By: Mike Crooks
As if the cost of living hadn’t already become a major problem for Australians, more pain is on the way according to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER).
With energy price hikes of up to 30 per cent on the table, the cost of keeping warm this winter will strain many household budgets.
The AER has revealed potential average electricity price increases of between 20 and 22 per cent will occur across Australia over the next financial year.
The AER’s chair, Clare Savage, said people could find cheaper electricity prices by comparing what is on offer.
“We do tend to see that when the default market offer rises, other offers in the market also rise, because they are responding to the same sort of cost pressures that we’ve been analysing,” she said. “But they should still be offering prices in the market that are lower than the default market offer. So, it still makes sense to shop around.”
Keeping Warm on a Budget
Regardless of the energy provider, there are ways to stay warm without turning up the heat in the colder months. Energy Australia suggests using a blanket, warmer clothes or a hot water bottle to keep warm at home.
The energy distributor also recommends to not keep heaters on overnight once you have gone to bed. Further, they suggest to seal off all doors and windows (by using a door snake, for example) to ensure there are no draughts. And “close the doors to rooms you’re not using – particularly bathrooms and laundries that tend to be cooler”, an Energy Australia statement read.
Meanwhile, Alinta Energy suggests to “close rooms you’re not using, so you only heat and cool the rooms in use,” the company said in a statement. The energy distributor also recommends using a fan combined with a heater to lower your heating bill. Fans help circulate the hot air produced by a heater.
Many Australians are also harnessing the sun to dramatically reduce their ongoing costs for energy. According to Australian energy retailer Nectr, 30 per cent of Australian households now have solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on their roof.
Further, Nectr says that their research shows that many Australians are open to using solar PV, combined with a battery, to bring their energy bills down.
“Homes with solar and battery can avoid paying higher electricity prices by essentially becoming ‘energy independent’,” Nectr’s chief marketing officer Karren Challoner-Miles said in a statement.
“Using their home’s solar panels to generate energy and a home battery to store the energy puts that power back into the hands of everyday Aussies to use energy within their household when and how they like.”
What stops most Australians from going down the solar path is the set-up cost. According to popular comparison website Canstar Blue, the cost of installing a standard rooftop solar PV system varies between $3000 and $12,000.
But there are government rebate schemes.
“There are also government-led assistance schemes for households, businesses and communities for solar and battery installation,” according to Nectr.
For more information on schemes available in your state visit energy.gov.au.
As for those who rent, it can be more complicated to go solar, but there are options to install share solar panels on an apartment building, according to Energy Matters.
“This means that a single solar system, with the help of a solar splitter, can be shared between multiple residents,” said the energy company on their website. “Participants split the cost of the system and enjoy the benefits of a greatly reduced electricity bill.”
For more information visit energymatters.com.au.
Article supplied with thanks to Hope Media.