Energy bills set to hit $557 in winter - here’s how to save $800 instead

Kelly Emmerton

Thursday 01 June 2017

The season for cranking the heater and breaking out the electric blanket has hit us, and the average household electricity bill is set to jump by more than 20%. But never fear - according to Mozo research there’s a simple solution to bill shock.

Energy bills set to hit $557 in winter - here’s how to save $800 instead

Mozo data showed that winter is harder on Aussie budgets than any other season, with the average power bill expected to rise to $557 over the quarter.

Not only do the winter months see Aussies break out their space heaters, but further energy price rises are also on the cards after the recent ruling by the Federal Court against the Australian Energy Regulator (AER).

In the case, the AER claimed that energy distributors in NSW were inefficient in how they transported power to Australian homes, and that households shouldn’t have to foot the bill for this. But the AER lost its case on nearly all counts, leading experts to predict price rises in Australian households’ futures.

“The Federal Court decision opens the door for distribution companies to hike prices which will not only affect electricity customers in New South Wales but potentially other States as well,” Mozo Director Kirsty Lamont explained.

RELATED: Guide: how to switch energy providers

But Aussie families feeling the chill may be able to repair their budgets by switching providers and finding a cheaper deal on their energy plan.

Mozo compared over 700 energy plans and found that by switching to a better value product the typical 3 person household could save an average $810 on their electricity bill each year. In some states, the potential savings were even higher. 

“The biggest savings on offer are for households in Victoria and New South Wales who could save over $1,000 a year by switching from the highest priced plan to the most competitive on the market,” said Lamont. 

Biggest Annual Electricity Savings by State

Correct as at 24 May 2017.

Lamont said that with July 1 energy price hikes on the horizon and winter settling in, it’s well worth Aussies’ time to compare plans and be sure they’re getting the best offer available.

“Making the effort to switch to a more competitive plan before the big chill sets in can help households cut the cost of their winter energy usage,” she said.

For those who have already compared energy plans and are on the cheapest deal around, there are other ways to limit the damage winter heating bills can do to your household budget. Lamont shared some of her top tips for staying warm without breaking the bank.

  • Don’t over-heat. Here’s the big one - for every degree you raise your thermostat, you add 10% to your heating bill. That can quickly get out of hand, so Lamont recommends keeping the temperature set around 18-21 degrees. And if you’re still cold, think about wearing an extra jumper instead of cranking the heat.
  • Ditch heated towels. “I know, I know - there’s nothing better than a warm towel waiting for you on a cold winter morning,” said Lamont. “But switching off the heated towel rail can save you up to $200 a year so it might be worth it.”
  • Improve your home insulation. If you’re ready to make a bigger change to keep the winter chill out, think about improving your homes insulation. “A properly insulated home can be up to 5 degrees warmer in winter and cut heating costs by as much as 40%,” said Lamont.
  • Draught-proof your home.  Keeping chilly draughts out by repairing cracks or gaps around doorways and windows or installing draught excluders on external doors can slash heating costs by 25%. “Even the reliable old door snake has a part to play in keeping heating costs down,” added Lamont.
  • Automate payments to snag discounts. Chances are, your energy provider offers a ‘pay on time’ discount - sometimes slashing as much as 40% off the usual charges. To make sure you bag this discount every time, Lamont suggests setting up direct debits to cover your energy bills.

Find out how much you could save on your winter heating bills by heading over to our energy comparison tool.

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