Smart ways to stay warm this winter

Winter has hit Canberra and how! With temperatures entering into the low zone it only means energy bills are at an all time high.

At times like these, one reflects over the cost of living in Canberra. Electricity in Canberra has never been cheap, in addition to which electricity bills are expected to rise by $299 a year from mid 2018. One of the main reasons for this is rise in wholesale price and nationwide green energy schemes.

The Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission based in ACT announced a 14.29% increase for households which translate into $5.73 a week. Post this announcement, one cannot stop wondering about 35,000 Canberrans that live under the poverty line. This means there will be a surge in the number of energy disconnections from households in Canberra. Last July more than 250 residents turned off their power and gas supply. This year one expects the numbers to increase, with many low income households in Canberra falling suit.

In February, an announcement for utility concessions to increase by $50 was welcomed by the council, but it’s definitely not enough. This increase is almost negligible considering the new costs.

While turning off electricity seems like a good idea in the short term, in the long term it doubles health problems and increases expenses which the government will have to bear especially in the emergency department for respiratory disorders.

Modern forms of heating contribute to sky rocketing energy costs urging us to start applying alternative ways to warm our homes. Fiberglass insulation is the best long-term investment one can make to stay warm. Using solar panels to capture whatever heat one can get all winter is also helpful, and it is essential to let sunlight enter the home and hit concrete surfaces. This ensures heat is locked inside. One, however, cannot discard heating using electricity by a 100%.

Good news is that ActewAGL and Origin Energy are offering discounts for residents of Canberra. If a family cannot afford their energy bill, instead of turning off their heating they should communicate to their energy retailer who is obliged to help people and avoid disconnections.

ActewAGL is offering 25% off electricity bills and if one is applicable, 25% off on natural gas charges too. This offer is available to Canberrans when they pay by direct debit and receive bills electronically. Get in touch with your energy supplier today to avail benefits.