Power Savers

Reporter: Adam Marshall

It's the power monitoring device the electricity companies didn't want you to know about.

The MySmartMeter in home display is the brain child of Melbourne mother of three Tamara Morris. "This device reads information from your Smart Metre and feeds it into the display. It's giving you actual usage, it's converting it to a price and it's giving you within 30 seconds of it actually happening", Tamara said.

And by doing that you can take control of where you spend and save money on your electricity. "You could save up to 15%, which for the average family equates to about $300 a year", Tamara said.

At $129, it'll pay for itself within a few months. The only catch is you need a Smart Meter, which is attached to your power board. They're widespread in Victoria, but are still being rolled systematically in other states.

There are other ways to save money though.

Air conditioners can cost between 50 cents and a dollar an hour to run. Aircon Off is John Clifford's solution to keep your cool even when the power bill comes in. He says the device, which starts at $325, can reduce energy costs by up to 80%. "The Aircon Off unit sits on the wall and a sensor scans the room for occupancy. If there are no occupants for a pre-set amount of time, it automatically turns the aircon unit off", John said.

Trish McLean has turned to Switch Mate, a power isolating device developed by electrician Daniel O'Dwyer. "When they leave the property one press of the button they have shut down power to non-essential appliances and when they come back to the property it is one press of the button and the power is restored", Daniel said.

It costs $1,500 to install and it's money well spent for Trish, who travels often and doesn't want her appliances using up power on standby.

There are simpler options though according to Origin Energy advocate Anne Armansin who is helping Marissa Price. Marissa's last power bill blew out by $300. "We'll look at what you've used in the house and what has the potential to use most and how you can take some steps to use less", Anne said.

"Marissa your dryer can chew up a tremendous amount of energy, it has a two thousand watt element so use it as little as possible", Anne said.

"Energy saving power boards can be a fabulous thing, however before you buy make sure they are not using more energy than they actually save", Anne said.

And with winter almost over, Anne has this advice when it comes to those costly heaters. "You can use a simple thermostat that will turn electricity off to the unit once the temperature that you set has been reached in the room", Anne said.