If your household budget is getting squeezed due to the rising cost of living prices, here’s some help. Here at Newy with Kids, we understand about the cost of living pressure and have put together a guide on how you can reduce the cost of your household utilities.
Power bills are set to surge due to a global energy crisis. The Australian Energy Regulator has confirmed that from 1 July 2022, households and businesses would face higher prices as the prices for “default market offers” will increase in NSW, Queensland South Australia. Default offers are the prices charged for customers who aren’t on special deals with their utility provider.
Here are some useful tips to reduce energy use and slash power bills. This includes your household electricity, gas and water bills.
Check the Energy Made Easier website
Energy Made Easy is a free Australian Government energy price comparison service for households and small businesses in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory, that can be used to find and compare home and small business electricity and gas plans.
Have a recent power bill available, and answer questions about your household and energy usage. You’ll receive information and costs of energy plans from different retailers. You can compare electricity and gas plans to find the cheapest plan for your family.
Call your utility provider
Call your electricity provider and see what specials they can give you. You don’t want to be on a default market offer. Do the same for natural gas. If you find a better utility service through the Energy Made Easy website, contact your current provider and see if they will match it or do better. If they can’t, then check any fees that would apply if you leave.
Switch off your appliances
Unplug or switch your appliances off at the wall at night or when you’re not using them. Electrical appliances draw in a certain amount of power when they’re on standby which you end up paying for, even if you’re not aware of it.
Check energy ratings
Check the energy rating when you’re buying a new appliance such as a fridge, TV, washing machine or dishwasher. This will help you find the most efficient products and save you money in the long run.
Don’t use your oven for small meals
If possible, use an electric frypan, toaster oven, pressure cooker or microwave oven as an alternative to traditional electric ovens—they use a lot less energy.
Use energy-efficient light globes
Switch to energy-efficient light globes such as LED lights as an alternative to general lighting and avoid halogen downlights.
Switch off lights
Turn off lights that you’re not using. Get into the habit of switching off lights as you leave a room.
Wear more clothes in winter
Reduce your use of heating during the winter. Instead, put on additional layers of clothing when you’re at home.
Only heat selected rooms
In winter time, only heat the rooms that you’ll use the most and close the door to keep the heat in. If your living room and kitchen are adjoining, use your oven to cook a meal and at the same time, heat the living room.
Using curtains can help to keep the heat in your house and not feel cold draughts.
Keep out draughts
Insulate your house
If you’re a home owner, consider insulating your home. This will keep heat inside the home in winter and outside the home in summer. You can install roof and ceiling insulation to save on heating and cooling costs.
Don’t use Thaw function
Thaw out meat and other frozen meals overnight. Don’t use the thaw function on the microwave unless you absolutely need to.
Use pot lids
Keep a lid on your pot when cooking. Not only does food cook faster, but this also reduces the amount of time and energy used.
Adjust your fridge temperature
Set the temperature of your fridge to between 3 and 5°C, and your freezer to -15 to -18°C. A change of one degree can impact energy consumption by up to five per cent. Don’t leave the fridge door open longer than needed.
Check your fridge seal
Use a piece of paper to check your fridge seal is airtight. If the paper slips out from between the seal and the door, you could be losing a lot of cold. Replace the seals to prevent wasting energy.
Cover your food
Cover liquids and wrap up foods that are stored in the refrigerator. Uncovered foods release moisture and make the fridge compressor work harder to cool the air.
Turn off the other fridge
Turn off second fridges and freezers when they aren’t needed to reduce running costs.
Use sleep mode
Put computers or laptops on sleep mode when they’re not in use, instead of leaving on.
Charge your smartphone away from your home as much as possible. Plug it in at work or at the library.
Reduce airconditioner use
Reduce your use of air conditioning in the summer if that’s possible. Instead, open windows to get a breeze (if there is one) or use fans which use a lot less energy. If you do have to use your air conditioner, only use it one room and keep doors closed.
Close blinds and curtains in summer
On a hot day, close your blinds or draw the curtains to keep the heat out. It can make a massive difference in the temperature of the room.
Choose energy saving appliances
Upgrade your appliances to be energy-savings. Check the energy rating on the appliance before purchase.
Take shorter showers
Save money on your water and heating bill by having shorter showers (less than 5 minutes). Not only does it reduce the cost of heating but also you pay less in water usage.
Set water temperature
Set the temperature in your hot water system to 50 degrees Celcius.
Save water using low-flow showheads
Invest in water-saving showerheads to lessen your water usage.
Use the half flush
Use less water when you flush your toilet by using the half flush.
Choose an optimal load
Only run the washing machine on full load. Or if your machine has a load adjustment, adjust it to use the optimal amount of water and power.
Wash with cold water
Use cold water to wash your clothes. Today’s laundry detergents work well using cold temperatures.
Dry outdoors or undercover
Minimise the use of your clothes dryer to reduce your electricity bill. Instead, use outside clotheslines or indoor drying racks.
Check government rebates
See if you qualify for the New South Wales Family Energy Rebate. The Family Energy Rebate (FER) helps NSW family households with dependent children to cover the costs of their energy bills. The FER is available to applicants who were eligible for and received the Family Tax Benefit (FTB) from the Department of Human Services (DHS) in the previous financial year.
You can also apply for the NSW Energy Accounts Payment Assistance (EAPA) vouchers. If you’re having difficulty paying your current household energy bill because of a short-term financial crisis or emergency, such as unexpected medical bills, or reduced income due to COVID-19, you could be eligible for Energy Accounts Payment Assistance. EAPA vouchers are sent electronically to your energy retailer to help pay your home electricity or gas account. Due to increasing power bills, the NSW government announced on 26 May, that application limits will increase from $300 to $400, up to a maximum of $1600 a year.
There are also other rebates and grants available in other Australian states. Visit the Australian Government Energy website for more details.
Want more tips on saving money? Check out our guide Money Saving Tips: 250+ Ideas to Cut Your Spending & Make Your Money Go Further.
Started in late 2012 by a local mum, Newy with Kids has grown into a thriving go-to family guide for the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie & Hunter region. Parents visit the Newy with Kids website to find things to do with babies, kids and teens. Whether it’s local attractions, upcoming events, kids eat free, school holiday activities or birthday party ideas, Newy with Kids is the best website for local parents to find local kid-friendly activities and information 24/7.