How to reduce electric bills and save

Are your monthly electricity and gas bills causing you stress? You’re not alone. We’re all feeling the pinch of the cost of living crisis happening in Australia, but instead of acceptance, we should be strategising to save money where we can.

Switching suppliers is a surefire way to save money, but there are also other tips and tricks you can use before you get there to reduce your electricity bill. Let’s talk about them.

Understanding the average costs of electricity

Before you can go into every tip and trick in this article about how to reduce your electricity bill, you need to understand the average cost of energy per household.

Electricity prices can vary widely from state to state and even within the same state. This difference is affected by factors like the distribution network and the types of plans available, and we’ve discussed this in depth when talking about the average electricity costs in Australia.

You can refer to your electricity bill to learn about your current usage and determine whether you have been billed for actual use or for estimated use. You can also update your electricity retailer on your current meter readings so that you have an accurate bill charged.

How to reduce your electric bill

We’ve gathered every tip and trick we can think of to help you to reduce your bills, allowing you to save energy and cash all at once.

Compare electricity providers

The first and best way to reduce electric bills is to figure out whether you have the right provider in the first place. If you’re paying over the odds right now, you might be able to save by making the switch.

Electricity isn't a "set and forget" service like water; it's a competitive market with many retailers offering different deals, bundles, and bonuses. Switching to a cheaper energy retailer can lead to significant savings.

The cost difference between the cheapest and most expensive energy plans at your address could be substantial. When comparing plans online, look for ones priced lower than the reference price.

What’s the reference price?

The benchmark known as the Reference Price or Default Market Offer has been established by the Australian Energy Market to facilitate the comparison of electricity prices among various energy retailers. In Victoria, this benchmark is referred to as the Victorian Default Offer.

How you’ll reduce your electric bill: Sticking with one energy retailer may not be cost-effective in the long term. "Market offers" on retailer websites often include sign-up bonuses that expire after 12 months, after which you're usually moved to a less favourable standing offer. Keep an eye on annual discounts you can take advantage of.

Change your lightbulbs

Switching to energy-efficient light bulbs is an easy and cost-effective way to reduce your energy bills. Traditional incandescent bulbs consume more energy and have a shorter lifespan compared to light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

LED bulbs use 80-90% less energy, provide brighter light, and can last up to 10 or 20 times longer than incandescent bulbs. Some energy suppliers even offer LEDs as a bonus for new customers.

How you’ll reduce your electric bill: Switching to LED light bulbs reduces electricity bills due to their energy efficiency and longevity. LEDs use up to 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs and can last up to 25,000 hours, compared to 1,000 hours for incandescent bulbs. Their lower heat output also reduces cooling costs.

Get insulated

When heating your home, preventing heat loss through leaks is crucial. Draughts, or air leakage, can account for up to 25% of heat loss in winter, according to Sustainability Victoria.

Combating these draughts can be simple and inexpensive. Items like door snakes, draught stoppers, and door seals, costing less than $20, require minimal or no installation, and are readily available online or in homeware stores.

How you’ll reduce your electric bill: By insulating your home properly, you’ll help maintain warm indoor temperatures and keep cold drafts out during winter, so you’re not paying for lost heat.

Monitor your thermostat

Lowering your thermostat by a few degrees can significantly reduce your winter energy bill. For every degree you increase the heating, your household energy use rises by 5-10%.

Aim for a comfortable temperature between 18 to 20 degrees Celsius. You can also consider adding smart home technology, like a smart thermostat, to save up to 30% on heating costs. Don’t forget to dress warmly to stay comfortable without overworking your heater, too.

How you’ll reduce your electric bill: When you’re consistent with your thermostat temperature, you’re going to reduce your overall usage and your bills will go down.

Turn appliances off at the wall

It's a good practice year-round to switch off appliances you leave on overnight. Keeping appliances like televisions, microwaves, dishwashers, and phone chargers plugged in and switched on when not in use can cost you up to $100 a year.

Even though they use small amounts of energy, it adds up over time. Get into the habit of switching these appliances off at the power point when not in use.

How you’ll reduce your electric bill: When the plugs aren’t always in use, you’ll avoid having a constant stream of electricity running through them. If you tend to forget, consider investing in a smart power board to stop standby electricity for you.

Embrace off-peak hours

Understanding peak/off-peak electricity hours can help you to know the cheapest times of the day to run your appliances.

If you have a smart meter, you might be on a time-of-use tariff, which means your energy rates vary throughout the day. Peak hours are usually the most expensive, while shoulder periods are cheaper, and off-peak hours are the cheapest.

It's important to check with your retailer for the specific peak and off-peak hours in your area.

How you’ll reduce your electric bill: You can save money by running high-energy appliances like dishwashers or laundry machines during off-peak hours. Smart appliances with delayed start features can be especially helpful for this strategy in reducing your electric bill.

Stop running on empty

Half filling the dishwasher or choosing to only run one or two things in the washing machine can be a real money-draining activity.

One full load uses much less energy and water than two half loads. If you need to wash a smaller load, consider using a shorter cycle at a lower temperature, such as 30ºC, to reduce water and energy usage.

Most dishwashers also have an eco mode that uses lower temperatures for washing and rinsing. This reduces energy consumption for heating while still effectively cleaning dishes with less water.

How you’ll reduce your electric bill: Ensuring full loads for your washing machine or dishwasher can significantly save on electricity and water.

Shorter showers save cash

While it's tempting to indulge in long, hot showers during colder months, it can affect your heating bill. Hot water systems often gradually heat water throughout the day, consuming more energy when working harder.

Not only do shorter showers save you money, but they're also more environmentally friendly. It's a win-win situation for your wallet and the planet.

How you’ll reduce your electric bill: Taking shorter showers reduces the workload on your water heater, saving you money on your energy bill.

Go solar

While it requires an initial investment, installing solar panels can bring some long-term benefits by reducing your dependence on the grid and saving you money.

If you're considering going solar, there are several factors to consider, such as selecting a suitable home solar power system, determining the right size, locating a reliable solar panel installer, and selecting the most suitable electricity plan for solar users.

Understanding the associated costs is a good first step if you're interested in solar energy.

How you’ll reduce your electric bill: When you rely on solar energy to power the house, you don’t spend nearly as much on your quarterly bills.

Harness the sunshine

During sunny days, you can use natural light to warm your home by opening blinds or curtains. When the sun goes down, you can close them again to keep the cold out and heat in.

After cooking, you can also leave the oven door open as it cools down. The remaining heat will help warm your kitchen. Just be sure that children and pets cannot touch any hot surfaces.

How you’ll reduce your electric bill: By letting the house warm up through the glass during the day, you can avoid turning on your heaters and just enjoy a little sunshine.

Check for electricity rebates

In certain states, you don't have to wait for federal government energy bill relief payments. Various rebates cater to different consumer needs, but it's essential to check with your state to see what applies to you.

Moreover, many states and territories provide rebates for seniors, veterans, and other concession cardholders.

How you’ll reduce your electric bill: By adding rebates you’re entitled to, you’ll reduce how much you spend on your usage and save yourself some cash.

Compare providers with Compare Energy

Now you know how you can reduce your existing electric bill, why not give our team a call? We’ll help you to get set up with a new provider, ensuring you get the best deal.