Switched on: Energy price hike forces 5.5 million households to adapt
Aussies are going to extreme lengths to cope with rising energy bills, according to new research by Finder.
A nationally representative survey of 1,057 respondents revealed nearly 3 in 5 (57%) – equivalent to 5.5 million households – have had to make lifestyle changes to lessen the blow of electricity price spikes.
Cutting down on groceries (30%), taking shorter hot showers (28%), and going without heating (25%) are just a few ways Aussies are trying to curb energy bills.
Mariam Gabaji, energy expert at Finder, said millions of households are struggling to keep up with rising energy costs.
"Higher energy prices are compounding the existing cost of living pressures and millions can't manage.
"Australians are doing whatever they can – from going hungry to being left in the cold – to reduce bill stress."
Almost 1 in 5 (18%) have gone to bed earlier than normal to stay warm, while sadly 9% admitted energy bill stress has led to arguments in their home.
A further 5% spend time in public places to avoid heating and cooling costs on the weekend.
A Finder survey in August revealed on average Australians would wait until their bills had increased by $102 per quarter – or $408 per year – before switching to another provider.
Millennials would shell out the most before making the switch at $114 per quarter ($456 a year), compared to $92 ($368 a year) for baby boomers.
The energy lazy tax would cost those in New South Wales and Queensland the most at $112 per quarter ($448 a year), compared to just $63 ($252 a year) for Western Australians and $82 ($328) for Victorians.
Gabaji said people can get very attached to their energy provider, but blind monogamy will cost you in the long run.
"New customers typically get better energy deals than loyal customers.
"There are currently providers offering $100 credit or 15,000 frequent flyer points when you sign up – just make sure you're getting a competitive usage rate and supply charge, otherwise you'll end up worse off."
Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker shows only 14% of Australians have switched their energy provider in the past 6 months, despite 43% not being convinced they are getting good value for money.
"Depending on where you live, the difference between the cheapest and most expensive providers can easily come to $200–300 per year," Gabaji said.
The research shows women (64%) were more likely than men (51%) to take measures to manage their energy bills.
|Have you experienced/ are you doing any of the following as a result of surging energy prices?|
|Cutting down on groceries||30%|
|Taking shorter hot showers||28%|
|Not heating the house in the evening||25%|
|Going to bed earlier to stay warm||18%|
|Household arguments about energy usage||9%|
|Spending time in public places like libraries or shopping centres during weekends||5%|
|None of the above||43%|
|Source: Finder nationally representative survey of 1,057 respondents, September 2022|
|*Respondents could select all that apply.|
|How much would your energy bill have to increase per quarter for you to switch providers?|
|Source: Finder nationally representative survey of 1,058 respondents, August 2022|
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