‘Ban these and save people from themselves’: Energy-sucking outdoor heaters under fire

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Cheap outdoor heaters being sold at Bunnings should be “banned” to “save people from themselves” according to one energy industry expert.

Chris Cormack from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) raised concerns about the ongoing electricity running costs of the 2000W Jumbuck outdoor heaters in a LinkedIn post, while also flagging the impact such appliances can have on Australia’s under-pressure energy network.

Priced at just $79, the heaters are some of the cheapest around, but with a maximum power output of 2000W, are likely to have a significant impact on household electricity costs.

Mr Cormack said: “Bunnings now selling 2000W outdoor heaters for $79. Cost to run? Probably about the same – per YEAR!”

“That’s before any network co-incident demand costs are factored in. Can we please ban these to save people from themselves. It’s winter; eat inside. #costs #energyefficiency #peakdemand”

The comments come at a time when Australia’s energy networks and retailers are preparing for a surge in electricity demand this summer. EnergyAustralia recently announced plans to offer financial incentives to households that can cut their energy usage during periods of peak demand, in an effort to avoid the ‘load shedding’ incidents and subsequent blackouts that have occurred in some areas in the last couple of years when power supply has struggled to cope with demand.

Other retailers, including AGL, are expected to launch similar programs in the lead-up to summer.

With a maximum power output of 2000W, the Jumbuck outdoor heaters are likely to cost up to 56 cents per hour to run, based on an electricity usage rate of 28c/kWh. This means a household using the heater at full power for just one hour a day over three months can expect it to add an extra $50 to their quarterly energy bill. The more the heater is used, the greater the impact it will have on running costs.

The 2000W power output of the Jumbuck heaters is typical for these types of heating appliances.

Bunnings has been contacted for comment.

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