows and curtains to heat rooms quicker and keep them at a comfortable temperature for longer."

Mr Smith said people often underestimated how much energy they use at home.

"On average, one family could save over $170 on their energy bill per year if they use a clothes line to dry their clothes rather than the dryer for five loads a week.*

"People also forget that household appliances use significant amounts of electricity in standby mode - when the appliance is not in use but is still turned on at the wall. So if you're not using it, turn it off at the wall where practical."

*According to the online energy savings calculator with the following factors: Clothes dryer unit size: 5 kg 2400 watts, Minutes per load: 60, Loads per week: 5 Days, per year: 365 days.

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