A friend recently posted on her Facebook page her latest power bill with a bit of a whinge about the price of electricity. Her's was modest, so she asked others what their last bill was. There were some that were below $200 and some as high as $1200 for a quarter. I was shocked when Kim showed me, as they were blaming everything from the carbon tax (which is yet to start in July, so has no effect yet), to greedy energy companies, and I even saw one person blame those who have installed solar PV on their roofs and the GreenPower scheme! Not one single person took accountability for their own actions and had tried to conserve electricity through energy efficiency.
I was not surprised about the blame mentality, seeing that the media has been on a bit of a rampage of misinformation lately regarding high electricity prices. The main reason behind the rising cost of our electricity is that the power distributors are having to replace aging grid infrastructure and expand it for the rapidly rising demand from the residential sector.
As for the network costs, did you know that for every $1000 split system air-conditioner a home owner installs, our power distributors have to spend another $7000 in infrastructure, a cost that they pass right back on to the retailers and therefore the consumer.
Currently the carbon price does not have an effect until 1st July, so cannot be blamed for the current high prices. After July, the carbon price is expected to give a 9% increase, however the majority of Australians will be compensated via the scheme, which will more than likely over compensate for the cost increase effect on electricity prices. You can check what effect the carbon price will have on your household budget at the Clean Energy Future website.
Now I have a simple solution for all of this, and that is to use less. Not that hard really, and I have been doing and writing about it for years. So on to my bill for the quarter.
As we are fairly energy efficient, we are currently hovering around 12 kWh per day. The swimming pool and air conditioning for Kim for this quarter has pushed up the average a bit, but it will go down now we are nearly in winter. Since we applied for the Premium feed-in tariff, we have been in credit ever since.
This bill is nothing to whinge about and will be the highest for the entire year due to summer.
Yes, that is $223.38 in credit. We used 1152 kWh from the grid in 93 days, and generated 476.4 kWh. Like I mentioned, we could have used less, but for air-con and the pool pump.
Now for the natural gas bill. The price of natural gas has risen as well, and our bills had been quite high.
This bill is for two months usage. Our retailer has dropped the network fee, and added it into the per MJ cost.
Thankfully is has gone down dramatically. Have a look at the graph below, and I will explain why.
Our solar hot water service had broke around June last year (we think). As I wasn't monitoring the bills I didn't notice the baseline rise in energy usage. Yes, I should have been watching the bills, but Kim is the one that pays them, so I just thought they were as low as they usually were. However, due to the broken solar hot water service, all of our hot water was using natural gas to heat it. The solar hot water systems was fixed back in January after two months of service calls, where they didn't really know what was wrong, even though the initial fault was a burnt out pump, they had to replace every electrical component. The control board was stuffed, as were the two sensors on the tank and the panel.
So you can see on the graph that since it was fixed our gas bills have fallen dramatically, and our daily average is back where it should be! Our usage is now mainly for cooking.
In summary, if you switch solar for electricity and hot water and do away with fossil fuels, you should never have issues with energy bills again and you will reduce your green house gas emissions. The only thing you then need to keep an eye on is your own usage, which makes all the difference.
Got to love the Sun!