Electricity prices in Queensland are changing. Not only have prices increased, but the amount of the electricity bill which is recovered as a fixed amount is also increasing. For customers who do not use much electricity, the increase in the fixed daily service could represent a significant increase in the total bill.
While there’s not much households can do to minimise the fixed charges, there are options to reduce the total bill. Here are some tips on what you might do to manage a high electricity bill, or prevent high electricity bills in the future.
Connect to off-peak tariffs
Many Queensland households have their hot water system or pool filtration system connected to an off-peak tariff (also called an ‘economy’ tariff or ‘controlled load’ tariff). These tariffs mean the appliances connected to them are not able to be run 24 hours a day, but instead are only able to run for certain ‘off-peak’ times (outside 4.00pm to 8.00pm). In exchange for not using electricity 24 hours a day, customers receive a cheaper price for the electricity these appliances use.
There are two off-peak tariff options in Queensland – Tariff 31, which runs for around eight hours a day (overnight only) and Tariff 33, which runs for 18 hours a day (outside the 4:00-8:00pm peak time). Visit your energy retailer's website for more information on off-peak tariffs in Queensland and how to connect.
Reduce energy usage
Retailers can provide free information on how to reduce electricity costs, if requested. The National Energy Customer Framework requires that retailers provide general information about how to reduce electricity costs and advice on the typical running costs of major domestic appliances.
One way to reduce electricity usage is to replace appliances such as fridges or washing machines, with newer, more energy efficiency models. Old or inefficient appliances cost more to run. Interest-free or low-interest loans are available through No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) and Step-Up Loans. These programs can help you buy a more energy efficient appliance and pay it off over time.
There are lots of energy saving tips, advice and other tools available that are specific to Queensland. Visit the following websites for advice, checklists and other resources to help you save money on your electricity bills:
- Energy Made Easy
- Department of Energy and Water Supply
- Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland
- Appliance running costs
Check for faults
High energy bills may also result from a billing error, or when previous bills have been estimated because the meter could not be accessed. It could also be a sign of a faulty meter or gas leak. Visit the Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland website for information on reading your electricity or gas meter.
Customers who identify an error or fault are advised to contact their retailer in the first instance to resolve this issue. Customers who are unable resolve a dispute, can lodge a complaint with the Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland. For more information, call 1800 662 837 or visit the Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland website.
Customers who have reduced their electricity usage and are still struggling to meet their energy costs should contact their retailer to ask for assistance. Watch this video on StudioQ on how to get help if you are having trouble paying your bill.
QCOSS has released factsheets on essential services including information for customers looking to reduce their energy bills. You can print these factsheets to hand out to clients.