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Coping with electricity bills

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    Just wondering how others on limited income cope with quarterly electricity bills?

    Here in SE Qld, the cost of power increased by 10 or 15% recently, and is set ti rise AGAIn in July. It seems that now matter how energy wise we are, we still get a big bill which is hard to pay.

    We have done all the ‘right’ things…..wtaer restricters, energy efficient light globes, turned off fridges etc etc….but it doesn’t seem to help!

    Luckily our power company are willing to set up payment plans/installments. They recommend paying a set amount (average usage) each week/fnight…..but at the moment, we can’t manage to do this.

    I don’t know if there is an answer……just wondering if I am the only one so frustrated by this?????:shrug:


    G’day Smurfy :wave:

    What about turning your power off at the meter when you go to bed, especially easy to do in winter, your fridges should hold over no worries.

    Then you’ll see if there’s any sneaky little power using thingy costing you dosh while you sleep.

    You will not die from this 😆

    In fact, I quite like it when ours goes off at night, I’m sure I can feel the difference, there’s no hum (real or imaginary) just pure peace.


    Smurfy, we have been endeavouring to keep our electricity usage down as much as possible only to have our gains eaten up by these electricity hikes… I think it is an industry in crisis and things will only get worse… :p

    Can you get a little fire area outside and cook on it a few nights a week?… I have been thinking about doing this as we already have a firepit for weekend camp ovens. It has been used for entertainment value more than anything else but the time is coming where I’ll utilizing this way of cooking a lot more… I think this idea comes from Bakers Oven envy…. :shy:

    Also I have seen hand operated washing machines on blogs I visit (mainly American ) where they have 2 metal tubs side by side and a hand winding ringer in the middle… I don’t know if you can purchase them here in Australia. You can always do what Malcolm Douglas does and put your dirty washing, water and powder in a bucket with a watertight lid and cart it around in your boot or on the tractor or maybe even the rideon mower to agitate it….

    With 6 of us (at times) I am trying to recycle clothes usage and only washing the towels once a week instead of twice, stuff like that as I really love my kleenmaid washing machine….

    Take out half the light bulbs in the house especially the ones that keep getting left on when they shouldn’t be. If their not there than they can’t burn power….

    Have baths before the sun goes down…

    Someone had a great idea about bringing in solar garden lights at night and use them as night lights… I must get some as my Border Collie likes to sleep in the hallway and he won’t get out of my way in the dead of night…. :@ I have had a nasty spill and several close shaves…

    I think Tulls idea of turning electricity of at the mains is good… I might try it on the school holidays…. :tup:


    We often use the washing machine at night. I wonder if you can get a switch connected to the off peak supply??

    We got a shocking bill last quarter, more than $100 up. Partly because of the increase and partly because of our heater. Have fixed the heating and finally turned off the second fridge. Will see if that makes a big difference.

    What about using an electric frypan for baking instead of the oven. I’ve been told they use a lot less power. Is that right!!


    Unless you have medical needs/monitors and the like, none of you

    need power 24 hours a day.

    Turn it off for 12 hours, it’s not hard, and do your wallet and the environment a favour. :wave:


    A differnet way to cope is to have $10 a pay go straight to your bill so when you get it, you would have already paid off a large chunk of it.. We do this with most of our bills.. Certainly takes the sting out of quarterly bills and helps budget a little better. Some would argue that you are missing out on interest… Yeah maybe so, but that means you also have the cash availble to you and you are more likely to spend it if you have it 🙂


    Can you shop around for providers.

    There is a website that you can type in your area and it will tell you the best/cheapest provider in your area.

    That may help with money and another company may have freindlier payment options.

    See if I can find that site……..I will be back if I can


    Yep Got it

    Hmmm I think I will spend a bit of time on it in the next week making sure I am getting the best deals too!!


    I’ve only just converted to being a ‘budgeter’ – pulling all the money out on pay day and divying it up – I never would have thought it works so well. There is now money left over at the end of the week.

    It’s weird – but it does work. The $2 per ATM transaction sparked that. Also being a victim of credit card fraud we were forced to live without a credit card for about six weeks and we survived – so once our names were cleared (:@) we never renewed it.

    Who does the best electricity deal?

    What about signing up for the climate smart program – is costs $50, but they find your biggest energy users and that might help you cut back. They also leave a monitor at your place to show where it’s all going.

    Break the electricity in your home up into





    services (clothes dryers, hair dryers etc)

    entertainment (TV, computer, DVDs etc)

    Might make it easy to approach. Look at each one, see what alternatives there are and how you could do things differently and without using fossil fuels.

    Good luck,


    Judi B

    I know what is my biggest user is apart for DH the old fridge we have and we can’t afford a new one.

    I have a gas stove and in winter when the wood stove is on I use that to cook, we are finding it hard to cut back.

    Eira Clapton

    We have been reducing our power usage for years now -gradually adding to our stock of low energy rather than high energy use equipment, lights, fridges etc. Changing our practices -so long as I nag the family about ‘turning off at the wall’!

    But OUR state government is also warning that our power costs are going up a lot!

    You have my sympathy Smurfy. It is frustrating when costs go up when you have a limited income. Have you checked to see if you are eligible for any discounts?

    Have you looked at the suggestions for reducing cooking costs by doing things such as:

    *filling a thermos with hot water from the kettle at the beginning of the day -use that for cuppas rather than reboiling the kettle

    *using a solar cooker or hot box for long slow cooking (see other threads about these)

    * Keeping the freezer full by freezing old milk bottles with water and freezing them -it cuts the power use.

    Hope the other ideas from this thread give you some hope!


    I already do the thermos idea…. I make a cup of tea and then put the teabag into a little 3 cup thermos and fill with water… Makes just the perfect amount of tea to get you through the morning… :tup: The teabag that has made 4 cups instead of just one then goes into the compost…. :tup:

    I found our big thermos the other day when cleaning out boxes in the shed… I have cleaned it out with bi-carb and boiling water but will have to see how it goes as Reggie used to make coffee with milk in it and it got a taste :rip: … Mind you it’s been in a box for the last 3-4 years so I might be lucky….


    We changed over to Aurora last year and looked around to see where we can cut back on. With Aurora it is yours when you move you can take it to your new home.

    The light were the first in this place there have spotlights in the lounge and kitchen. We took out half of them and put in the white lights. Turn off everything at night so no vampire fees.

    We found the pump for the water tank was going on and off all night when the toilet water setlled so that gets turned off at 10pm when the hot water service is ready to come on.

    The stove and oven are gas but you have to add that in with your useage. Here a gas bottle cost $117 for the big ones, But we have found we can use the small ones when we are short.

    I sat down once and worked out just how much from a $300 AGL bill was for nothing it was about $180, Levies, gst, line fees etc so much for helping the lower paid people.

    You might be entitled to the 3 month grant from your state government but it usually goes in fees. Mine goes straight onto the machine so we get to use it instead of giving it back.


    Smurfy, what appliances are plugged in and running 24 hours per day?


    Yeah it’s a bit ridiculous hey smurphy. If the Qld government isn’t careful, they’ll find a lot of people moving where they can afford to live. While Bligh likes to promote the fact we’re still the cheapest State to live in Australia, you have to ask what they’re actually counting in that equation.

    Our fuel subsidy will be gone, our regos will go up, so is electricity and local council rates. I’m sure it will be happening in every other part of Australia too, but as Q’landers we must be the most concentrated price-hiked state population in one hit. That will force (not by choice) many people to up stumps and simply move away.

    Which would be an interesting and unfortunate turn of events. Because if all the new infrastructure is built on borrowed money, how on earth will they pay it off with a reduced population? :confused:

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