Energy insights

Why is my bill so high in winter?

By Claire Glynn | 5 August 2016


Energy bills often increase over winter as households have increased costs in keeping warm. However, there are some ways you can keep those costs under control.

At Genesis Energy, we believe knowledge is power, so take a look at these tips below for keeping your winter electricity bills in check.

Know your household appliance running costs

You might be surprised to know how much each one of your electrical appliances costs to run. Being aware of which everyday household appliances have higher running costs is a good way to avoid higher energy bills.

Tumble dryer

Use your dryer wisely

As we use our tumble dryers so much more frequently in winter, they are an important part of our winter energy spend. But dryers are energy-hungry. An average dryer costs about $1 per load (energywise.govt.nz)

By using your dryer properly, drying clothes outside when you can and taking care you can save up to $130 per year.

Tips for using your dryer efficiently

  1. Use the clothes line – then finish drying the clothes in the dryer
     
  2. Use an efficient spin on your washing machine – make sure as much moisture as possible is removed before putting clothes in the dryer
     
  3. Clean the lint filter – do this after every load. It helps the dryer work more efficiently and use less power to dry
     
  4. Dry clothes of similar weights together – e.g. towels and heavy sweatshirts will take longer than t-shirts
Electric heater
A two bar electric space heater run for five hours in the evening will cost almost $3, (1) that's more than $20 per week in winter
Kettle
Up to 45c per 2L to boil for your hottie (2)
Light bulbs
Winter is darker so we usually use our lighting more. Overall, lighting accounts for about 8% of your bill – if you're still running older style incandescent bulbs switching them for energy saving LEDs can save $20 per light bulb per year
Electric blanket
These use around 1.5 kWh to use for four hours. (3) Which costs around .40c a night

Energywise.govt has a good power usage calculator for your appliance running costs here.

Six household appliance saving tips

  1. Switch to energy efficient light bulbs. They can save up to 80% on your bills, which is around $250 for an ordinary home (4)
     
  2. Turn off appliances at the wall. Turning off appliances that use stand by power such as TVs, stereos and computers when you're not using them can save up to $100 per year (4)
     
  3. Cut down on your heated towel rail. But cutting your usage 4 hours a day rather than all the time could save you up to $130 a year (4)
     
  4. Watercare suggests the best way to save water is to use a flow restrictor on your shower. (5) These are inexpensive, around $30 -$40. They don't lower the shower pressure and they can save up to 100,000 [litres?] of water a year (1)
     
  5. Only fill the kettle with the amount you need for your hot drinks. Boiling extra water just uses extra power  
     
  6. Put your washing machine on cold wash, and only do full loads  

Look for the energy star rating

Appliances with the most energy stars are the most efficient to run. When purchasing a new appliance make sure to look for the energy rating sticker. It tells you how many kilowatts each appliance will cost per year to run.

Take shorter showers

Showering

Heating water is expensive. People have hotter, longer showers in winter. Reducing shower time can significantly help save on those energy bills. A 15 minute shower costs around $1 (4). For a family of four that's $4 a day or $1460 a year.

If everyone in the family reduces that to five minutes you could save 66% on your hot water bills for showers – that's a saving of around $950 a year.

Use your heat pump wisely

Heat pumps are one of the most energy efficient electric heating options. If you use a heat pump instead of an equivalent electric heater in your living space can save you around $500 a year.

According to energywise.govt.nz (5), a heat pump used 6 hours per day for 6 months of the year with an energy output of 6kWh will cost around $400 per year to run.

However you need to use it wisely. Make sure you keep your heat pump set between the recommended 18ºC - 20ºC, anything over that and you'll be paying more than necessary for your power.

Read further tips about using your heat pump more energy efficiently here.

Learn to read your own meter

Reading your own power meter keeps you in charge of your own electricity usage and can help you save money if you can alter your habits through knowledge of how and when you use electricity.

If you have a smart meter, you only pay for the exact amount of electricity you use each month because it eliminates ‘estimated' bills. This means there's less chance of a surprise in your monthly bill.

Learn how to read your own meter here.

Track your usage using the Genesis Energy Mobile App

If you are a Genesis Energy customer it's simple to keep track of your usage. Simply download the Genesis Energy Mobile App on your smartphone and log in. You can check usage, pricing, pay your electricity bills or order more LPG. If you have a smart meter, the App allows you to track how much electricity you use each hour and each day, which can help you manage your energy spend.

(1) NZHerald.co.nz
(2) Stuff.co.nz
(3) Energy.gov
(4) Energywise.govt.nz
(5) Energywise.govt.nz
 

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