A New Year always brings a host of money-related resolutions but cutting energy costs will sit high on Australian to-do lists for 2018. So to help out, money expert and director from mozo.com.au, Kirsty Lamont, has revealed four savvy ways that the everyday Aussie can cut their energy costs now that the New Year has arrived.
Split up and save
Unlike spouses, energy providers aren’t for life so crush your energy inertia early in the new year by making the switch to a better value energy plan as soon as you get the chance. If you need that little bit of motivation to get you started, Mozo data from October found that you could make savings of up to $929 a year by switching to the cheapest energy plan in your state. So if you want to slash your energy bill over the next 12 months, it is quick and easy to compare energy plans based on where you live and weigh up a range of features as well as the discounts on offer from each provider.
Get “smart” with home tech
Our homes have the potential to be seriously smart, so smart in fact, that they could dramatically cut your energy costs in 2018. Smart meters are already mandatory in Victoria but Aussies could be cutting energy costs pretty soon with home management systems like the Gswtich that is on trial in Queensland. These nifty new gadgets are installed by an electrician on your switchboard and allow the customer to fully control their energy use via an app meaning you can effectively put your home into standby mode when you’re away and drastically reduce passive energy usage.
Consider fixing your energy plan
Rising energy costs over 2017 saw some energy retailers move towards “fixed” plans that are tipped to become more and more popular this year. At the moment, EnergyAustralia are the only energy retailer to offer a truly fixed energy tariff, the likes of Origin Energy will guarantee the cost of your bill no matter how much you use. While these fixed energy plans are certainly budget-friendly, the downside is that if you’re prioritising a plan with a fixed tariff, you run the risk of potentially paying more for your energy than you would have if you’d shopped around and found the cheapest available plan.
Unplug or upgrade energy draining appliances
Did you know that appliances account for about 30% of the average Aussie household’s total energy bill? From your dishwasher to your washing machine, Aussies can make serious energy savings by upgrading their older home appliances to newer, more energy efficient versions. When you’re on the hunt for your new fridge, look out for the energy-efficiency labels and remember the more stars, the less you’ll have to pay in power. It isn’t just about what you’re buying either, but how you’re using it. For example, fridge’s use about 15% less energy if they’re surrounded by a 5-8cm gap rather than if they’re pushed up against a wall or cabinet and use even fewer kilowatts when they’re full.
Kirsty Lamont is a money expert and director at financial comparison website mozo.com.au. She is passionate about helping Australians make better, more informed choices about their finances.