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This one simple change could cut 7 in 10 energy bills

Some areas of the country have been hit with energy price hikes as high as 30 per cent.

Compilation image of Nicole at a desk and power grid lines to represent energy bills
Some Aussies can get relief on their next energy bills. (Source: supplied/Getty) (Samantha Menzies)

People will soon get ‘electric’ shocks all over the country as the next energy bills land, with overnight hikes of up to 30 per cent inflicting yet more hip-pocket hurt on Aussies already struggling with the increased cost of living.

The payment pain varies depending on where you live. Energy rices increased 20-25 per cent in NSW, South-East Queensland and South Australia from July 1, 2023, while Victorians will face a higher average increase of 25 per cent.

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In fact, increased prices have already been reported by more than 70 per cent of Victorians, with one in three experiencing price hikes above 25 per cent and one in five reporting 30 per cent or more per kwh (kilowatt-hour).

But analysis of the experience of these hardest-hit Aussie consumers has revealed one move that could bring big tariff relief. A simple, smart, switch-of-supplier-type move.

How 1 in 7 could cut their bill

Data obtained exclusively by Yahoo Finance from Victorian Powerpal users has determined that seven out of 10 Victorians could reduce their energy bills by switching from a traditional electricity supplier to a wholesale one.

By analysing the rates and usage habits of 10,000 Victorians impacted by the recent price hikes, Powerpal has been able to determine the extent that customers are affected by cost increases today, versus how much they could reduce their bill by purchasing energy wholesale. The bottom line is that wholesale prices give you more control of your own bottom line.

Firstly, wholesale prices actually dipped 59 per cent in the 2022-23 financial year, according to the Australian Energy Market Operator, and are forecast to fall further. Secondly, prices become cheaper again at times of the day when most power grid generation is coming from renewables like wind and solar. In other words, when the ‘grid is green’, Aussies have the potential to reduce their bill further.

So ‘load-shifting’ – being mindful about the time of day to use energy-hungry appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, dryers, air conditioning or other high-consumption appliances - is highly effective with a wholesale-priced energy supplier.

The best ‘power play’ is to load-shift your energy consumption to the middle of the day and late at night when prices are lower, so this is a great opportunity for people who don’t have solar at home and/or work at home. And there is more you can do to get savvy about your power strategy too.

4 more steps to contain your power costs

You can be further in control of your power bill with these four extra strategies:

1. Upgrade your stuff to sweet energy-savers: As they break, look to replace old power-guzzling gadgets with new energy-efficient ones. Look for appliances with five stars on their energy-rating sticker. With power prices now so much higher, the investment could be well worth the savings on your power bill down the road.

2. Lights? Go energy-light LED: Time to say goodbye to old-school light bulbs and hello to LEDs. These use less energy, last longer, and don't get hot (in fact, they may even be safer than your old bulbs). Yes, these also cost a bit more to begin with, but you won't have to keep replacing them, and your wallet will thank you.

3. Ignore the energy suckers: You probably have devices that are consuming power even when they're snoozing. Did you know that leaving appliances on at the wall unnecessarily can add up to 10 per cent more onto your electricity bill? Unplug everything you can and power down your computer and gadgets when you're not using them – standby mode isn't as energy-innocent as it looks.

4. Get watt-wise: Tiny tweaks to your habits could make an enormous difference to your electricity expense. These things are rudimentary but powerful. We all know to switch off lights when you leave a room but heating and cooling adds excessively to your bill too, so let the sun warm your house in the day and also nudge your thermostat up or down a little to make a decent dent in your bill. And forget the energy-intensive clothes dryer; again, the sun is free.

Switch to wholesale, load shift, and mix up the above power tricks and, regardless of the hikes, you could bank savings on your next electricity bill.

Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon is the author of How to Get Mortgage-Free Like Me, available at Follow Nicole on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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