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How this woman scored $1,300 a year without working

Teresa Quinn of Sydney, in her home office.
Teresa Quinn saved $1,300 annually on her power bill from running a house with a home office and night shift worker husband. (Image: supplied)

A Sydney woman has revealed how she clawed in $1,300 a year after just a few minutes online.

Teresa Quinn and her family live in a large 5-bedroom house in the suburb of Kellyville Ridge in northwest Sydney.

Quinn runs her own business from home while her husband works night shifts. So the house is always full of activity, long before other Australians started doing the same to isolate from the coronavirus.

A high level of electricity is used to maintain a large house for 24 hours a day. The last quarterly invoice was a whopping $1,233.17, which equates to almost $5,000 per year.

Quinn had had enough.

"The last bill was really, really, really high," she told Yahoo Finance.

"So I went onto EnergyIQ and popped my bill into the website. And they told me how much I could save."

The deal Quinn ended up switching to brings the quarterly total down to $901.86 – meaning she earns more than $1,300 a year for a few minutes effort.

Electricity plans are notoriously difficult to compare, with different retailers offering discounts on numerous incomparable criteria – such as off-peak hours, pay-on-time, as well as the tariff itself.

"With electricity bills, it is all but impossible for customers to know whether their discounted price really represents a good deal. This is because the discounts are ludicrously complicated – as are the base prices themselves," Victoria Energy Policy Centre director Bruce Mountain told The Conversation.

"If it’s not easy to compare, customers may not realise if they’ve been duped."

Mountain said large businesses have the resources to perform complex calculations to analyse complicated pricing structures and work out the best power deal for them. But residential customers have no such luxury.

Recently launched tools like EnergyIQ aim to bridge that gap.

A screenshot of EnergyIQ showing how much Teresa Quinn saved from switching electricity provider.
EnergyIQ showing how much Teresa Quinn saved on her electricity bill. (Image: supplied)

Quinn said that she and her family previously tried to reduce their power usage through moderating their cooling and heating usage.

"It wasn't really making that much difference."

But now the bill has been reduced drastically without behavioural change.

"I've told my friends about it and they're really interested… They will pop in their own bills to see how much they can save."

While Quinn's saving is an extreme example, EnergyIQ chief executive Ross Sharman previously said users were pocketing an average of $212.47 annually after switching.

EnergyIQ only lists renewable electricity plans, which surprises some people when they end up significantly reducing their bill.

"We have already passed the tipping point in Australia with both solar and wind being cheaper sources of electricity than coal," said Sharman.

"Australians that want to reduce their emissions will find the added bonus that for many there will also be savings to be had."

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