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5 ways to help take control of your power usage this winter

4 min read

June 11, 2019

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:

  1. 1

    1. Check out your appliance wattage on the sticker

  2. 2

    2. Take the wattage and divide by 1000 to change it to kilowatts

  3. 3

    3. In the app head to the menu section and click on ‘Your rates’ to find your c/kWh usage rate.

  4. 4

    4. 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 2.4 = 53.16 ÷ 100 = 0.53
Cost per hour to run | $0.53

If you have a gas heater:

  1. 1

    1. Check the usage on the label (this should be MJ).

  2. 2

    2. If it’s listed in joules (J/h), divide it by 1,000,000 to convert to megajoules (MJ).

  3. 3

    3. Head to the menu section in your app and click on ‘Your rates’ to find your c/MJh usage rate

  4. 4

    4.Take that rate and multiply it by the megajoule. Divide by 100 to get that in dollars.

Did you follow that? Here’s an example:

1. Check the label | 25MJ
2. Check your rate |  1.81 c/MJ
3. Rate x MJ | 1.81 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!

Powershop is proud to offer electricity and gas plans to Australian properties across Victoria, NSW, South Australia and Queensland. To view the offers we have available, please see our energy plans.