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How Aussie dad halved his energy bills: ‘Win-win’

It’s now easier than ever to find better deals and switch energy plans.

Image of Jim Bua and family and Australian money notes. Family energy bills.
Dad-of-three Jim Bua has slashed his family’s energy bills. (Source: Supplied/Getty)

Jim Bua has halved his family-of-five’s electricity bills after switching to solar and implementing a few savvy changes around the house.

The Melbourne nurse and his family are big energy users, and Jim’s parents also live with his family in their five-bedroom house.

Jim installed solar panels six months ago and said he wanted to lower his energy bill and reduce his carbon footprint.

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“We got the rebate from the government and it was around $7,000 because we have an 8 kilowatt system,” Jim told Yahoo Finance.

“I’ll make that up over time but there is maintenance. I’m thinking in the end I’m going to win out of it but also I am doing it for the environment.”

Jim and his family have also been switching over from gas. The family recently installed a split-system air conditioner to replace their current gas ducted heating system.

Jim Bua and family.
Jim has also been switching over from gas. (Source: Supplied)

“I’ve noticed even in winter, and now that I’m heating the house with electricity with the split-system rather than gas, my bills are still cheaper than what they were in summer. So it’s a win-win for me,” Jim said.

The family will soon be installing an induction cooktop and switching their gas hot water system to a heat pump.

Other things they are doing around the house include installing insulation under the house, physically rugging up more and little things like making sure all the lights are turned off.

‘Better informed’

Through ‘open energy’, Jim has also been able to monitor his home’s energy consumption and energy generation, which prompted him to switch over to a cheaper provider.

“Just to have that information empowers me to be able to make better informed decisions,” he said.

Aussies are now able to access their own energy data, known as ‘open energy’, following the extension of the Consumer Data Right to the energy sector.

Similar to open banking, this allows customers to share their data with third parties accredited by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to help them find and switch to the best energy deals.

Solar Analytics is Australia’s first consumer service provider to connect to open energy, which is an “opt-in” scheme. It said it would help customers reduce their bills by at least $400 a year.

“Open energy empowers consumers to more easily share their data to get a better deal on a range of energy products and services,” Solar Analytics CEO Stefan Jarnason said.

“Every Australian will be in for a shock when they open their next electricity bill, with prices expected to soar by 20 per cent for some households, but do you know how much you could save with smarter energy appliances? Or what the biggest energy guzzlers in your home are? It’s been near impossible to access that data before now.”

Currently, only customers from AGL, Origin and EnergyAustralia are eligible to sign up for open energy. However, by the end of the year, all retailers with more than 10,000 customers will be compelled to have joined.

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