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Surging energy bills forcing Aussies to make drastic changes

Right: Bathroom shower head with running water. Left: Woman turning on air conditioner with remote
New research has found some Aussies are resorting to big lifestyle changes amid rapidly rising energy costs. (Source: Getty Images)

Aussies struggling to keep up with the rising cost of living are going to great lengths to save on their energy bills, including skipping showers altogether.

New research from Mitsubishi Electric Australia has revealed a staggering 90 per cent of Australians are concerned about rising energy bills, which government modelling predicts will surge by 50 per cent next year.

The investigation, which was conducted in partnership with YouGov, uncovered the surprising sacrifices being made to cut costs.

More than half of those surveyed had ditched their dryer, opting instead to air dry their laundry.

Almost 40 per cent of people were switching off their appliances and 31 per cent admitted to either limiting the length of their shower or even skipping it altogether.

Meanwhile, one in 10 households were taking the time to frequently switch providers in a bid to make the most of advertised deals and honeymoon rates.

Working-from-home costs on the rise

The news comes as 61 per cent of Aussies continue to spend more time at home than before the pandemic, with more than 40 per cent of employed people now regularly working remotely, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

EnergyAustralia recently hiked prices for residential customers by 5.5 per cent in Victoria, 17.9 per cent in New South Wales,14.9 per cent in South Australia,18.9 per cent in Queensland and 13.3 per cent in the ACT.

Aussies 'on edge'

Brisbane resident Erika Rutledge describes herself as an "avid energy saver" who is always turning off lights and timing her showers. But the 35-year-old has recently found her efforts have stopped making an impact.

"My bills keep rising," she told Yahoo Finance. "Since living with a housemate two years ago, my energy bills have increased drastically. I am paying almost double the price living alone than when I was with a housemate using double the electricity.”

Left: Erika Rutledge. Right: Australian cash
Brisbane resident Erika Rutledge has been working from home in the dark in a bid to reduce her power bill. (Source: Supplied, Getty Images)

Rutledge said she struggled to enjoy being at home now despite spending the majority of her time there.

“Now, I'm working from home in the dark and refusing to turn the air conditioning on, even when it's 35 degrees with 90 per cent humidity in my Queensland home," she said.

"You don't realise how much prices have increased until you look back and compare. My home is where I spend the majority of my personal life, and all I want is to be able to enjoy my space without worry, but with the current cost of my energy bills, I feel like I'm constantly on edge when at home."

Confusing energy labels

The research by Mitsubishi Electric suggests many of us find it challenging to understand which products are the most energy efficient in keeping both costs and impact on the environment down.

Nearly half (52 per cent) admitted to finding it difficult to understand differences between energy-efficiency claims on products.

"Shoppers should seek expert advice when purchasing appliances to ensure they are energy efficient, to help keep their energy bills down," Jessica Millard from Mitsubishi Electric told Yahoo Finance.

"The running costs of appliances can vary dramatically, based on the make and model, so it is important to understand Zoned Energy Rating labels, which make it simple to select the most energy-efficient air conditioners.”

How to cut energy costs

Millard recommended automating appliances, where possible, in the home to have them switch off automatically.

Meanwhile, Jean-Marc Adele, Mitsubishi Electric's home appliance product manager, also urged Aussies to look at how they were using their appliances.

"A poorly stacked fridge can affect its cooling capabilities and, in turn, the freshness and taste of your food," he explained to Yahoo Finance.

"Fridges need internal breathing to maintain a uniform temperature and keep your food fresher for longer. When fridges are overstocked and there is no space between items on the shelves, circulation of air is reduced, which forces the compressor to work harder and this can increase the running costs and your energy bill."

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