No-one wants to be stuck with a big power bill. If you're already strapped for cash, here are some simple green ideas that will reduce your energy consumption and save you money.
You could also enter your annual energy usage into our online energy calculator to find the plan and discount best suited to your needs.
1. Use energy-efficient light bulbs
Buy compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. They use a whopping 75 per cent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. While CFL bulbs cost a little more, you’ll actually save money - the bulb lasts a lot longer and doesn’t use as much energy.
2. Turn down your thermostat
Reduce the temperature setting on all your heating and air-conditioning units, plus your hot-water system by two to three degrees. Never leave heaters on all night – instead heat your bed with a hot-water bottle or an electric blanket for a few minutes. This, along with your own body heat, flannel sheets and a thick doona will make you feel nice and warm, even if the air temperature in the room is cold.
3. Use cold water in your washing machine
If you do this and also run your machine on a quick cycle you'll definitely reduce your home’s energy bill. Also consider buying a front-loading machine - they use up to 50 per cent less energy than top loaders. And choose models with a high energy star rating.
4. Fix your windows
Drafty, thin windowpanes can let a huge amount of heat escape resulting in a higher winter power bill. Consider buying high-performance windows or getting double glazing. If you can’t afford this, then make sure there are no leaks along the base of the window by placing a draft stopper such as a door snake along the rim. You can also insulate your windows by sticking bubble wrap to the panes, which is surprisingly effective. You won’t enjoy much of a view but you’ll save money!
5. Plant it
If you’re thinking long-term, install trees and shrubs around the outside of your house. The shade they provide will make the house cooler in summer. And if you plant a fast-growing shrub such as a lilly pilly outside windows, you’ll have a good windbreak in no time, helping to keep cold air out in winter.
Try some or all of these tips to reduce your energy consumption, particularly over winter. You could also enter your annual energy usage into our online energy calculator to assess gauge the plans and discounts best suited to your needs.