Why we get hot and both­ered

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - AN­THONY KEANE

HEATED dis­cus­sions about en­ergy use habits are tak­ing place in nearly half of Aus­tralian house­holds as win­ter elec­tric­ity bills bite.

A new study by com­parethe­mar­ket. com. au shows 43 per cent of cou­ples ar­gue about turn­ing up the heat­ing, while one- third of peo­ple be­lieve their part­ner is waste­ful with elec­tric­ity.

It found the 45- to- 54 age group ap­peared to bicker the most about en­ergy costs.

“This age group tends to have high en­ergy- us­age homes, with teenagers’ com­put­ers, ad­di­tional tele­vi­sions and other gad­gets suck­ing up ex­tra power,” Abi­gail Koch, com­parethe­mar­ket. com. au spokes­woman, said.

Leav­ing lights on was the big­gest com­plaint, while women were more likely to change their be­hav­iour by putting on ex­tra cloth­ing.

Stephanie Lund and Paul Kor­nel moved in to­gether this year and have found en­ergy habits can cause con­flict.

“Our first power bill since mov­ing in to­gether was re­ally high, so I’ve be­come more aware of how much en­ergy we’re us­ing,” Ms Lund said.

“It drives me crazy that Paul still leaves the lights and TV on even if we’re in an­other room. He thinks I’m nag­ging but I think I’m sav­ing us money. I don’t want to be hit by a big end- of- win­ter bill.”

Ms Koch said peo­ple could lower win­ter elec­tric­ity costs by:

• the use of hot wa­ter in dish­wash­ers and wash­ing ma­chines, and hav­ing shorter show­ers;

• en­ergy- sav­ing light bulbs were in­stalled;

• off ap­pli­ances at the wall to save an ex­tra 10 per cent a year, and;

• their ex­ist­ing elec­tric­ity con­tract at least once a year.

She said most dis­counts on con­tracts ran for 12- month pe­ri­ods. “If you don’t con­tact your elec­tric­ity provider, your agree­ment will au­to­mat­i­cally re­vert back to the stan­dard rate, which is the most ex­pen­sive.”

Ori­gin En­ergy spokesman Stu­art Os­bourne said peo­ple could re­duce en­ergy use con­flict by switch­ing to fixed price en­ergy plans, while those with smart me­ters — rolling out across Aus­tralia — could look at them to po­ten­tially spot cost sav­ings and set­tle ar­gu­ments.

“Other op­tions would be to have a con­ver­sa­tion about the im­pact of wast­ing en­ergy around the home — in terms of money and car­bon foot­print — or go around the house switch­ing lights off, which I of­ten do, and turn­ing ap­pli­ances off at the wall, which I also do,” he said.

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