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Winter is coming: Simple ways to keep energy costs down

Winter is coming: Simple ways to keep energy costs down

It has been a sweltering Australian summer and for most retirees, this means that they are likely to endure one final summer blow: a high energy bill.

According to recent Mozo research, households were expected to waste a jaw dropping $774 on bad energy habits this summer, with the biggest culprit - leaving the air conditioner on overnight.

So if you’ve been stung with a high summer energy bill, now is the time to get prepped in time for winter - below are some helpful tips.

Switch on smarter bulbs

Did you know that lighting accounts for seven per cent of a household’s annual energy usage?

What’s even more surprising is that according to Red Energy, standard incandescent light bulbs use the majority of its energy to heat up a bulb and only 10% is then converted into light, making them highly inefficient. 

You can get smarter with your lighting by switching to more energy efficient light bulbs, like compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs).

These bulbs use up to 80 per cent less electricity and last up to 20 times longer than regular light bulbs, which can come in handy if you spend most of your time at home.

Take advantage of rebates in your state

Whether you live in New South Wales or Tasmania, most Australians dread the day their energy bill arrives in the mail.

New research has even shown that electricity costs is one of the top two financial stressors for Australian households.

So to ease the pinch of high bill, it’s worth looking into various government energy rebates you may be eligible for.

There are a range of rebates available from solar battery storage to owning energy efficient appliances, so it shouldn’t be hard to find one you can apply for. 

For instance, the Seniors Energy Rebate, which is available in NSW, provides independent retirees with a $200 rebate on their electricity bill every year, while pensioners or veterans may be eligible for a $285 low-income household rebate.

Just keep in mind that you may need to supply relevant documentation to confirm your eligibility, like your Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, so be sure to have these handy when you apply.

Get picky with your plan

From picking up a new toaster to locking down a good deal on your phone bill, there’s no denyingthe value of shopping around for the best price.

And as deregulated energy markets, like New South Wales and Victoria continue to grow, the result can only mean competitive pricing and more options for customers.

Following a Mozo number crunch of 427 electricity plans from 37 retailers, our data revealed that households have the potential to save an average of $554 a year, just by shopping around.

So once you’re ready to start shopping around on energy plans, be sure to have your most recent bill nearby to make the process smoother.

It’s important to look beyond flashy discounts and incentives many retailers offer new customers and instead consider whether the plan provides long term benefits and savings.

Making sure there are no lock-in contracts or exit fees is also important because it can give you the flexibility to move between plans if better offers become available.

Go heavy with your sheets

As the seasons change, many Australians use it as an opportunity to give their bedroom a facelift with some new decor.

But during winter, it’s also the chance to give your space an energy efficient upgrade.

There’s nothing worse than a bad nights sleep or waking up in a with frozen fingers and toes, so it might be best to start with switching out your thinner bedsheets for thicker and heavier fabrics, like fleece.

This will keep you warm during colder nights, without having to resort to the switching on the heating or electric blanket.

Aside from being somewhat inexpensive, fleece sheets are great at insulating heat, are more durable and can absorb water or moisture faster than regular sheets.

This is a guest post from Mozo, a trailblazer in energy comparison, providing Australians with practical energy saving tips and expert analysis.

Mozo believes that getting a better deal on energy doesn’t have to be complicated and that no Australian should be paying more than they have for the same service.

Written by Ceyda Erem. Republished with permission of Downsizing.com.au.