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Power-less: 7 million households desperate to save money this winter

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From switching the lights off to wearing warmer clothes, millions of Australians are taking steps to save money on their winter energy bill, according to new research by Finder.

Last night, Treasurer Jim Chalmers announced more than 10 million Australian households will receive an energy rebate of $300 from July 1.

In total, the new budget will provide for $3.5 billion in new energy bill relief.

A Finder survey of 1,071 respondents revealed more than 3 in 4 (77%) Australians – equivalent to 7.14 million households – plan to take action to save on their winter energy bill.

The research found more than half (53%) will wear extra clothes to keep a cap on costs, while 51% will switch off the lights more.

Switching off unused appliances (49%), only heating the room in use (38%), and taking shorter showers (33%) are other ways Australians are trying to beat the bill shock.

Mariam Gabaji, utilities expert at Finder, said households have been feeling the pinch of steadily rising energy costs for the past few years.

"Many Australians faced higher than normal electricity bills during the summer months.

"People are now taking matters into their own hands to reduce the cost of their energy bill, especially with winter fast approaching and electricity prices set to change once again on July 1.

"Even with the new rebates, we're anticipating some parts of the country will be hit with higher prices."

More than a third (36%) of Aussies say their recent summer bill was higher than expected.

Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker revealed 27% rate their energy bill as one of their top causes of financial stress.

Despite this, just 13% will switch energy providers to reduce their energy bills this winter.

Gabaji said there are ways to stay warm during the cooler months without cranking up the heater.

"Layering extra clothes and sealing drafts around windows and doors can help vulnerable Aussies benefit from the cold.

"Electric blankets are also a great way to keep warm, and use up significantly less energy than a heater."

Gabaji reminded Aussies to shop around and compare plans from different providers as this could lead to significant savings.

"You can even use your comparisons as leverage when calling your current provider to negotiate a better deal.

"If you're struggling to pay your electricity bill, get in touch with your retailer – most have hardship programs in place to assist customers facing financial difficulties.

"They'll also be able to tell you if you're entitled to any government rebates or concessions that can help reduce your energy bill over the year," Gabaji said.

Was your recent summer energy bill higher than you expected?
Yes36%
No55%
I'm not sure, I don't deal with my energy bills9%
Source: Finder survey of 1,071 respondents, April 2024
What do you plan to do to save money on your winter energy bill?
Wear extra clothes53%
Switch off the lights more51%
Switch off unused appliances49%
Only heat the room I'm using38%
Take shorter showers33%
Switch energy providers13%
Use an electric blanket instead of a heater12%
Nothing, I don't need to save money on energy this winter23%
Source: Finder survey of 1,071 respondents, April 2024

Energy bill relief has been announced for all households in this year's budget. See how your state compares.

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