Power savings

Reporter: Bryan Seymour

Electricity prices were set to soar 60 per cent a year, now the Government has delayed its Emissions Trading Scheme our bills will still rise by up to 35 per cent.

That's still enough to break many households, so Today Tonight recruited a top expert to show everyone how they can recharge their budget.

Peter Osmond from the CSIRO says ditching the second fridge can save up to $200 a year. Next stop, the bathroom.

"A fair bit of power gets chewed up in the kitchen, but it's not where most of it goes," said Peter. "Most of it, if you're in a gas home would probably be the living room and if you're in an all electric home, it's going to be the bathroom."

That's right, the bathroom, where we send an average of $300 a year down the drain. Hot water accounts for a quarter of our energy bills.

"Most people spend about seven or eight minutes in the shower, I used to take ten minutes in the shower until I timed myself," Peter said.

"You can bring it down to four minutes easily, in fact if you really try you can bring it down to one or two minutes, you know, do the submarine shower where you soap up, switch the shower off, clean yourself off then rinse down, I've seen people do it a minute," Peter said.

That might not catch on, but a simple egg timer can save the average household between $100 and $200 a year by taking timed, four minute showers.

"Well you're probably going to save 10 per cent of your energy bill, maybe more, maybe 15 per cent," Peter said.

The other big-ticket power-sapper is heating and cooling.

Ross Hastings, from Clean Systems Energy Australia, is selling a new generation air conditioners to stop you losing your cool when the bill arrives.

"For the first time this is making air conditioning affordable for the average Australian," Ross said.

"It's different to a standard air conditioning unit in the fact that it has a solar thermal panel. By adding that panel we are saving 50 per cent in electricity required to operate the unit," Ross said.

Peter also says there are savings to be made with a reverse cycle air conditioner.

"If you can get a reverse cycle air conditioner it'll use a third to a quarter of the electricity to heat the same room (than a bar or fan heater)," Peter said.

And if you are using a bar or fan heater?

"You can always get them with a temperature control on them and if you turn them down by one, maybe two degrees, you can save 10 per cent of that energy and just put a pullover on," Peter said.

According to the Origin Energy Institute the average quarterly household bill runs to $485. So the top tips to save power and money are:

4 minute showers

cold water washes

Dry clothes on the line

Switch off appliances

Use Air conditioning or switch your bar/fan heater down by 1 degree

All up you save $187, slashing your quarterly bill to under $300.

Links and information

CSIRO Energy Saving Handbook


Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon - financial author


Clean Systems Energy Australia


Send us your power saving tips : tt@7perth.com.au