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5 ways to take control of your power usage this winter

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5 ways to take control of your power usage this winter
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Okay, we hate to state the absolute obvious but it is COLD! Like you can feel it in your bones type cold.

Winter has hit us with a frosty force, so now is as good a time as any to get on top of your usage so you aren’t stung in the winter months.

At Powershop, we don’t want our customers to feel out of control when they’re managing their energy usage. So we do everything in our power to help our customers feel in the know during the chilly months. Follow these tips and before you know it, you can snuggle up guilt free this winter.

1. Get to know when your gas meter is read

If you have gas heating in your house then gaining greater transparency over your usage is key to avoiding bill shock. Gas meters are typically read once every two months.

This means that every other month is an estimated reading and bills can often be lower than your actual usage, especially if it’s become colder and you’re cranking the heating. When your gas meter is read again you may receive a higher bill than you have in the previous month to make up for the additional usage.

To manage this, you can manually enter your gas meter reading at the same time each month in the Powershop app. This means that the amount you’ll be charged each month is spot on to your usage – no nasty surprises!

Not sure how to read your meter? Check out How do I read my meter in our help centre.

2. Know what appliances use what power and how much

Electric heaters (oil, column, panel, fan, ceramic and radiant) are notorious for being the most expensive to run. Gas heating (ducted and convention) often comes in second, while the most energy efficient is usually reverse cycle air conditioning on heat mode.

Take a look at what heating you use in your house and follow these steps to figure out the cost to run them per hour – then you know how much you’re spending per hour of use!

If you have an electric heater

Illustration of a heater with the wattage amount1. Check out your appliance wattage on the sticker

Illustration of calculator with the equation2. Take the wattage and divide by 1000 to change it to kilowatts

Illustration of a phone with the app menu showing where to find Your Rates3. In the app head to the menu section and click on ‘Your rates’ to find your c/kWh usage rate.

Illustration of calculator and equation4. Take that rate and multiply it by the kilowatt. Then divide the result by 100 to change from cents to dollars.

Did you follow that? Here's an example:

1. Check the wattage | 2400 watts
2. Convert to kW | 2400 ÷ 1000 = 2.4 kilowatts
3. Check your rate |  22.16 c/Kwh
4. Rate x kilowatts | 22.16 x 2.4 = 53.16 ÷ 100 = 0.53
Cost per hour to run | $0.53

If you have a gas heater

Illustration of a heater with the wattage amount1. Check the usage on the label (this should be MJ).

Illustration of calculator with the equation(Extra) If it’s listed in joules (J/h), divide it by 1,000,000 to convert to megajoules (MJ).

Illustration of a phone with the app menu showing where to find Your Rates2. Head to the menu section in your app and click on ‘Your rates’ to find your c/MJh usage rate

Illustration of calculator and equation 3.Take that rate and multiply it by the megajoule. Divide by 100 to get that in dollars.

Here's an example:

1. Check the label | 25MJ
2. Check your rate |  1.81 c/MJ
3. Rate x MJ | 1.81 x 25 = 45.25 ÷ 100 = 0.45
Cost per hour to run | $0.45

Please note that these calculations don’t include your daily supply charge. Calculations will vary depending time of use tariffs.

If you’re in the market for a new heater, always check out the energy efficiency rating. If this isn’t listed, have a look for the energy input figure. You can then determine how much it costs to run the heater per hour from our handy calculation above!

3. Think first round defence

It’s all well and good to blast the heater when the night gets cold but taking time to think about the small things you can do to make you more comfortable can significantly lower your energy usage. For example:

  • Have a hot shower and pop some warm wooly socks on, after all, who really needs an excuse to chuck on trackies and a hoodie while snuggling a hot water bottle.
  • Double check your windows to make sure they’re not cracked open and make sure you’re preventing draughts with door snakes.
  • If you have a ceiling fan, turn it on the lowest setting while your heating is on to circulate the warmth as hot air rises.

4. Track your usage and get a smart meter

Don’t forget that the Powershop app and online tools are there for you to take advantage of! If your heating is electric and you have a smart meter, you can track your usage in daily and half hourly breakdowns. If not, this is something we can sort for you, often at no extra cost to you.

5. Long term home efficiencies

If you own your own home there are always investments to consider that will have long term positive impacts on your usage. Insulation, double glazing and heavier curtains all work to keep houses warmer in winter and cooler in summer. While investing in all of these options might be a bit hefty, you can always consider one option every few years.

So pop the kettle on, don the trackies and relax – you’ve got your winter usage under control!

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9 comments on "5 ways to take control of your power usage this winter"
  1. Peter Schoen, June 18, 2019:

    I was hoping to see what an AC Inverter costs or uses per hour, my Fujitsu BTW is rated to be with a 6 star efficiency, its a mid range size of 3 Kw for both cooling and heating, and it heats/Cools the entire “3 bedroom” home to around 19 degrees Celsius 24/7″, and it seems it uses a steady 280 watts, But when its bitterly cold though lets say below “9 degrees Celsius” it jumps up now and then up to 500 watts, also in summer when it gets over 35 degrees Celsius it jumps up above 1Kilo watt.. It’s been a while since it was installed and I am wondering whether I could do better what with technology and efficiencies always improving.

    • Monica, June 18, 2019:

      Hey Peter! Its great that you’re so aware of what your appliances are doing in the summer in the winter. You can follow the steps to determine what your appliance uses per hour in each of those situations based on the watts. You can also track your half hourly usage with our app if you have a smart meter installed (if not this is something we can also help you with), this will also let you know how much you’re using and what its costing, and help you understand if they need any maintenance or an upgrade. The more you’re in the know, the better your decisions can be. Thanks! Monica

  2. Richard, July 15, 2019:

    Hi folks. Yes winter is upon us and it is at this moment significantly cold in Victoria at present. Thanks for your suggestions re keeping warm at this time of the year. The comment re wearing trackies, hoodie ‘n all, is the form here, I am sure, in country Victoria. With the mercury hitting below zero on some nights recently, such attire is mandatory. A hot shower before bed works well too. Importantly get the highest rating doona you can. And comfortable woolly socks definitely. In addition, have something to eat, a light meal, just before retiring for the night. This might not suit everyone, however, by ‘stoking the boiler’ and then getting into bed, I have found it better than anything for an immediate rush of warmth from the the body core, which should get you off to the land of nod in no time. It may not work for everyone, but it is worth a try. Cheers

  3. Janine Cribb, July 26, 2019:

    Can I ask what “dedicated circuit” means on my account please? I understand that it partly refers to my hot water system and off peak re-heating, but what other appliances might be dedicated and how can I manage this?

    • Powershop, September 10, 2019:

      Hey Janine, great to hear you’re keen to manage your dedicated appliances. We can’t determine on our end what appliances are wired to a dedicated circuit as every house is wired differently – this is a job for an electrician. They can help you determine what appliances are wired to your dedicated circuit to help you better manage your usage. Thanks!

  4. Lesley, June 3, 2020:

    Hi, can you please provide the specific TIME PERIODS in Winter from MON – FRI; & on SAT – SUN,
    when :-

    • PEAK RATES apply (Start & Finish)



    Knowing these will help a great deal in cost saving. Can the various times which apply according to each Season also be included as Standard information that can easily be accessed for the benefit of your Customers in future ? Your app contains the cost but not the actual time periods? Thanks. Lesley

    • Powershop, July 2, 2020:

      Hey Lesley – Great feedback, we’ll consider it for the future. In the meantime, it’s best to give us a call on 1800 462 668 and we can go through the time periods with you so you can get the most from your savings. Cheers!

  5. Mike Groome, July 16, 2021:

    Is it usual to have the highest consumption at night, therefore hws, at winter or is it possibly an inefficient hws?

    • rosemary.wannan, August 19, 2021:

      Hey Mike, depending on the type of hot water system you have this could be the case. Give us a call on 1800 462 668 so we can help you out with this.

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