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Well it's official...

Posted by Heather F 
Well it's official...
August 09, 2017 05:09AM
South Australia now has the most expensive electricity and gas charges in the world. It's become a major hot topic here and I just don't know how the oldies and people with young families cope.
These are the power saving things I do and I've love to hear any other suggestions:

- house is well insulated
- appliances (except frontloader washing machine), are all 4 years old or newer
- tvs are turned off at the switch
- dishwasher used 2 - 3 times a week, and set to start between 2 - 3 am, when power is apparently at it's cheapest
- washing machine ditto (I do warm washes only)
- cooktop is gas and oven is electric. If the oven is used, I cook several dishes in it at the same time
- if the slow cooker is used it's on overnight
- there are 3 downlights (new type) only (old ones are real juice guzzlers so I've read)
- hot water is supplied by instant gas hot water unit, on the wall just outside the kitchen
- the heating/cooling is via a reverse cycle air con unit and it's seldom used during the winter - we put on warm clothes and if
watching tv I love to snuggle up in a blanket
- air con is used during our summer as I really dislike it over about 34d, but runs for a few hours at early evening/night in the main
and def not overnight
- I don't have a clothes dryer - the washing line is undercover but if I need to air anything not properly dry (maybe max 3 - 4 times
per winter), I will put the a/c on warm, set for 21d and put the clothes on a drying rack
- no electric blankets
- solar panels are not an option

The last electricity bill was $243.94, which includes a $31.59 pay-on-time discount and is from 19/04 - 19/07.
Latest gas bill was $111.40 which includes a $5.69 pay-on-time discount and is from 09/05 - 02/08.
Supply charge (included in the above) for electricity is $60.76 and gas $57.88 and these greedy charges really annoy me.
It's not that we can't afford to pay the bills,but prices have just rocketed up in recent years.
Re: Well it's official...
August 09, 2017 06:17AM
Scary, isn't it Heather. I will have a new bill tomorrow as I saw my meter being read today but I checked my July one and it was $211.77 for one month, that took into account a 15% discount for prompt payment and a 'friends extra credit' of $8.75. I haven't dared to even look at those from previous billing periods, it is just too disheartening. Does your account have any added on tax such as GST? Ours does. We don't have reticulated gas, although we could if we wished and may do so at a later date
Years ago I worked for an electricity supply company and we weren't given any staff discount.! One thing we always suggested our customers check was to make sure seals on fridges and freezers were tight. Easiest way to do so is to open the lid or door of the appliance/s, place the power bill (any paper will do but the power bill can be very significant) in the opening and shut the lid/door on it. Try pulling it out and if it comes out easily then have the seals replaced. So often people had an old beer fridge running down in the garage that they tend to forget about.

It is the unit usage that I check just in case there seems to be a lot more of unexplained use. You can buy checking meters to test individual appliances.

It really annoys me that any energy, be it electricity, gas or something for your vehicle, seems to be fair game for pricing and taxation. With electricity usually you only pay after you've used it, unlike petrol.

Winter is the worst time for high bills and like you, I wonder how some people manage. Most companies offer payment plans based on past usage divided evenly over billing periods.
Re: Well it's official...
August 09, 2017 06:20AM
Washing machine - do cold washes for everything, but particularly linens. If you have illusions about germs, remember that if your washing is hung outside sunlight sterilises. If you do feel you notice a difference between cold washed and warm washed articles, then you can always return. (I never do warm/hot washes.)

Set a timer in the bathroom for showers. An effective shower can be less than one minute, a little longer if you need to wash your hair or do some extra cleanup stuff...

I don;t understand your figures though. Electricity bill $243.94 for the period 19 April to 19 July? Gas bill $111.40 for the period 9 May to 2 August? That sounds cheap. Apparently the average electricity bill in Wellington, NZ is $185 per month. []
Re: Well it's official...
August 09, 2017 07:31AM
Marnie the fridge/freezer is about 9 months old, and the separate small chest freezer is a bit older than than but the seals are in good order. And I think these exorbitant prices seem to hit the folk who are least able to afford them.

J1 I have tried cold washes but I find the powder doesn't always dissolve properly.
We certainly could have shorter showers - especially Himself!
The $ amounts are straight off the bills - I may not have worded it correctly - the larger amounts are after the pay-on-time discounts have been applied, and also incl GST.
SA was reported as having the most expensive electricity; it was on the ABC and in the daily paper so the media never get things wrong do they lol. Hopefully the link below will open over there.

I've checked around with friends and colleagues and these bills seem comparatively cheap, but I do wonder what's next - rubbing some sticks together out on the drive and roasting parrots over the embers perhaps? smiling bouncing smiley

Do you guys have supply charges over there as well?
I have heard of ppl going completely off the grid and having solar, wind, and battery storage, and still being charged the supply charges as the services go past their property!

Re: Well it's official...
August 09, 2017 02:40PM
I don't use powder for cold washes because of that reason. I use liquid wash such as Cold Power.

We have supply charges here too. Each power company has a slightly different charge. Genesis electricity charges 33.33 cents per day, and sends out monthly accounts so one month's electricity account includes a supply charge of around $10.

The problem with having electricity plus gas as energy options is you have to pay two supply charges. We can get only bottled gas in my region anyway so I don't have it but the double supply charge would really hold me back from choosing two energy supplies.

In your first post you say "- dishwasher used 2 - 3 times a week, and set to start between 2 - 3 am, when power is apparently at it's cheapest". Do you know whether you're on a day rate/night rate account plan? If you aren't, using power at night may be no cheaper than using during the day, and you'd need to switch plans to benefit.

Depending on the NZ region we live in, Genesis has a night rate for electricity of around 16.06 cents per unit of electricity and a day rate of 37.16 cents per unit. The night rate runs from 11pm to 7am.
"The basic unit of electricity is the Kilowatt hour (kWh). In simple terms, 1 kWh is the amount of energy used by a 1kW (1000 watt) electric heater for 1 hour. Another example is ten 100-watt light bulbs used for 1 hour."
So if I ran my 2000 watt fan heater for one hour during the day it would cost me 74.32 cents.

Genesis pricing plan info:

Going off the grid is expensive to set up and probably worse for the planet (as regards materials and manufacture of all those off the grid items) than using existing electricity supplies (particularly in NZ where ours is predominantly hydro power).

Also, people don't like paying money for basic, regular needs such as food, electricity, petrol. We'd all prefer it was free and then we could use as much as we liked without all the decisions, annoyances and self-regulation. Yet we often fritter and waste our money on other things that we don't complain about and yet these things are often transitory and far less useful for the money paid when compared to the benefit of food, electricity, petrol. But of course, as the cost of basics rise, we have to make even more decisions, put up with more annoyances and self-regulate even more and all the while there's dwindling money left for all the other things we need to or would like to purchase. Cost curtails freedom.

I should add that electricity pricing plans need to be carefully considered before choosing as they are full of swings and roundabouts. For instance, the Genesis night/day plan really only works out cheaper if you use no more than 8000 kWh per year.

If your friends and colleagues think your bills are cheap, then you're already doing better than them in saving power. From reading everything you're doing so far, I think you've got many things sussed. It's good how modern appliances give us the option to run our washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, etc overnight. I set my washing machine to start around 5-6am. Like you, I can afford the power but prefer to pay less.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/09/2017 03:12PM by J1.
Re: Well it's official...
August 09, 2017 07:24PM
As with J1, I use liquid detergent for cold water washes, no flakes left from undissolved powder. When I did use powder for cold washing I used to dissolve the amount I needed in a small container of hot water before adding it to the rest of the water.

To give you an idea of the savings of shorter showers, think of a 15 minute shower costing say $1, take that back to 5 minutes and see the difference, especially over the period of one month. One of our inspectors had a timer set on the bathroom door for when his sons were in the shower, threatening them that the water would suddenly turn cold if it went on too long. He had a large grin on when he told me that but added that he would rather his teenage sons showered than not do so. I am not suggesting you apply the same tactic to "Himself" <grins>

We notice a large bill when we have already used the energy, whereas if we paid $30 a week (in my case it is around $50) in advance the blood pressure wouldn't tend to rise anything like looking at a 3 monthly eye-watering amount. If I paid for my lattés once a month I'd really have to think about the cost.

I checked back on my Summer accounts, they are around $170-$180 a month.

Incidentally, I was working with the electricity company when the electricity industry was deregulated. One of our senior engineers shook his head and said it has good and bad points. Cutting back on maintenance is a short term and risky situation, just ask those who have lost their supply through something like this happening and when you have shareholders (I am one of those but not a rich one) we know what happens there.

If I think of any other power saving ideas I will post them.
Re: Well it's official...
August 10, 2017 01:32AM
Do you know the Jo Nova website? She often writes about all the trials, tribulations and scandals of the Australian (especially SA) electricity system []

Talking about showers, It can be a little tricky to work out how much hot water your shower’s using because it depends on how much water your shower head pumps out per minute and the amount of hot water mixed into that. One way is to hold a bucket or measuring jug, etc, under your shower head, turn it on, catch all the water and see how long it takes to get 1 litre. Usually you’ll be pretty shocked at how quickly 1 litre of water pours out of your shower head. We’re on mains pressure and we have an excellently ridiculous shower head that pumps out 1 litre at just the right temperature every 4 seconds (15 litres per minute); other people have those water-saving shower heads that pump out about half that. (Once I was briefly a tenant of a property with a shower that had a flow rate of about 1 tablespoon every 4 seconds.)

The average American shower uses 65.1 litres and lasts for 8.2 minutes at an average flow rate of 7.9 litres per minute.

The average UK shower uses 62 litres and lasts for 8 minutes at an average flow rate of 7.75 litres per minute.

The average NZ shower uses 49 litres and lasts for 7 minutes at an average flow rate of 7 litres per minute. Shower head flow rates range from 3 to 20 litres per minute, the average flow rate is 13 litres per minute and this is a similar rate recorded in Australian cities.

The nitty gritty of working it all out []
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