Energy bills set to sky-rocket this winter: here’s why and how to cut costs
Coming off the warmest Autumn since 2016, Australians are set to feel the chill over the coming winter months. For those of us in southerly states, it’s tempting to curl up beneath the heater and switch on the electric blanket. If the influx of talk about rising energy costs and soaring bills has you switching off at the source, we’re here to help you make sense of what’s going on.
Why do my energy bills keep climbing?
The Australian Energy Retailer (AER) has placed caps on energy bills to ease the strain while allowing providers to recoup on costs, but there’s still a sting to the everyday consumer. With more than 44% of Aussies concerned about jumps in their energy bills, many are wondering whether switching up providers is enough to keep costs down.
The spike in pricing for both gas and electricity is caused by a perfect storm in conditions. On top of colder weather being expected to punch up average energy bills in southern states by up to $200, the current climate has changed in more than just temperature.
A turn away from coal power and fossil fuels is a huge win for the environment, but low-performing green power alternatives create expensive options with low availability. Investment in this area will hopefully ease this over time. Partnered with massive sanctions on Russian supply amidst the Russia-Ukraine conflict and global fuel prices peaking, energy bills are just one area feeling the burn.
What is the gas trigger?
If the recent talk about the “gas trigger” has left you more confused than enlightened, let’s clear things up. This concept refers to a government policy requiring oil and gas exporters to keep a percentage of supply aside for the domestic market. As it stands, one such policy exists in WA, but a widespread application of this idea has been critiqued for its slow rollout.
We’re also still seeing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on bills, even as growing numbers of workers return to the office. Working from home can help you save on many cost of living expenses, but the major trade off is the added expense to your utility bills. Extra use of computers, heating and other household appliances build on costs that would otherwise be pushed aside to weekend and evening continue to add to your quarterly bills.
How can I keep energy costs down this winter?
With record numbers of Australians looking to compare their providers - up 300% according to CIMET data - this is a timely reminder to make sure you’re getting a deal that works for you. This may mean bundling gas and electricity, or splitting costs if one is a significantly higher expense for you.
Understanding effective heating and cooling is essential to staying warm without worrying this winter. While an upfront cost like installing central heating is a major expense, it can lead to lower prices down the track. Similarly, if you’re paying to heat a load of space that you aren’t using, you could be saving by prioritising a smaller high-traffic zone.
Meanwhile, it can never hurt to keep your home warm and save energy through alternate means. All of our favourite tricks still apply - cold washing your clothes and air drying them where possible, staying layered up and making sure any draughts are blocked. This doesn’t mean throwing out the electric blanket, but it does mean thinking twice about when you need it!
The necessity of greener, cleaner power sources have also created an uptick in brands offering attractive benefits for switching to solar power and other green alternatives. Along with this, many brands are looking to bring in customers by offering enticing rewards like cashback offers in place of being able to cut costs.
It’s easy to feel a cold chill with talk of the “energy crisis” dominating headlines, but it’s possible to stay warm with smart solutions, monitoring of your power usage and an eye on the horizon.