August 1, 2017

The average New South Wales, Victorian and South Australian residential electricity customer uses around 40 per cent more energy during winter compared with summer months, according to analysis by EnergyAustralia, one of the country’s leading retailers.

EnergyAustralia Chief Customer Officer, Kim Clarke said historical consumption records showed households used almost a third of their annual energy demand in winter.

This means the average New South Wales household could be paying around $645 to keep their home warm when the mercury drops, around $195 more than summer. A typical Victorian household could be paying around $515 over the winter months, $150 more than in summer. The average South Australia customer could pay around $750 over winter, around $210 more than in summer months.

Kim said recent rises in the cost of electricity mean it is more important than ever for families to understand how they can reduce their bills.

“Increases in electricity prices are bad news for families and businesses,” Kim said.

“Wholesale costs – what it costs to buy electricity on behalf of customers – have increased 120 per cent since July 2015. I would love to be proved wrong but at this stage we see no sign pressure on retail energy prices is about to ease in the short term.

“While industry and governments work out a long-term, sustainable solution, customers shouldn’t have to sacrifice their comfort and wellbeing. In the meantime there are some things people can do right now to stay warm and save money on their winter energy bills,” she said.

EnergyAustralia's home heating hints:

  1. Up to 10 per cent of your power use could be from gadgets left on stand-by; turn them off at the wall when not in use. Computers are a big offender.
  2. Take advantage of the sun this winter by letting in natural light, particularly through north-facing windows. The sun is most intense from 10am to 3pm.
  3. Draught-proof around the bottom of external doors with door snakes and install weather-stripping along door edges.
  4. Close curtains at night and seal any drafts to keep the cold air out and the warmth in.
  5. Ensure walls, ceilings and beneath floorboards are properly insulated.
  6. Run ceiling fans in reverse during cooler months. Set to clockwise, the fan creates an updraft that sends warmer air pooled near the ceiling back down to living areas.
  7. Use a warmer doona so heating can be turned down or off while everyone is asleep. If possible, don’t leave the heater on overnight.
  8. A cosy home in winter is a joy. But every degree above 20 degrees Celsius can add around 10 per cent to the running cost of your heating.
  9. We all love a hot shower but keep it to around 4 minutes. You’ll be surprised how much water and energy you’ll save.
  10. If you have a storage hot water system, keep the tank at 60 to 65 degrees Celsius for safety and efficiency.

Kim said an efficient heating system was vital, as heating costs on average make up 40 per cent of residential energy bills during winter. Service heaters on average every three years and clean filters regularly to ensure the system is operating as efficiently as it can.

Before buying new household appliances check the energy efficiency rating. Also, be aware a unit that’s too small will have to run constantly; too big and it will run infrequently in short cycles causing extra wear and tear.

Those tips are great for most circumstances but the reality is some customers need help right now, Kim said. That’s why EnergyAustralia is investing an additional $10 million in financial relief measures and helping our most vulnerable customers to use energy more efficiently, so they use less and save money.

“We encourage people to get in touch to talk about how they can get back in control of their energy consumption. It’s not easy, but there should always be something a household can do to save money,” Kim said.