How to reduce electricity costs

By Neil Wilson - Sub Editor for the Bribie Islander

How to reduce electricity costs

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tags: Reducing electricity costs. Tips.


In case some of you hadn’t noticed, (only joking,) the cost of electricity has continued to rise over the last decade and from time to time power company executives along with government spokespersons have offered a number of reasons why. Local environmentalist and retired engineer John Oxenford took the time recently to explain about what he believes is the reason and also give me some tips on how to reduce electricity costs by following a few quite simple rules.

John began by saying that, no matter how often the idea of reducing the cost of power to the consumer is addressed, the reality is that it will never happen. Whilst the reasons why are too technical to discuss at any length, analysing the various methods of electricity production will provide enough evidence to prove that the only movement in prices will be upward. As for the reasons why John pointed out that they are mostly the result of a mid-2000’s projection which was proven to be wrong.

‘There was a belief that with the increase in the population, electricity usage would rise dramatically, so in order to cope with the extra demand, millions of dollars were spent on upgrading the transmission systems,’ said John. ‘The expected increase in demand never occurred and in fact, usage dropped which means that, because all the upgrades have to be paid for, the only way to achieve that will be by increasing the price to the consumer,’ he told me.

How to reduce electricity costs

So, with the knowledge that our power costs will not be falling any time soon, we need to examine the various ways in which we can conserve power and after what I imagine has been an extensive examination of the statistics, John has suggested the following steps. Firstly, the ways that we cool or heat our homes can certainly have an effect on our power usage and John advises that, whilst there are many options available, the important rules when selecting products for this purpose include being aware of exactly how much space will need to be heated/ cooled and to ensure that the product is energy efficient.

Also, when using the product, we should be aware that glass has very minimal insulating qualities so windows should always be curtained and any cracks in doors or windows should be sealed. There is an increasing number of homeowners who have converted, either in part or totally to solar power and this warrants the devotion of a few sentences to the subject. When a house is equipped with sufficient solar panels to produce enough energy for the whole building, there are two options regarding times of use that will be determined by the rebate that applies.

If the excess power is sold back to the grid at a premium rate, it is best to use minimal power during the daylight hours and so maximising the power export but if the rebate is only minimal, all major use of power is best to occur during the day and then exporting power to the grid at night. For those who are having a new house built, the installation of solar energy is definitely advisable. Some householders only take advantage of solar energy for water heating and, if the installer has done the job in the correct manner, this can certainly result in a considerable reduction in power usage.

No matter whether your water is heated by solar or electricity from the grid, it is also essential to consider how much water is needed at any given time and install the correct sized reservoir. Regarding temperature settings, water must be heated at sixty degrees or more to prevent the risk of Legionnaire’s Disease and it is essential to have a temperate valve installed to limit temperature at the tap to fifty degrees, even less if there are children under two years of age.

Although only accounting for a small part of power usage, lighting systems are still an area that can be assessed for ways to decrease usage and, along with the advent of LED lighting which uses minimal power, fitting the new T-5 fluorescent tubes can also produce a saving. The time now to consider the numerous appliances that are used throughout the house, especially in the kitchen and number one on that list is, of course, the refrigerator. (Has anyone ever wondered why there is a D in fridge but not in refrigerator.) There are many styles and sizes of a fridge on the market, some much more efficient than others, and John pointed out that one of the most efficient designs are the models with the freezer at the bottom and draws which therefore prevent the cold air from falling out.

Factors to be considered when placing a fridge in the most appropriate position include keeping the unit well away from appliances which produce heat such as an oven or microwave and ensuring that there is ample space to the sides and rear for sufficient ventilation. A fact to be aware of is that old fridges use massive amounts of power in comparison to the new units so the best option is to dispose of them. However, if the decision is made to keep the old one as a “beer fridge” out in the shed, it is wise to only turn it on when really needed.

How to reduce electricity costs

When choosing appliances, it is essential to consider a number of factors, for instance, someone who has had a hip replacement should probably choose a wall oven as opposed to a drop in stove and frequency of use should be determined. For those times when food only needs to be heated up, the most efficient method is to use the microwave. Washing machines, as an appliance which can be responsible for varying parts of the power usage, can certainly be operated efficiently.

The best option is to only ever use cold water new age detergent products are designed to disperse in water at any temperature and the difference in costs is quite astounding. A top loader machine will only use approximately seven cents per hour whilst the same machine using hot water will be responsible for a fifty cents per hour usage. Choosing the right television is possibly more about what is right for the individual room or situation but it is always advisable to select a unit which uses no more than two hundred watts each hour. Obviously, reducing power usage and therefore cost is to a large degree dependent on lifestyle choices but certain points should always be kept in mind.

When choosing an electrical product, take into consideration the efficiency rating and current draw, preferably selecting a product with better than a three-star rating. Devices that are left on standby are still drawing a certain amount of power so turning them off at the wall is advisable, QFES statistics have revealed that TV’s left on standby are a common cause of house fires. In conclusion, the numbers in the total column of your power bill are usually always an unwelcome shock to the system and bank balance but just how big that shock is will largely depend on your efforts to conserve our usage.

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A highly successful sales and leadership career working in a number of different and very competitive industries. Engaging with decision makers at all levels in business and government. Three decades employed by corporations, SME businesses in senior roles and almost twelve years operating as a freelance contractor has equipped me well for all aspects of business. Whether leading and mentoring sales teams, or in a direct sales role I enjoy the challenge to meet and exceed expectations. Making a real and tangible difference in either a team environment or as an individual is an important personal goal I have consistently achieved throughout my career. In all of my business and personal dealings over the years there is one issue that stands out above all others - communication. Excellent communication skills creates trust, helps with mutually beneficial outcomes and above all cements long lasting positive relationships. I strive everyday to communicate effectively with the people I encounter.