Australians have managed to flatten the COVID-19 curve by staying home over the last few months.
But this could come at a significant financial cost.
South Australia already has some of the highest electricity prices in the world, with the average annual electricity bill costing $1,759.
In Sydney, this figure sits at $1,627.
However, as we stay home to protect ourselves and the community against COVID-19, it is estimated that electricity charges could increase by up to 50 percent.
Watching more TV, charging phones and laptops, cooking every day and even using the dishwasher more frequently are some of the simple tasks that will be adding to electricity bills.
So when this is combined with working from home, some households may need to fork out a massive $2,400 for electricity bills in 2020.
And the reality is, this will only get worse as we rely on heating heading into the winter months.
Many Australian houses are designed to keep us cool in summer, rather than warm in winter, while many are also built to relatively low minimum thermal performance standards.
As a result, it is often difficult (and costly) to heat our homes in winter.
Studies have shown that in Sydney, indoor winter temperatures can be as low as 7°C.
This year, it will come at a hefty cost to heat your home to the ideal temperature of 18-20°C.
As 600,000 jobs have been lost due to COVID-19, Public Interest Advocacy Centre head of energy policy, Craig Memery, warns that we may be faced with a very difficult decision.
“People are having to spend their time at home, pushing up energy costs when they are least able to pay.”
“Without better support, this winter many families face a choice between heating their homes and having enough money for food and rent.”
While this will have a financial impact on Australians, the cold months also present a much greater health risk – especially for the elderly.
In reality, there is a positive relationship between cold weather and cardiovascular and respiratory disease.
So, how can you keep warm while keeping your electricity bill to a minimum this winter?
Here are some quick tips on keeping your electricity bill to a minimum in Winter:
- Shut the doors to areas you are not using and install draught proofing around doors and windows
- Set the temperature 18-20°C on your heating (every degree lower you set your temperature can save up to 10% on energy costs)
- Wear warmer clothes
- Turn off gadgets not being used
- Open curtains during the day and let the sun shine in and warm up the room
- Get extra insulation
- Keep heating vents and filters clean and clear
- Re-negotiate a better rate with your electricity retailer
- Install a Solar PV System