Nila Sweeney

Australians are in for a shock as electricity bills are expected to climb – with or without a carbon price.
In two years, the average yearly household power bill will be $2000, according to the Australian Industry Group.

The association’s report is also predicting energy prices will more than double by 2015 compared to prices in 2008.

South Australians already experienced a 12% hike in electricity prices on January 1, while families in NSW and Queensland are expected to face higher bills starting from July 1.

According pricing regulator IPART, families in NSW will face an 18% increase as a result of botched renewable energy schemes and heavy capital spending. Those living in Sydney will face rises of about $230 a year to $1600.

Lower income households will be the hardest hit – families on an annual income of less than $34,000 will spend up to 8% of their wage on electricity.

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal said the price increases are unavoidable as expenditure on poles and wires has tripled and the changes to the renewable energy target has made electricity more expensive.

The Federal Government’s Energy Renewable Scheme is expected to add $1.2bn to electricity costs this year alone.

Residents of Queensland will face a rise in electricity prices of 5.83% from July 1. Victoria does not have a regulated standard contract price, so it is unclear what the longer-term impact on households will be.

Fight back

Families in Victoria, NSW, Queensland, South Australia and the ACT have a choice of energy suppliers and can switch for free. A number of websites allow you to compare electricity suppliers – check out switchwise.com.au, goswitch.com.au or energywatch.com.au.

Here’s a quick list of 10 ways to cut your energy usage and how much you’ll actually save:

 

  1. Switch to a low flow showerhead and save up to $100 a year on energy and water bills
  2. Shortening your shower by two minutes can save up to $100 a year and 0.8 tonnes of CO2.
  3. Turning down the thermostat on your electric hot water system by 5 degrees could reduce you electricity consumption by up to 5%. (Health experts recommend setting your thermostat to a minimum of 60C to keep stop bacteria from building up in your system.)
  4. When it comes to heating rooms, turning down the temperature by just one degree can reduce your power bill by up to 15%
  5. Insulation can reduce heating requirements by up to 30%
  6. Turning your air conditioner up by just one degree could save up to 10% off its running costs
  7. Fluorescent light globes last five times longer and use up to 70% less energy than incandescent light bulbs
  8. Switching TVs, stereos, PCs off at the wall when they are not in use could save around $5-$15 per year per appliance
  9. Chucking out a rarely used second fridge can save you $250 a year in energy bills
  10. Putting your clothes out to dry on the clothes lines could save you around $150 a year on the average household bill

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