Energy price cuts: The one benefit of COVID-19 no one saw coming

Ceyda Erem

Wednesday 06 May 2020

There’s no denying the impact COVID-19 has had on Aussie businesses over the last few months. Employers have had to lay off staff or shut their doors altogether, while households have had to adjust to a new way of living. 

But there may be one unforeseen silver lining Aussies may have overlooked. 

According to recent findings by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), wholesale electricity and gas prices have experienced a massive drop since the pandemic began. 

“One rare positive to come from this pandemic is that wholesale electricity and gas prices are falling significantly. As Australia comes out of this crisis we will need our energy prices to fall significantly if we are to have the recovery we need,” said ACCC chair, Rod Sims.

RELATED: 7 ways to reduce your energy bill the next few months

Sims said that with the news of prices decreasing, those involved in the energy market should now work toward providing financial assistance to businesses in need. 

“Energy is an essential service and it is important energy market participants support businesses through the pandemic. These [price] falls need to be passed onto businesses that rely on energy,” he said. 

In early April, Mozo reported on the new COVID-19 electricity and gas network relief package, which included details for energy networks in New South Wales and South Australia on how to assist small business customers facing financial hardship, like deferring or rebating network charges.

Other forms of help included waiving disconnection, reconnection and daily supply chargers for business owners who have to shut down. 

RELATED: Energy watchdogs join forces to protect vulnerable customers

How businesses can cut energy costs during COVID-19

As business owners continue to keep operations running during this time, it’s safe to assume energy costs may not be at the forefront of their priorities. 

However, NSW Engineering Manager at Flow Power, Byron Serjeantson says there are a few tricks business owners can implement to reduce costs. 

“Consider only heating or air-conditioned areas that are used frequently and using the recycle function on the air conditioner where there are lower occupancy numbers than usual. More power is required where you are bringing in more outside air,” he said. 

“Having flexibility in your operating shifts or production runs is also an opportunity to save your energy costs significantly by avoiding the daily highs and lows in the market. If you have seen your operations reduced due to COVID-19, consider moving the more energy-intensive tasks to the middle of the day when prices are lower.”

Want more information about how small businesses can keep usage low during the pandemic? Check out our handy list of energy savings tips.

Or if you’d like to find out how much extra you could save by switching to a better offer, enter your postcode below.

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