Australians can expect to see a $100 hike in their annual energy costs, adding pressure to already-strained household budgets as the cost of living soars.
According to the latest report from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), wholesale electricity prices have more than doubled in the past 12 months.
With wholesale energy prices making up around 30-40 per cent of consumer energy bills, AEMO expects providers to pass on higher costs to customers, come July, when electricity prices are reset.
Finder energy expert Mariam Gabaji said unstable global market conditions were pushing up the price of coal.
She said states like Queensland and NSW were likely to be hit hardest due to their dependency on black coal, with southern states likely to be better insulated from price hikes due to the higher penetration of clean energy.
According to Finder’s Consumer Sentiment Tracker, one in five Australians said their energy bills were one of the expenses causing them the most stress.
How to keep your energy costs down
Shopping around is one of the best ways to keep energy bills down.
Finder analysis showed that switching energy providers could save households up to $415 each year.
Gabaji said there were two different types of energy plans on the market: those offering fixed rates for a certain period (such as 12 months) or others that had variable rates.
“If you don’t like switching electricity plans often, in search of the cheapest variable rates, you’re likely to benefit from a fixed-rate plan instead,” Gabaji said.
“However, keep in mind one of the best ways to save on energy is by switching your energy provider.”
According to Victorian Premier Dan Andrews, big power companies rely on people not having the time, information or knowledge to switch energy providers to get a better deal.
Other energy-saving tips
Jasper Boyschau, co-founder and COO at Smart Energy, offered some other tips for consumers hoping to save money on energy:
- Unplug or switch off appliances when not using them. Appliances such as microwaves, dishwashers, printers, and phone chargers consume electricity even when they’re not being used.
- Replace old lights with energy-efficient ones. Energy-efficient lights such as LEDs could save you up to 80 per cent on lighting costs.
- Be more intentional with how you wash and dry your clothes. You don’t need to stop washing your clothes entirely but you can save money by making sure you only do full loads of washing and using a clothes line rather than a dryer where possible.
- Shut doors and close the curtains. By shutting doors, this means you can seal off rooms that aren’t in use, and only heat/cool the areas that you actually spend time in.
- Switch to solar energy. With most Australians’ quarterly electricity bill rounding up to about $400, you could be saving more than $27,000 over 15 years if you switch to solar.