It’s a constant struggle for pensioners to budget their living expenses. This is especially true when the costs of living escalate beyond planned budgets. Today’s senior Australians were certainly no strangers to the need for being thrifty and penny-wise. Yet even so, ever escalating prices, particularly electricity prices, means a limited budget has to stretch beyond reason.
Take electricity for example. The exponential increase in electricity supply rates has affected everybody. A recent article in Australian Financial Review (here) suggests we pay the highest electricity rates in the world. Certainly in Queensland we pay a very high tariff compared to most developed nations. It beggars belief that in our resource rich country, with so much space for solar and wind power, we are hamstrung by coal and gas prices.
There is a suggestion that many homes are paying too much because of expired contracts, which then fall back onto “standing” rate agreements, and of course, those seem to be the most expensive. There are cheaper deals on hand, it’s just that most of us don’t realise it and muddle through trying to just put up with it. Malcolm Turnbull is said to be meeting with energy chiefs to discuss this matter (article).
Take matters in hand! Here are a few things you can do to reduce your energy costs.
- Firstly, give your energy retailer a call and ask whether there are any cheaper deals available.
- Shop around – there is more than one retailer so it’s worth doing the legwork.
- Check if your energy retailer is giving you a senior concession rebate. Here is origin’s information about rebates. If you qualify there is approximately $300 saving.
- Lastly, make sure you are using energy efficiently in your home.
- Use LED lightbulbs
- Use off peak electricity for your hot water system. The upfront costs can mean a big saving over time.
- Use a fridge and freezer that is an appropriate size for your needs. Any bigger is just money down the drain.
- Turn off lights when you leave the room.
- Turn off switches at the powerpoint.
- Use a small kettle if there are only one or two of you.
- Use solar powered lighting in your external/garden areas.
- Use a cold wash cycle on your washing machine, particularly if you are using an electric storage hot water system.