Five ways to save money on heating this winter
It's that time of the year again. Many Aussie households are blasting the heaters, desperate for some winter chill reprieve. Power bills around this time of the year are typically some of the largest, as we churn through all of that extra power.
Unfortunately, bills could be even bigger this year with electricity prices increasing for many over the coming months - another cost-of-living blow for Aussie households already doing it tough with price hikes across the board.
Recent iSelect research revealed that 86% of Aussies surveyed are either very concerned or somewhat concerned about extra cost-of-living expenses. The last thing the majority of us need right now is larger than expected winter power bill.
1. Don't ignore higher power prices
Energy retailers must let you know when your current plan expires or changes. If you've recently received a letter or email advising you of increases to your rates, don't just ignore it, bin it or delete it. Take it as your cue to shop around, as it may not be too late to find a better deal this winter.
Prices may be up overall, but we're still seeing some differences between retailers and plans. Even a small price variation could make a big difference to your quarterly bill. And we certainly know that every dollar counts during these tough times!
2. Remember that loyalty doesn't always pay
Perhaps you've heard of the loyalty tax or lazy tax. This is a price customers could be at risk of paying if they don't take the time to compare their options and see how their current energy plan stacks up.
For example, many energy plans - particularly those featuring discounts - generally expire after a year or two. So, if you've been on the same plan for several years now, there's a possibility you could have been automatically transferred onto a higher-priced plan.
3. Shop around
We've touched on comparing and shopping around in the first two points, but let's get down to the details. Sit down for a few minutes and take the time to compare energy plans and providers.
You'll either find a better value option or be given the peace of mind that comes from knowing you're already on a suitable plan. While there may be fewer options available in terms of both plans and provider right now, there could still be some savings to be found!
4. Look out for special offers and flexible payment options
Hunt around for special offers. Did you know that some energy retailers could offer you a better deal if you pay on time, manage your bills online or pay by direct debit? That's right. But keep in mind that some of these offers may expire after a year or two.
Flexible payment options may also help you avoid bill shock. Think about whether paying your bills weekly, fortnightly or monthly will help. Or consider signing up for bill smoothing. This will divide your annual usage into even monthly instalments.
5. Dial down your power usage
Did you know that every degree you increase your heating, you increase your energy use by between 5% and 10%? In winter, consider setting your thermostat between 18°C and 20°C.
Actually, before you even reach to turn on that heater, pull on a jumper or add a few layers of clothing and see if it does the trick. You've certainly heard that one before, right? Well, it's a simple step that could save you some of those hard-earned dollars.
If you're struggling, don't let another price increase get you down. And definitely don't ignore it. Take action and see if you could save or find some peace of mind.
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