Behaviour change

Tim Forcey: 22 ways to cut your energy bills

How to save money on power bills

This is a headline which should be of interest to everyone!

Beyond Zero's Kay and Michael speaks to Tim Forcey, Energy Advisor, Melbourne Energy Institute, University of Melbourne talks about 22 things you can do to improve your home’s energy performance. And how to reach the ultimate goal of a home heated and powered by 100% renewable electricity. 

My Efficient Electric Home fb group - join us!

Tim has ideas on 22 ways of cutting power bills  and 38% off electricity and gas.  He said there is no economic reason for connection to the gas grid as gas has increased in price 75% over the last  5 years!  To make the production and usage of hot water  go further it is preferable to consider heat pumps and those with smart meters would find it simpler to trace one's usage regularly. It is possible to do this on line for the clever ones (my expression!)

But first on the list is to install LED lights  and thereby  using less power without heating and these are of course now being offered free of  charge. Next it is also a good idea  to ring retailers  to request what discounts are available ot to  threaten to switch if dissatisfied!

But before getting too technical adequate insulation is important  particularly hot water pipes and pressure release valves and a commonsense approach e.g. checking for draughts from old fireplaces and vents and the installatiom of old fashioned drapes and pelmets

Michael raised the question of showerheads which Tim said need not be either giving a satisfying shower or be saving hot water but could be both and if not satisfied could be returned! And that green power is provided by most retailers not only Powershop.

(Summary written by Bev McIntyre)

Further reading:

The Conversation: 22 ways to cut your energy bills (before spending on solar panels)

Presentation: Tim Forcey: How to cheaply and comfortably heat your home with renewable energy

Why are we buying insurance from power companies?

By Richard Keech

Much has been said in the discussion about the introduction of smart meters. According to Michael West in the Sydney Morning Herald, “smart meters and ‘flexible pricing’ merely shift the business risk from the company to the consumer”.

This entirely misses the point that shielding consumers from the price volatility is counter-productive. In our electricity generation system, wholesale energy is traded on an open market where the laws of supply and demand dictate prices from minute to minute. However the consumer is shielded from dynamic price changes, contributing to ridiculous wholesale price spikes for a few hours per year. Sometimes peak price can be more than one hundred times the typical off-peak price.

So ‘protecting’ consumers from dynamic pricing is a reason why the wholesale price is so unstable in the first place. The wholesale price volatility would be reduced if consumers are exposed to the price. This  would also lead to lower peak demand, therefore less peak-time generating capacity has to sit idle most of the time.

So yes, at present the power retailers do assume peak pricing risk, but in return they extract from every consumer a significant premium built in to the everyday price of electricity. Since we pay them a premium in return for avoiding some risk, that puts our power retailers in the insurance business.

As a power consumer, I would love to avoid paying that risk premium for the 99 per cent of hours when wholesale price is low to moderate. So West’s proposition that flexible pricing is a way of the power companies to offload risk misses the point that there is significant potential for lower everyday prices through the paring back of the risk premium that gets passed to consumers in power tariffs.

Beyond Zero interviews Vandana Shiva, physicist and environmental activist, about climate change in India and China

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