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Stop Being Shocked by Electricity Costs in 2015

17 February 2015 at 9:20 am
Lina Caneva
Thousands of community organisations are unnecessarily spending too much on power, not realising that big savings can be achieved by making just a few simple changes, according to ERM Business Energy.

Lina Caneva | 17 February 2015 at 9:20 am


Stop Being Shocked by Electricity Costs in 2015
17 February 2015 at 9:20 am

Thousands of community organisations are unnecessarily spending too much on power, not realising that big savings can be achieved by making just a few simple changes, according to ERM Business Energy.

“If your Not for Profit has a standard retail contract with one of the first-tier electricity retailers like AGL, Origin or EnergyAustralia and you haven’t compared rates with the competition in the past year, you’re most likely paying too much for your electricity,” according to the energy retailer’s Small Business Sales Manager Peter Bennett.

“This is because the past 12 months has seen better electricity prices introduced across the country, driven by a culmination of increased competition, a reduction in the cost of energy itself and the removal of the carbon tax.”

Research conducted by ERM Business Energy, Australia’s fourth largest electricity retailer*, has found that common myths and misconceptions like ‘switching retailers is cumbersome and time consuming’ are stopping many organisations from acting and improving their bottom line.

“While this may have been the case years ago, it certainly isn’t now. It takes less than five minutes to sign-up online with ERM Business Energy and we’re so confident businesses will stay once they make the switch, we don’t charge exit fees.  There’s never been a better time to shop around for a more competitive rate,” Bennett said.

“At ERM, we don’t have the huge call centre queues jammed with residential customers like many of our competitors do because we specialise in energy for business. We have dedicated business account management and business-only sales specialists focussing on the things that matter to business and as a result, our customers are Australia’s most satisfied, having voted us number one for satisfaction for three years running**.

“Some organisations are also under the misconception that their power supply may be impacted if they switch retailers. Changing retailers does not impact the physical supply of electricity in any way.”

Once organisations have checked the price they’re paying for electricity is competitive, Bennett says the next step is to start actively monitoring their energy consumption, as reducing consumption is the next simplest way to reduce an electricity bill.

“Organisations are charged based on the amount of electricity (kilowatt hours/kWh) they use, so implementing simple strategies to reduce consumption in the workplace can result in big savings up to as high as 20 per cent in some cases,” he said.

ERM Business Energy has released its top energy-saving tips for business, to help them start realising these savings in 2015 and slash hundreds of dollars from their bills in the process.

ERM’s top energy-saving tips for slashing business electricity bills in 2015:

1. Heating and cooling equipment typically use the most energy in the workplace, so try:

  • setting the air-conditioning thermostat to 25oC in summer and 18oC in winter and centrally manage controls so employees are unable to individually adjust them;
  • installing a time clock so air-conditioning turns on and off automatically at specified times; and
  • remembering to service air-conditioning equipment regularly.

2. Office equipment is also a big energy user, accounting for up to 20 per cent of many businesses’ electricity usage.  What’s more, office equipment also generates heat, which can indirectly increase air-conditioning usage by a further 25 per cent, making these energy saving tips even more effective.

  • Turn computers off at night, or at the very least the monitors.  Surprisingly, monitors use more power than the computer itself.  Consider using laptops if possible, as they can consume up to 90 per cent less power than a desktop computer.
  • Screen savers can be big energy wasters, so try ‘power management’ software that turns off the monitor instead and even something as simple as reducing screen brightness can help reduce energy consumption.
  • When buying a printer, choose a model with an automatic ‘power down’ feature, as this can reduce its electricity usage by more than 65 per cent.   Also consider an inkjet printer over a laser printer, as they use up to 90 per cent less electricity.
  • If possible buy a combination printer, copier and fax machine.
  • Turn off the photocopier when it’s not in use or install a timer or smart power board to automatically switch it off after hours.  Check the energy-saving mode is on, as they’re often shipped with this functionality disabled.
  • Remember if something has lights on or gets warm when plugged into a power socket then it is using power, so unplug charging devices when not in use.

3.  Save on lighting running costs, by:

  • installing energy efficient lighting and motion sensors for lighting in unoccupied areas like the toilets, copy rooms and store rooms; and
  • using available natural light over artificial light where possible – open the blinds and turn on fewer lights.

4.  Check electricity bills. In some geographic areas, peak, off peak and shoulder rates will be shown. It’s not always a viable option, but you may be able to shift some energy usage from peak times to cheaper off peak times.

5.  Monitor usage patterns. Check your meter each morning and evening and note the reading. The difference between morning and evening readings tells the kilowatt hours (kWh) used during the day. The difference between evening and morning readings will give you an indication of how much electricity is used after hours and it provides a baseline to measure improvements from.  ERM Business Energy customers can also track their own usage and monitor their consumption savings through load profile charts that are available 24/7 through the online customer portal.

6.  If you’re investing in energy efficient products, always buy quality. While this can result in a more expensive initial outlay, it will help ensure your products last well beyond their payback period.

To take action to better manage electricity costs in 2015, contact 134 ERM (134 376) or visit quoting ERMNFP to see if your organisation is eligible for the ERM Business Energy’s competitive Not for Profit rate.

*   Based on volume of electricity sold to customers

** Utility Market Intelligence (UMI) survey of large corporate and industrial customers by independent research company NTF Group in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Utility Market Intelligence

Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.

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