Sydney’s rising electricity prices: How to avoid soaring bills this summer
Summer tariffs kick in 1 November, meaning a 6-hour period when you'll be charged peak prices for your energy use.
The Ausgrid network, which connects the majority of metropolitan Sydney and the Central Coast, is switching on its summer pricing starting 1 November until 31 March.
This means households will get charged peak period pricing for 6 hours of the day from 2pm to 8pm, Monday to Friday.
You will likely notice an increase in costs for using appliances during this period when you get your next energy bill.
"If you're not entirely across the small print of your plan, summer energy rates can really burn a hole in your budget," says ReAmped Energy spokesperson, Simon Downes.
"As the highest rates of the year apply at peak times during the summer months, this means your air conditioner usage can lead to some serious bill shock. Your cooling, cooking, cleaning and watching TV is all about to become much more costly if you don't change your habits."
What are seasonal time of use tariffs?
Energy is one of the utilities you tend to set and forget about once you've signed up to a provider and plan.
However, it's as good a time as any to familiarise yourself with seasonal time of use pricing so you can make necessary adjustments.
Similar to summer pricing, winter time of use rates also differ. These carry on from 1 June to 31 August.
- Good to know. There are no peak periods in April, May, September and October as electricity demand is lower and doesn't overly impact the network.
Residential customer time of use
The peak period
- Summer months: From 2pm to 8pm on working weekdays, 1 November to 31 March
- Winter months: From 5pm to 9pm on working weekdays, 1 June to 31 August
The shoulder period
- Summer months: From 7am to 2pm and 8pm to 10pm; from 7am to 10pm on all weekends and public holidays
- Winter months: From 7am to 5pm and from 9pm to 10pm
- All other months: From 7am to 10pm every day
The off-peak period
- All other times not mentioned above such as 10pm to 7am.
How to save on your summer energy bills
Sydney's electricity prices might be on the rise again for the next few months, but there are a few ways to save money on your bills.
Check your energy rates and compare plans
There are a few things you can do to avoid bill shock.
"Check the specific energy rates you're paying and when they apply. If your rates are about to become much more expensive, shift as much energy usage as you can to off-peak times," explains Downes.
"But in reality, most people need to use energy during the peak period, so then it becomes a case of finding a cheaper deal.
"Otherwise, your summer bill could work out hundreds of dollars higher than you were expecting, even if your consumption is not much greater than for spring and winter."
You can start comparing energy plans on Finder to get yourself a better deal.
Adjust your air conditioner's thermostat
Raising your air conditioner's temperature from 20°C to 22°C will cut your energy usage by about 20%.
This saves you around 167kWh of energy, and drops your bill by 20% as well (approximately $200).
Other changes to consider
- Wash only full loads of clothes and dishes so you're not running your appliances too often.
- Buy energy efficient appliances that don't consume too much power.
- Leave your windows open to create a cross breeze, or consider closing your curtains if it's a really sunny day.
- Unplug any standby appliances and save almost $100 a year. According to The Department of Environment and Energy, these can account for roughly 3% of your energy bill.