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Tips for saving on your utility bills

No one likes seeing their hard-earned wages or retirement fund being absorbed by excessive electricity. So, what can you do to ensure you are not paying over the odds for your utilities while also reducing your carbon footprint?

Australia has a reputation as an easy place to live out your dreams.

But unless your future vision is to watch on passively as your electricity bills continue to mount, perhaps this energy-rich environment we live in may not prove the lucky country after all.

Despite the fact Australia boasts some of the world’s largest coal and natural gas reserves, research shows residents here pay some of the highest electricity prices in the world.

A 2016 report from research group MarkIntell found that Australian consumers paid more for their electricity than almost all other residents in OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries, with only Ireland, Portugal, Japan and Italy consumers paying more.

But the news isn’t all doom and gloom with a multitude of ways Australians are able to save on their existing bills.

MoneySmart, a financial guidance website managed by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC), says a quick and easy way to reduce your electricity bill is by turning off appliances at their source when not in use. This is particularly true of items such as computers and TVs which automatically switch into standby mode when not being used but still use electricity.

Sometimes referred to as “phantom load”, Energy Australia estimates standby power is responsible for up to 10 percent of your power bill, equating to up to $90 per quarter on wasted electricity.

It is also worth noting that there is a big difference between passive standby when an appliance is plugged in but switched off and ‘active standby’ when a device is turned on but not in use, such as when a games console or DVD player is switched on, but no media is playing.

Active standby mode can cost you five to ten times more in electricity than passive standby mode, so it is worth ensuring you’re using it if your appliance is running.

Energy Australia suggests positioning furniture so that power points are accessible or purchasing power boards with independent on/off switches so you can choose what stays on and what gets turned off when not in use.

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