10 Tips For Reducing Electricity Costs During Heatwaves

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MEDIA RELEASE 4 January 2013: Solar energy provider Energy Matters is offering advice to help Australians protect themselves from electricity bill shocks resulting from excessive power consumption during heatwaves.
    
“This summer, most Australians will endure the highest electricity prices the country has ever seen,” says Energy Matters Founding Director Nick Brass. “Part of this is due to electricity generation companies cranking up their prices to ridiculous rates during heatwaves.”
  
“For example, a recent Melbourne heatwave saw the wholesale price of electricity jump from $50 per MWh ($0.05 per kWh) to an astounding $12,500 per MWh ($12.50 per kWh) – and this occurred in the space of a single day! These outrageous costs are ultimately being passed on to all electricity customers.”
  
Energy Matters suggests the following actions can help households stay cool while reducing electricity consumption during days of extreme heat conditions.
 
– Keep your air-conditioner thermostat at 24 degrees. For every further 1C the temperature setting is reduced, 10 per cent will be added to the unit’s running costs.
  
– Where possible, use fans instead of air conditioning.
 
– Seal gaps around doors and windows to help prevent hot air entering your home.
 
– Turn off non-essential electric appliances as many of them use power in standby mode, which generates heat.
  
– Close curtains during the day to help keep heat out and keep them open at night if possible to help promote cooling.
 
– Keep rooms you aren’t using closed off
  
– Try to prepare foods that require minimal amount of cooking and use a microwave where possible. 
 
– Replace any remaining incandescent light globes with CFL or LED bulbs. Most of the power consumed by incandescent globes is turned into heat.
 
–  Keep windows shut in the hottest parts of the day and open overnight if it doesn’t pose a security issue; as this can help to substantially cool your house.
  
– Enter and exit your home quickly – an open door on summer’s day will allow a great deal of heat to enter your home.
   
– If you already have a solar power system, run your air conditioner while the sun is shining to offset the cost of peak electricity rates and maximize your savings.
 
Energy Matters points out installing a solar panel system of 3kW capacity can save more than $600 off summer power bills and more than $1000 off annual electricity bills. Solar panels can also help provide additional insulation for your rooftop.
  
The company offers more general tips for saving electricity here.

The true cost of air conditioners 
 
The increase of air conditioner use has created a massive impact on electricity infrastructure in Australia – and on the hip pockets of everyone; including those who don’t own a unit. According to the Energy Supply Association of Australia: 
  
– The number of household air-conditioner units has increased by approximately 2 million in four years to a total of 9.2 million units.
  
– Each unit costs an average $1500 to install, but requires an extra $2000 of mains grid investment.
   
– Non-air conditioner users effectively pay a $330 subsidy on the bills of users due to this investment.
 
–  A quarter of  Australia’s electricity infrastructure is built for use on just a few days a year.
 
“Solar households generate electricity in heatwave conditions for a small fraction of the ridiculous rates mentioned earlier and help take the strain off the grid during these events. This goes some way towards reducing the need for additional infrastructure.” says Mr. Brass. 
   
“In situations of high energy demand during heatwaves, solar households are producing their own electricity to help power their air-conditioning units. Other households consume any surplus electricity generated by these systems; meaning electricity retailers with a solid base of solar customers need to purchase less additional electricity at exorbitant prices from usual sources.”
   
INTERVIEWS WITH NICK BRASS
Finbar Corrall on 02 9365 0007 or 0412 792 674
  
About Energy Matters
   
Energy Matters is one of Australia’s largest companies solely dedicated to solar energy with warehouses around the country and a staff of over 100. The award winning business was founded in 2005 and has since installed over 15,000 solar systems on homes, schools and commercial buildings throughout the nation.