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Did you know that switching energy suppliers could save you $1,000? No? That’s because no one has told you.

In fact, energy tariffs can quietly creep up, and up, and you’ll be the last person to find out. Even worse, EnergyAustralia, AGL and Origin have all dropped their fixed rate electricity plans, meaning everyone will need to keep an eye on variable prices.

The retailers offer heavy discounts for on-time bill payments and up to 22 per cent if you pay by direct debit. The thing is, they can afford to offer such generous “discounts” because the base cost is huge. They also lure you in with an introductory offer but don’t tell you when the discount is due to end or how much it’s going to cost in future.

Like health insurance policies, mobile phone plans and bank accounts, researching the options is so confusing that most of us just give up, but it turns out we’re paying the “lazy tax”. One journalist researched his options on the Energy Made Easy comparison site and found 77 offers ranging in price from $997 to $2,659.

The PM has hauled up the energy bosses this week and is threatening tougher rules for the electricity market. In the meantime, know your watts. We’ve brought tips in the past to keep your energy bills down. Now, you can find out how much energy your household is using, item by item, courtesy of Ausgrid. These figures are based on 20.2c per kWh but for a more up to date cost, check out their small appliance calculator. Ausgrid also offers a hot water calculator.

WhatHow many watts?Cost per hourPer quarter based on average usage
Aircon1,500 - 6,000Portable 30c
Ducted 121.2c
$75.80 - $303.00
Clothes dryer4,00080.8c$20.20
Coffee machine60012.1c$6.10
Computer and monitor1002c$2.50
Dishwasher2,40048.5c$24.20
Electric oven2,10042.4c$15.90
Fridge - from 250 litres to 650 litres35 - 830.7 - 1.9c$15.50 - $41.10
($65.50 for a 20 year old fridge)
Hairdryer1,50030.3c$7.90
Large flatscreen television - 3 stars2104.2c$14.80
Large flatscreen television - 6 stars1002c$7.10
Large oil column heater2,40048.5c$72.70
LightbulbsLED downlight - 11
Halogen – 52
Incandescent – 75
0.2 -
1.5c
$0.80 - $3.80
Microwave oven1,00020.2c$5.10
Mobile phone charger50.1c$2.20
Pedestal fan501c$1.20
Toaster1,00020.2c$1.30
Washing machine (warm wash cycle)90018.2c$18.20