How can I reduce my energy costs when prices keep going up?

What’s the Problem?

In the last decade, retail electricity prices have leapt far above inflation, increasing by as much as 106 per cent. In some states, prices have soared by as much as 135 per cent and have now reached historical highs.

What is even more perplexing are the reasons behind these skyrocketing prices. According to all indicators, we have an abundant supply of energy and high energy productivity - our energy production last year was 3 times energy consumption and energy productivity has increased by 28 per cent over the past 15 years. Renewables are also getting cheaper as clean technology has made rapid advances. Some projections even put the price of renewables as cheaper than coal.                                                                                  

While most of us have to accommodate to the surge in electricity prices, the poorest will find it hardest to adapt. Energy is an economic and social necessity that every household has to use irrespective of income. Such pressures around price and ability to pay are being felt most by low-income and disadvantaged households experiencing energy stress in a variety of ways, each with significant implications for their health and well-being.

What are your ideas on how we can reduce our energy costs?

Key Facts

  • The national average household power bill has increased from $978 a year in 2006 to $2019 this year.
  • In 2015/16, around 160,000 households were disconnected for non-payment of their electricity or gas bill, up approximately 47 per cent since 2009/10.
  • Single parents have been found to be most likely to seek emergency assistance to help pay for their energy costs.
  • Compared to middle and high-income households who spend around 2.5 per cent of their income on electricity, low income households spend a much bigger proportion of their income on electricity (6.9 per cent), even though their consumption is much lower. That is, low income families are spending more of their income for less energy.
  • 8 per cent of low-income households in NSW had not use any heating, or limited their heating to a single room to reduce their energy usage. Nearly 50 per cent lived in households with children.
  • The top energy-sucking appliances in the home are (1) the heating/cooling system (2) the clothes dryer/water heater and (3) the refrigerator. Consider heating your water with solar power and insulating your house to reduce costs.
  • Getting rid of old appliances and choosing energy-efficient appliances is also a good way to save energy. A second fridge (aka the ‘beer fridge’) is an Aussie must, but can also be costing you hundreds of dollars, especially when it is sitting in the garage when it hits 50℃ in summer. To find the most efficient appliances for your needs, check out consumer websites like CHOICE.
  • One easy way that renters can be more energy efficient is to wash your laundry with cold water whenever possible. Hot water heating accounts for about 90 percent of the energy your machine uses to wash clothes. This link provides other energy saving tips for renters.
  • For more ways you can reduce your energy consumption and reduce energy costs, please visit this site.

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