What is the best energy plan when you’re working from home?

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Whether international pandemic, physical logistics, or simply annoying colleagues, there’s bound to be some point at which you’ll need to work from home (WFH). Your very first points of action should rightfully be checking your internet connection and ensuring a level of quiet, though what may not be so obvious is how your presence at home will affect your bills. You’re likely to see your power bill hike up in prolonged WFH periods, so we’ve outlined some ways you can make sure you’re not paying too much.

Wait, why will my electricity bill get more expensive?

For folks that work the standard nine to five, there’s very little power being used throughout the day. Generally, it’ll just be standby appliances and your fridge running during the day, with power guzzling TVs and aircons reserved for nights and weekends. If you’re home, however, those appliances typically reserved for short periods of usage will get a work out, especially if you’re working from home for an extended period of time.

What should I look for in an energy plan when working from home?

woman on a laptop

For households with high energy usage, it’s generally recommended they find a plan with low usage rates. What does that mean? Well, your energy bill is split up into two main components, namely your usage rate and supply charge.

  • Usage Rate: This is the amount you’re charged per kWh of energy you use in a day. The easiest way to understand how much energy you’re regularly using is with a smart meter. If you don’t have one installed, your last bill should give you a good indication of how much power your household consumes.
  • Supply Charge: Retailers also charge a fixed daily rate for supplying electricity to your address. This amount fluctuates between states, but generally sits at around a dollar a day for most.

It’s almost certain that if you’re working from home, your usage will make up a large majority of your electricity bill. For that reason, it should be a priority that your plan has competitive usage rates.

Power plans with low usage rates

With so much talk about low usage rates, you may be wondering: well, what is classified as low? There’s no consistent standard of ‘cheap’ across Australia, as electricity prices can vary significantly from state to state. Instead, we’ve listed out the cheapest rates available on our database to a household on a single rate tariff in each state. Treat this as a general guide only.

NSW VIC QLD SA
Cheapest usage rate available* 20.90¢/kWh 20.38¢/kWh 20.20¢/kWh 31.31¢/kWh

*Recorded March 16, 2020, subject to change. See our comparison tool for latest rates.

Keep in mind that a plan with low usage rates but unusually high supply charges won’t do you much good either, so it’s good to have an understanding of what you should expect from both. For a more in-depth look at electricity rates, scroll down to the bottom of our ratings reports:

Electricity prices compared

Below we’ve featured some single rate plans on our database that may prove to be a good deal for those working from home.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Ausgrid network in Sydney but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 3900kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Citipower network in Melbourne but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Energex network in Brisbane but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4600kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the SA Power network in Adelaide but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Tips for using less energy when you’re working from home

We get it, working from home comes with distractions – the TV, radio, opening the fridge for snacks every five minutes. Here are some basics tips for keeping energy costs down:

  • Treat working from home like you’re working in the office (i.e. get yourself comfortable, get your head down, and try to avoid all those distractions).
  • Don’t leave the TV or radio on just for a bit of background noise. It will distract you and only add to your next power bill.
  • Desktop computers can use lots of energy – so don’t leave it on when you’ve stopped working. Turn the computer off for your lunch hour and definitely turn it off at the end of the day.
  • Take it easy with the air conditioning. If you’re home during the day, you might start to feel the heart, but running the air con for hours will seriously damage your bank account. Find other ways to stay cool, like working next to an open window, or using a desk fan.

How to change energy plans when working from home

animated laptop beanbag

It’s actually quite easy to change energy providers – you can do it from the comfort of your couch. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect:

  1. Compare your energy plan against others: Use our comparison tool to find out how the price you’re paying for energy stacks up against other deals circulating in your area. Use an old bill for a better comparison.
  2. Consider a time of use tariff: With a time of use tariff, you’ll be charged different usage rates according to the time of day. While in some cases, it may work out that you’ll get a cheaper rate for during the day, expensive peak time pricing is something to watch out for. Depending on where you live, you could end up paying more expensive rates from 7am onwards.
  3. Select a plan that’s right for you: Find an energy plan with low rates and follow the link through to the provider’s website to sign-up online. Your chosen retailer handles the break-up with your old provider, meaning your next bill should come from them.

Image credits: fizkes/shutterstock.com, BublikHaus/shutterstock.com, Mascha Tace/shutterstock.com

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