I sympathise. I grew up in Russia, so I know all about the cost of keeping warm. There are some things we all can do to ease the strain on our wallets this winter, and you don’t have to shiver!
Find yourself a better price by shopping around. Power companies often have better rates to attract new customers. Many states have deregulated energy now, which is exciting for the consumer as it puts the power back into their hands; if you don’t like your company, leave!
If you regularly compare electricity plans, then you can be sure that you’re getting the best deal; this is true for most industries in that the complacent are often the ones that lose out. Take a look at Canstar Blue’s electricity providers and gas providers reports to find out how your power supplier stacks up.
Phone your provider and tell them you’re thinking of leaving. Most providers will offer you a better deal rather than see you go. Ask to speak to someone more senior if you don’t get what you want at first. Power companies sometimes have better rates. They just don’t want to tell you about them. Being a good negotiator is a vital skill so make sure you are:
- Firm but polite
- Know what you want to say – cover all bases and make sure you research the market so you can know what to expect.
- Be prepared and mention the competition e.g. “XYZ Company is better value at the moment, can you match it?”
You might have thought haggling was saved for the car yards, but electricity companies – although staunch on the subject – don’t mind a bit of negotiating.
Go Solar, Look At Alternative Energies
Solar and other renewable energies are becoming increasingly popular. As power bills seemingly increase every year, many people want to be more self-reliant and move “off the grid”. The biggest way to start moving off the grid is to look at solar energy.
It could cost several thousand dollars to install, but solar panels pay for themselves over a decade or so. Don’t forget to factor in interest payments when you do the maths. If you’re in it for the long term, go solar.
If you want a warm home that costs less to heat then insulation is your number one priority. It’s also a good idea to draught-proof doors and windows. Start with ceiling insulation, then move onto the underfloor and walls. You can save up to 45 per cent with correctly-insulated walls, floors and ceilings.
Double Glazed Windows
Windows are the eyes of your home, and you need to protect them. Yes, double and secondary glazing are expensive to install and take a long time to pay off, but they make your home a lot warmer in winter. They are also effective in summer, helping to cut out those harsh and hot UV rays.
It can be easy to forget about the light you left on when you left the room. Or maybe you’ve got kids that don’t turn off their gaming console when they’re done. While they seem insignificant, over the course of the year, forgetting to turn things off can contribute to a blown-out power bill.
Automated timers and sensors leave the hassle out of remembering to turn appliances off. Many of these timers have three hour cutout times, which make it perfect to watch a movie, complete the latest gaming campaign, or get stuck into a good book next to your bedside lamp.
Automation goes a lot further than just household appliances. Likewise, timers on your heat pump can be set so they’re only on when you’re home. Many of these automated timers are also smartphone compatible, giving you complete control over your appliances and heating.
Think like your Grandparents
Your grandparents probably didn’t have the luxuries that you have today. They would most likely have had to face winter head on and just tough it out. They did this by putting on more layers.
Now, we’ve seemingly come full circle. Many people are shutting off the heating to save on power bills, and instead electing to don an extra jumper or two.
Some extreme electricity saving tips
If you’re looking to get serious about potentially saving some money, then following these tips may be helpful:
- Have shorter showers; the sooner you’re out, the sooner you’re back into your warm clothes and under the doona!
- Keep the thermostat at a constant temperature. Optimal temperature is usually between 20°C to 24°C.
- Use the cold cycle on your washing machine; the bonus with this is, your clothes are less likely to get crinkled, and no one likes ironing!
- Close your curtains and blinds to lock in the warmth.
- Don’t use the dryer; winter may not get as much sunlight as summer, but using the old fashioned clothes line will do the job well.
There are myriad ways to scrimp and save on your energy bill this winter, so don’t let your wallet shiver without money! We hope that these tips help you save on your winter power bill.