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400,000 Aussies hit with $352 energy bill hike: ‘Doesn’t feel fair’

Victorian households will see their energy bills increase by up to 25 per cent.

Image of Rebecca Hyland and electricity bill.
Energy prices are going up for Victorian households today, but Aussies like Rebecca are finding ways to save. (Source: Supplied/Getty)

When Melbourne dad Dan received a notice from his electricity provider that his rates were going up, he decided to get proactive.

“I’d noticed my energy bill increased and that’s what kicked it off, and I thought it was time to shop around. We hadn’t done that since we moved in five years ago,” the dad of three told Yahoo Finance.

It’s a situation many Aussies would have encountered recently, with households across Victoria hit with electricity price hikes from today.

The Victorian Default Offer, which 400,000 residential customers are currently on, will increase by up to 25 per cent. The average residential bill is set to go up from $1,403 to $1,755 per year - an increase of $352.

Aussies finding savvy ways to save

After comparing his family’s options, Dan decided to switch to wholesale electricity provider Amber Electric, which allows customers to access the real-time wholesale price of electricity, rather than a flat price.

Dan said he had noticed his bills go down but said he had also been taking proactive steps around the house. For instance, Dan has solar power and ‘load-shifts’ his energy consumption to the middle of the day to take advantage of it.

“One of the things that I am doing is trying to schedule appliances, so the clothes dryer and dishwasher,” he said.

Dan has also been opting to use his reverse-cycle air conditioning to heat his home, rather than his gas heater.

Melbourne resident Rebecca also made the switch to the wholesale energy provider and said her bills had gone down by about $10 a month.

“It’s definitely cheaper than what I was paying before and I also try to monitor my usage and use [energy] when it’s cheaper to access energy on the grid,” Rebecca told Yahoo Finance.

“I’m always putting the curtains down at night and opening them during the day and I switch things off like the washing machine and microwave when I’m not using them.”

Wholesale electricity prices drop 60 per cent

Wholesale power prices dropped by 60 per cent in the past 12 months, according to recent figures from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

Amber Electric co-founder and CEO Dan Adams said the recent increase to power bills was actually a delayed response to increased wholesale prices last year.

“Wholesale prices increased a lot last year and the big retailers ended up losing hundreds of millions of dollars last year,” Adams told Yahoo Finance.

“So, they are basically putting up their prices this year to recoup those losses that they made last year. [It] is really passing those costs onto customers at a moment in time where we are all facing higher energy bills and higher cost of living. It doesn’t feel quite fair that they are passing their losses onto everyday households this year.”

To save on bills, Adams recommended Aussies look into replacing their big energy-use items - including heating and cooling and hot water systems - with more energy-efficient options.

He also recommended people use energy-monitoring devices, such as Powerpal, to read their real-time usage so they can find ways to reduce their overall consumption or shift their usage to cheaper times of the day.

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