Are you concerned about your winter power bill?
Recent research commissioned by TasCOSS confirms that Tasmanian households currently pay the highest electricity bills in the country. We consume more power here due to our cooler climate, and our housing tends to be older and poorly-performing in the energy efficiency stakes.
Jonathan Turk is a Program Manager for Financial Resilience and Wellbeing with Anglicare Tasmania. He recommends focusing on what is within your control, and that is your household energy consumption.
“Coming into winter it’s important to be aware of what your usage of electricity is and what it costs so you can make decisions about what you would like to use,” he says.
“But if you need some extra support, please reach out to Anglicare’s team of financial counsellors. Our advice is friendly, professional and free.
We encourage anyone who is facing bill stress to contact us as early as possible, and we will talk you through your options.
“We can assist you to negotiate an affordable payment plan with your energy retailer. Aurora Energy, for example, has a range of payment options available for all of its customers and a specific assistance package it calls YES (Your Energy Support) for customers experiencing hardship,” said Jonathan.
“We might also connect you with NILS – the No Interest Loans Scheme. NILS provides Tasmanians on low incomes with an interest-free loan so you can purchase essential, energy efficient items such as a new washing machine and fridge.
“It’s never too early (or too late) to get in touch with our team.”
Our tips for saving energy while staying warm this winter are:
- Don’t leave the heat pump going 24/7. Switch it off when you go to bed; it will only take 30 minutes or so to warm the room back up again. Set the heating between 18 – 20 degrees Celsius. You use 10% more power for every degree increase
- Is the doorway draughty? Towels make excellent door snakes!
- Only heat the rooms that you use
- The cheapest form of heating is an electric throw blanket
- A 2400 Watt fan heater costs $57cts/hour to run (which adds up really quickly)
- Set your water thermostat to 50 degrees: any hotter, you’re wasting energy AND risking a burn
- Replace standard light bulbs with LED ones as they use 75% less energy
- Have you notified your retailer that you have a Centrelink concession card? The discount is worth over $100 per bill
- If you use a wood heater, make sure the wood you are using is dry and the heater is working properly
- Get your family involved: with a tea-towel for a cape your grandchild becomes Captain Energy, on the lookout for signs of heat loss
- And if you’re super-keen, put bubble wrap on your windows—once cut to size, you can re-use it every winter!
How do I contact a financial counsellor?
Anglicare’s financial counsellors operate the National Debt Helpline in Tasmania. You can contact them by telephoning 1800 007 007.