Practical ways to save your energy through self-isolation and COVID-19
In an ongoing attempt to curb the COVID-19 outbreak, many Australian businesses have started advising employees to work from home. It's easy to forget that your business activities could increase your household energy usage and your electricity bill may be higher than usual. We've identified several ways Powerclub Members can keep tabs on their energy expenses by taking advantage of fluctuating wholesale energy spot prices and Powerclub's no-profit processes.
Heating and cooling
Depending on your climate zone, heating and cooling can account for up to 50% of your household energy use. If needed, run your air conditioner in the middle of the day when wholesale energy spot prices are generally lower and maintain a steady temperature between 23 - 25 degrees. Fortunately, we are not experiencing extreme weather conditions so it will be easier to manage your comfort levels while working from home. Fans are much cheaper to run and are good at keeping the air circulating in your room or if the weather permits, open the windows and enjoy the mild Autumn breeze.
If self-isolation policies are imposed in Australia, your household energy usage will likely increase. You can make saving energy easy by shifting your household errands like clothes washing, drying and dishwashing away from peak price periods. Electricity is usually more expensive in the evening when the demand for energy is higher. You can avoid using high-consuming appliances when wholesale energy spot prices are high to help to reduce your electric bill.
Reduce usage of other electronic equipment
Appliances like lighting, electric ovens, entertainment systems and computers can account for up to 20% of your energy use. You can manage and monitor electronic entertainment for the kids and work from your laptop, which is much more energy-efficient as it can run on battery power. Make sure you turn lights off in rooms you're not using and consider switching to LED lights, which last longer and use 75% less energy than incandescent lights.
Going wholesale means cheaper day-time energy prices
Although there are measures we can take to manage your household energy consumption, these are difficult and unprecedented times - most of us don't have time to micro-manage everyone's energy use at home.
Prices are generally cheapest between 9.30 am – 4.30 pm because demand is supplemented by a substantial flow of free solar energy from rooftops. By switching to a wholesale energy retailer like Powerclub, you'll only pay for the energy you use at the time you use it. Through Powerclub's Member-owned, no-profit process, you only pay for the electricity you use, the services you get and nothing more.
Track wholesale energy spot prices
Powerclub developed Powerwatch, a nifty (and free) app designed to alert you when wholesale spot prices are high so you can track fluctuating market prices. The app comes with recommendations to reduce energy usage during peak price events so that you can keep a lid on your expenses.
If you don't already have one, you will need to upgrade to a Smart Meter, which records how much power you use, and the time you use it. For around $100 a year – it's a smart solution to help reduce your energy bill.
Maximise the use of renewable energy
As more Australian households and businesses install rooftop solar, a significant amount of free energy is exported onto the power grid. Up to 50% of Australia's daytime electricity demand is met by renewable energy which helps to reduce the cost of day-time electricity. Powerclub's 24-Hour Power Clock shows you when you can use more renewable energy at lower prices.
Data Source: OpenNem.org.au
Although some sacrifices may have to be made during this challenging time, if you're working from home, you can feel good knowing that a higher percentage of your increased energy use will come from renewable sources, such as solar.
- Plan for increased energy bills. Even if your energy bills remain relatively stable through this period, planning ahead will help you to feel more in control during these difficult times.
- Check the energy star rating. Check the energy star rating of your appliances. If you're on the market for a new fridge, washing machine, dryer or dishwasher, consider a highly efficient device. It will save you money in the long run.
- Review your energy plan. Be diligent about checking you're on the best energy plan. If you haven't reviewed your plan for more than 12 months, chances are you're paying too much.
- Pay for what you use. If you're ready to switch retailers, choose a wholesale retailer like Powerclub and pay for what you use.
- Avoid phantom energy loss. Remember to switch off electrical appliances at the wall.