Electricity and gas bills include both a fixed daily supply charge and a usage charge which varies depending on how much you use. While there’s not much you can do to minimise the fixed charges, there are options which may help 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.
Reduce energy usage
Under the National Energy Customer Framework, retailers must provide general information on how to reduce electricity costs and advice on the typical running costs of major domestic appliances - if requested.
There are also lots of energy saving tips, advice and other tools available online that are specific to Queensland. Visit the following websites for advice, checklists and other resources to help you save money on your electricity bills:
- QCOSS Energy saving tips fact sheet
- Energy Made Easy
- Department of Energy and Water Supply
- Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland
One way to reduce electricity usage is to replace old, inefficient 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 new appliance and pay it off over time.
Connect to controlled load 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).
For more information on controlled load tariffs, visit Energex (if you are in South East Queensland) or Ergon Energy (if you are in regional Queensland) - or contact your retailer for more information.
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 for assistance. Refer to the Can't pay an electricity or gas bill page for more information.
QCOSS has a number of energy fact sheets available to download from our website. You can print these fact sheets to hand out to clients.