If you thought your energy bill was already off the charts, how about this week’s prediction that prices are going to rise 50% in the next two years.

Well, there are some things you can do in your own way and in your own home to keep power prices down.

And given that inflation came in this week at 7.3%, anything you can do to slow down your spending on something as vital as electricity can help your household bottom line.

There’s a lot out there about keeping power prices down, as we’ve all been here before, but here are some of our suggestions.

1.Dress appropriately when you are at home. How many of us love wearing shorts while we pump up the heater, or sleep with the air conditioner on all night while we are under a doona? It is claimed that every 1 degree in extra cooling or heating will increase your power bill by up to 10%. Just paying attention to where you have the temperature set on the reverse cycle aircon will make a huge difference. Maybe 25 degrees is ok in winter, if you put on a jumper. And sleeping under a sheet instead of the doona and not having the aircon on 22 in summer might be a reasonable alternative. Many of us have got so used to how we live, that we don’t even know what we are doing is using energy, and causing us expense.

2.Change the lighting in your home. The traditional light bulbs use a lot more energy than LED lights, or smart bulbs which automatically dim and save up to 75% in energy. Sure, its an initial expense but the LED lights actually last longer, so not installing them is something of a false economy. The lifetime of an LED light can be up to ten times longer than traditional light sources.

3.Switch off appliances on standby. You might think that just because the TV is on it is not using power, but you would be wrong. The same with other appliances such as the dishwasher. If possible, switching these appliances off at the power point when they are not in use will save power and money. A smart power board can also be installed to stop electricity when it is not needed by these appliances. One thing though – don’t turn off the fridge. It’ll make a mess all over the floor if the freezer thaws and it’ll cost you a heap in spoiled food. Do check that your fridge is running at just the right temperature, however, as if its too cold that will also use up more power. Same goes for the brightness on the TV.

4. Insulate your house. If it isn’t already insulated, think about putting some batts up in the ceiling as they’ll keep the house warmer in winter and cooler in summer. Some houses, such as weatherboards, are really very thin so are highly susceptible to the weather. Traditionally that means we just pump up the heating or cooling to compensate, but we are in energy and money saving mode here. Insulation is an expense, but its also an investment in your home and comfort. And it might bring a smile to your face when, after you install insulation, you get your first power bill.

5. Use timers and sensors, and turn off the lights in rooms you are not using. It is incredible how money can leak from a home, in the form of higher power bills, just through forgetting to turn things off. Modern times and sensors can do the work your faulty memory forgets but turning things off when you really don’t need them.

6. Compare providers. The recent energy crisis has put some retailers out of business, because they just can’t compete with the big players, but its always worth comparing what is out there in the market Comparison sites can do this for you, so you can see if you are getting a reasonable deal compared with the rest of the market. Regulations changed a few years ago and its never been easier to change providers, so if you can get it cheaper somewhere else, go for it.

7. Go solar, if you haven’t already. It didn’t get much publicity but this week’s budget also included a $102 million subsidy under the Community Solar Banks program to help up to 25,000 households who are locked out of solar energy savings to own or lease part of a larger solar installation. Check out if you are eligible. This won’t necessarily mean that you’ll have panels on your house, but it could mean that you will access cheaper solar generated power.

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