Tips to reduce your electricity bill
Know your bill
Electricity bills from different electricity retailers all look a little bit different, but they all contain the same information. Understanding your electricity bill will help you choose an electricity plan that suits your family’s energy needs.
Find your account details
- Your name, address, account number and NMI (National Meter Identifier) will be on the front page of your bill.
- You will need your account number if you want to call your retailer to discuss a cheaper electricity plan.
Know what electricity plan you are on
- Look for a heading or section on your bill called Energy Plan, Tariff Type, Current Agreement (or similar).
- If the name of your plan is Standing Offer or Standard Tariff (or similar), it means you are on your electricity retailer’s generic or base plan.
- Standing Offer plans are typically not as competitive as plans that offer discounts.
- Market Offer plans will often include discounts and typically use words like Saver, Discount or Flexi.
- The maximum amount a retailer can charge a customer on a standard retail contract is set by the Australian Energy Regulator each year (known as the Default Market Offer).
How to find a better electricity plan
- As an electricity customer, you are encouraged to shop around for a better price.
- You can use the Energy Made Easy website to compare offers from electricity and gas retailers servicing your area.
Check your electricity bill amount and due date
- This part of the electricity bill shows how much you have to pay and by when.
- Make sure you take note of your bill due date, as some electricity plans have a fee for late payment.
Understand usage and charges
- All day electricity usage charge may be referred to on your bill as: Any time usage, Peak Consumption charge or Residential Tariff.
- Your electricity plan might also have a lower price for using electricity at Off-peak times which could be referred to as an Economy Tariff of Controlled Load usage.
- Off-peak is the part of the day when most homes are not using much electricity (e.g. middle of the day or very late at night). Many hot water systems may be on an off-peak or controlled load tariff.
- Electric appliances connected to an economy, off-peak or controlled load tariff are charged a lower fee for using energy outside of peak times.
- The supply charge covers the cost of getting electricity to your house (through the poles and wires) and is not based on how much energy you use. The supply charge could also be referred to as the Daily Supply Charge or Service to Property Charge.
- Your electricity bill will also have a section to show discounts you are entitled to on your plan, Solar feed-in tariff and any rebates or concessions (if eligible). Discounts depend on what type of plan you are on but might include pay-on-time discounts, a percentage discount off your total bill, or discounts for paying by direct debit.
- Most electricity companies also display a graph or image to help you compare your electricity usage to other similar homes in your area.
- Find out more about supply charge, usage charge and demand charge.
Economy electricity tariffs
- Economy Tariff 31 is for hot water systems and is available for up to 8 hours each day for customers connected to the Ergon or Energex electricity distribution networks.
- Economy Tariff 33 is available for up to 18 hours a day and rewards customers connected to the Ergon or Energex electricity distribution networks for using electricity outside peak demand times (4pm-8pm).
Save energy around the home
Energy efficient appliances
Appliances can be responsible for a lot of the energy consumption in your home.
Buying a new fridge, washing machine, clothes dryer or air conditioner that is water or energy efficient may cost a little more, but it will save you money on running costs in the longer term.
For more information, visit the Energy Rating website.
Lowering your energy usage and considering off-peak options (i.e. economy or time-of-use tariffs) are 2 of the cheapest and easiest ways to reduce your electricity bill.
Note: Switching an appliance not already connected to an economy tariff will incur costs for your electrician to install a new meter. Consider the long term benefits of switching to an economy tariff, including the payback period to recover all associated costs.
To make the biggest energy savings, you should focus on how to best use the appliances that use the most energy (e.g. refrigerator, washing machine, clothes dryer, dishwasher, air conditioner).
Follow these tips and read our energy efficiency guide for information about how you can save on your energy bills.
Water heating and laundry
- Ensure your electric hot water is on a controlled load (off-peak) tariff.
- Use cold water for laundry combined with a suitable cold water detergent.
- Fully load the washing machine, set to economy wash to save on energy use.
- Clean the clothes dryer lint filter after every load and don’t mix light and heavy clothes together, as they take different amounts of time to dry fully.
- Avoid using the dryer where possible. Instead use the sun or an indoor rack placed near a sunny window to dry clothes.
Air conditioning and heating
- For every 1 degree of extra cooling or heating it could increase your electricity usage by around 5% to10%.
- Open your windows and doors to create cross breezes and use fans to circulate the cool air.
- Close your doors, windows, curtains and blinds in areas you want to cool or heat, so the air stays inside.
- For cooling, set your air conditioner temperature between 24°C and 26°C.
- For heating, set your air conditioner temperature between 18°C and 20°C.
- Clean your air conditioner filter twice a year to ensure it runs as efficiently as possible.
- Your refrigerator uses the most energy because it cycles on and off all day, every day.
- Limit the time the fridge door is open, this will keep the food inside cold.
- Clean seals on the fridge and freezer and replace if they do not seal adequately.
- Fill up your dishwasher completely and use an economy setting.
- Turn off small appliances at the power point when not in use.
- Choose more energy efficient appliances when shopping.
- Household lighting represents about 6% of electricity costs in Queensland homes.
- Reduce your lighting costs by more than 80% by replacing old light bulbs with more energy efficient options like LED or compact fluorescent lamps. These options also last 5 to 10 times longer.
- Place reading lamps near chairs to avoid lighting up the whole room.
- Open curtains and blinds to use natural lighting during the day.
TV and entertainment
- Switch off the TV and other entertainment appliances at the wall when nobody is using them. Note: Some electronic devices can’t be turned off because that would disrupt recording programs you’ve set up.
Standby is still using power
- Turn everything off at the wall, as your appliances use power even when not in use.
- Turn off phone chargers, tablet chargers and gaming consoles, as these also use standby power.
Lowering your usage also reduces pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and the need for further infrastructure development.
Queensland has a range of gas and electricity rebates and concessions that are available to eligible concession card holders, such as pensioners and seniors.
To find out more about eligibility and how to you can apply, visit www.qld.gov.au and search for ‘energy concessions’.
Examples of some rebates
- Electricity and gas rebates – available to eligible concession card holders, including pensioners and seniors and Health Care Card holders living in Queensland.
- Rebates for customers living in residential home parks and multi-unit residential premises - owners or proprietors of residential home parks or multi-unit residences must advise eligible residents about these rebates and claim on their behalf.
- Read the electricity rebates and concessions fact sheet .
- Home energy emergency assistance scheme - one-off emergency assistance for households experiencing problems paying their energy bills as a result of an unforeseen emergency or a short-term financial crisis.
- Electricity life support - concessions for eligible people who are seriously ill and use a home-based oxygen concentrator or kidney dialysis machine.
- Medical cooling and heating electricity concession scheme - helps with electricity costs for people who have a chronic medical condition which is aggravated by changes in temperature.
- Drought relief from electricity charges scheme - relief from electricity supply charges on accounts that are used to pump water for farm or irrigation purposes, available in drought-declared areas or if your property has been drought-declared.
Find out more
- Your Energy Savings provides tips about how to save energy and understand your bill.
- Ergon Energy’s household energy use calculator can help you identify the highest energy using areas of your home.
- Energex’s and Ergon Energy’s demand management programs can save you money.
- Your Home website can help you make energy efficient decisions when buying, building or renovating.
- Digital meters can help you monitor and understand your electricity consumption.
- Resources about managing energy and water use.