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Summer sizzler: 7.3 million households cut back energy usage to save money

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Australian households are resorting to drastic methods to save on energy bills this summer, according to new research by Finder.

A Finder survey of 1,055 respondents revealed a staggering 79% of Australians – equivalent to 7.3 million households – admit they are cutting back on electricity usage to save a few bucks on power bills.

The research shows 1 in 2 (47%) are cutting down on how much they use their air conditioner, while 36% will keep the blinds down to try to stay cool.

A quarter of Aussies (24%) say they will use their fans less as they try to avoid bill shock.

1 in 6 (16%) are turning to rigorous measures like taking cold showers to cope with financial pressures.

Finder analysis shows it can cost between $132 and $707 to keep cool with an air conditioner this summer depending on where you live.

Mariam Gabaji, tech and utilities expert at Finder, said some Aussies have resigned themselves to sweltering through summer without aircon.

"It's becoming increasingly difficult for households to afford their basic needs like electricity.

"Energy price hikes have prompted a lasting shift in household habits, with millions taking action to reduce their usage."

Gabaji said summer power bills will likely be more expensive than last year's.

"However there are still ways to keep cool and save money.

"If you haven't switched providers in 12 months or negotiated a new plan with your existing provider, you could probably be getting a better deal.

"Providers really want your business – some are offering $180 in cashback or up to 20,000 Qantas Points."

Finder's analysis found a $350–$790 price gap in annual estimates between the cheapest and most expensive single rate tariff electricity plan for a 2- to 3-person household.

"If you have an air conditioner, make sure you clean the filters at least once a year. Otherwise they can become clogged with dust, pollen or even mould, lowering their efficiency.

"Setting the right target temperature on your air conditioner is also vital. Each extra degree of cooling can add 10% to your bill.

"Where possible, use a fan. They work nearly as well as an air conditioner, but for a fraction of the cost – in many cases as low as 2–3 cents per hour.

"Of course reducing your electricity usage overall can curb your bills – when combined with finding the best electricity deal," Gabaji said.

Gabaji encouraged customers who are facing hardship to reach out to their provider to see what assistance was available to them.

What are you doing to save money on your summer energy/electricity bill?
Switch off the lights more53%
Cut down how much I use my air conditioning47%
Keep the blinds down36%
Use the fan less24%
Take cold showers16%
Switch energy/electricity providers12%
Not run my pool pump as often7%
Go into the office more often6%
I don't plan to cut down on my usage21%
Source: Finder survey of 1,055 respondents, November 2023

Here are some of the best sign-up deals available for electricity and gas in Australia.

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