ELECTRICITY prices are only going in one direction, and they are moving fast.
But next time you open a power bill which floors you, consider that you can do something about it.
And I don't mean just installing solar - which is a great thing for reducing power bills over four to seven years, but it only applies to home owners.
Here's a comprehensive list of things to cut your bill pretty much immediately.
Get a better deal (and how to do it)
Many people have "given up" on getting a better electricity deal according to a recent report because it's so damn confusing. Instead, they are just paying more, much more.
It's actually easy to get a better deal.
Just call up a retailer, tell them how much your electricity bill was in a given period, and ask them what their best price would be for exactly the same bill.
If you want to simplify things, just phone the big ones: AGL, Origin, and Energy Australia.
- Ignore "per cent off" offers, just ask them how much their bill would have been compared to your current retailer. (Some retailers offer alluring high percentage discounts, but their tariffs are higher so it might only mean half of what they are promising).
- If you are using a winter bill as an example, make sure you tell them the number of days in each financial year, because the rates go up every July 1.
- Be ruthless about it. The retailers don't care about you, it's a numbers game. Pit one against another.
- Pay on time. Most of the best deals only work when you pay on time. Organise a direct debit and put the money away for your bill in advance. This is critical.
- Most deals only last for one year. That means you MUST renegotiate a new deal before you get your fifth bill. Put it in the calendar.
Remember, don't give these extremely profitable companies the pleasure of charging you a standing rate.
You're a number to them, so make them a number too. There is no loyalty in this game - they are only loyal to their shareholders.
If you do want to be loyal to someone, try Enova Energy, the Northern Rivers' own local retailer.
Reduce your consumption (and how to do it)
1. Heating and cooling are the biggest drivers of power usage. In summer, use your air conditioner on the dehumidify setting, or don't use it unless in emergencies. Be frugal with heating in winter and rug up first.
2. Use a slow cooker instead of an oven. Cut down on your oven usage and you WILL notice the difference.
3. Use only cold water laundry cycle except on special occasions. Hot or warm water cycles can send you power bill skyrocketing.
4. Time your showers. If you cut your shower time by a minute, it adds up to a lot.
5. If you have a dishwasher, use only the eco cycle most of the time. This is like reducing your shower time but even more effective.
6. Replace all your old globes with LED lights, or fluoro lights if you can't get LEDs for the fixture. They are more expensive, but you will notice the difference on your bill immediately.
7. Get to know you watts from your kilowatt hours by buying a power monitor. There are two main types, plugin ones, and ones that attach to your meter.
The latter are superior as you can measure hardwired appliances, but not all households can install them.
These are absolutely worth the investment, as they give you a window into how expensive your appliances are.
Saving power is like saving money. There's few big items you can cut, but mostly it's a little bit here and there that adds up to a lot.
Make it a challenge! You will be rewarded.