Electricity

Reporter: Andrea Burns

If you won't reduce your energy use to save the planet, how about doing it to save money? Even cut your power bill in half...now you're listening. The plasma... the sound system... computers that'll even think for you. All these toys might make our lives more comfortable, but they do come at a cost.

Rob Gully is an energy efficiency auditor. Armed with common sense and this gadget, he reckons he can reduce the average household power bill by a staggering four hundred and fifty dollars a year. "For many of us, we use way too much energy , therefore it's easy to save"

Today he's auditing single mum Susan Baigent's Bayswater house... almost a hundred and seventy dollars for two months for Susan and three teenagers ..."I thought that was fairly average for a 4 bedroomed house with 4 adults living in it" Rob says "we can make this smaller"

First stop those toys.. the telly, the dvd ... the cd player ... if the red light's on, it's still pulling power and you're paying. Leaving the CD player on standby's costing Susan thirteen dollars a year, but producing one hundred and sixteen kilos of greenhouse gas. Leave the DVD and the play station also on standby and that more than doubles. For machine's no-one's using.

Leave the computer on standby and the cost is astronomical, "the financial cost of that each year - 122 dollars" .. that's right - a hundred and twenty two dollars for a computer that's not computing anything and the greenhouse gas associated with that 1000 kg" A tonne of greenhouse gas. Rob says don't just log off - turn it off.

In the kitchen... that morning cuppa's pretty pricey if you're warming water you're not using. Rob says "you can save yourself 20 dollars a year just by boiling as much water as you need, you don't have to fill it up every time"

If your fridge is working overtime to keep itself cool, let alone your food, it's costing money. "you can save yourself about 18 dollars a year by keeping your fridge well ventilated" A couple of inches all round - including up the back, is enough. Keep seals clean, it keeps the cold in. And if your food's coming out frozen, the fridge is working too hard, turn it down and save money. As for a beer fridge.."avoid the second fridge if you can, it'll cost you at least 100 dollars a year."

Oil heaters are hugely popular, but also hugely expensive. Susan says "this heater my daughter often has on in her room 24 hours a day during winter when it's really cold" That alone will cost Susan eighty dollars for two months.

Rob says sleep in socks to insulate yourself. To insulate the bedroom, shut the door, pull the curtains. And if you must have an oil heater, have it closer to you than the door or window, to avoid the warmth escaping.

In the laundry, a simple equation to save money..Less of dryers..and more of sunshine equals more money. "If you're using this twice a week, it's costing you 60 dollars a year"

Lights... inside, swap to energy efficient globes - and outside, install night time sensors instead of leaving outside lights on all night. "At the moment that's costing you easily 100 dollars a year - that's a lot for 2 sets of lights"

"The average consumption last year was around 795 dollars, it's gone up about 4% in the last few years, caused by more people buying more appliances" but Synergy's Andrew Gaspar says not all new appliances are more energy efficient. "The plasma tv's, they are consuming much more power than the conventional tv, around 4 times more in sojme instances, and so people might not be realising that getting new appliances is leading to increased power consumption in their household budget"

He says there are energy - and cost - savings to be made in every room of the house, and Synergy has a computer model that lets you do your own audit. Still, he says, it's not only about choosing the most efficient appliances, when you use them also matters.

Andrew says "Households can look at saving money by looking at the smart power option and that's where they can consume at off peak times, they can put the dishwasher, the washing machine for ex, they can turn those on at off peak times which is a reduced rate and they can certainly save a lot of money by using those options available to them"

Susan says, in her place, there are changes afoot. "We will certainly make a very good attempt it's just a matter of reminding ourselves all the time that these items need to be turned off" With savings of more than four hundred and fifty dollars to be made, she says the effort will be worth it.