Do you know what energy tariff your business is on?

Do you know what energy tariff your business is on?

After selecting an energy retailer, many businesses “set and forget”. A year can go past – or 2 years, or 5 years, or even more – and you’re still with the same energy provider you started out with at the beginning. 

But with your energy needs changing over time and the energy market evolving as well, paying attention to your energy consumption is crucial. 

It could be the case that you’re overpaying for your energy – especially if you’re on the wrong type of tariff for your business. 

While recent research shows that 43% of households don’t know what energy tariff they’re on, it’s also the case that a number of Australian businesses don’t know what tariff they’re on, either. This can have a big impact on a business’ bottom line. 

Here’s the difference between the tariffs and how to decide which one is most suitable:

  1. Single rate tariff

Energy retailers may list this as anytime use, flat rate or peak rate, but the bottom line is: you pay the same rate for your energy usage, no matter what time of day it is. The rate is usually somewhere in between the peak and off-peak rate charged under a “time of use” tariff” – so it’s higher than the ‘off-peak’ rate, but lower than the peak rate.

Single rate tariffs may be suitable if:

  • You want the freedom to use energy as and when you need it, which is often during “peak” periods.
  • You don’t want to worry about scheduling high-energy tasks for off-peak periods.
  • You want a “set and forget” plan where you don’t engage much with your energy usage.
  1. Time of use tariff

With this tariff, the amount you pay depends on the time of day that you consume energy. A time of use tariff can charge up to three separate rates: peak (the most expensive tariff, usually in the evenings), off-peak (the least expensive tariff, usually overnight) and shoulder (for the times in between, such as mornings and afternoons). 

Time of use tariffs may be  suitable if:

  • You want to actively manage and reduce your energy consumption by scheduling tasks to take advantage of lower-rate periods.
  • You can schedule some high-energy activities to happen  overnight, when rates are lowest.
  • You’d install a smart meter to get updates on your electricity usage, so you can make real-time adjustments.
  1. Controlled load

This refers to electricity that is being used to power a stand-alone item, like an electric hot water service or irrigation pumps. Controlled loads are recorded on a separate meter and can be billed as an off-peak rate. A controlled load tariff is generally offered in addition to a time of use tariff. 

Getting the right plan to suit your energy usage and requirements can make a big difference to your overall energy bill. If you’re on a single use plan and have the ability to manage or schedule your high-energy activities, you could stand to save money with a time of use tariff. Or if you’re on a time of use tariff and you’re paying top dollar for peak energy periods, you could potentially reduce your bills on a single use plan.

Let us help you make sense of your energy bill! We can help you work out your current tariff and try to help you find a better deal. Contact us at Make It Cheaper for an obligation-free review on 1300 957 721.

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How to reduce energy costs and improve efficiency

How to reduce energy costs and improve efficiency

Taking the time to review and reduce your business’s energy consumption – and therefore, how much you pay – is a task that can pay dividends today, and well into the future. 

There are two ways you can help lower your business’s energy bills: shopping around for a more competitive offer, and changing how and when you use energy.

With the following five tips, you can aim to do both and enjoy the best of both worlds:

1. Use energy at the right time.

Peak energy usage times come with a peak energy usage price. The reason for this is because when more people use energy, there’s more pressure on the energy grid, and that surge in demand translates to higher prices. The good news is, energy providers are quite upfront about the fact that they charge more or less for energy consumed at different times. Start by reviewing your business energy bill to see how much energy you consume, then identify energy hot spots throughout your business, so you can start looking to shift the timing of your highest impact energy-users.

2. Adjust your habits. 

A few small tweaks can make a massive difference. Some actions, like encouraging your employees to turn off lights or fans when a room is not in use; replacing appliances when they break with an energy-efficient version; or adopting energy-saving measures to adapt your energy consumption, can make a big difference on your bill. According to the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER), you could save $172 a year by getting rid of a second refrigerator, or $193 a year by switching appliances like kettles and microwaves off at the wall when not in use. 

3. Focus on lighting.

One of the biggest contributors to a business’s energy bill is lighting. As well as keeping them turned off when rooms are not in use, consider installing energy-efficient LEDs, which use far less energy than halogen bulbs, without compromising on quality. You could also set lighting to a sensor or timer, or install dimmer switches to further reduce energy consumption.

4. Set temperature bandwidths.

Combat the rising costs of power during winter and summer by being mindful about the energy you use, and how you use it. DISER confirms that for each degree heating or cooling is increased, energy use increases 5% to 10%. It’s recommended to set your heating thermostat to 18 to 20°C in winter, and around 25 to 27°C in summer, to avoid churning through too much power.

5. Shop around.

In addition to all of the above, you can make a powerful dent in your business’s energy bill by shopping around for a provider that delivers better value. Compare both electricity and gas retailers, depending on your needs and goals, and review different options such as time-of-use pricing, off-peak usage, or smart meters, to see if they could help you achieve greater energy efficiency throughout your business and save money at the same time. 

Are you paying too much for your energy bills? Let our team of experts review your energy bill to try and find you a plan that suits your needs and saves you money – contact us today.

Business electricity explained

Business electricity explained

Saving on expenses such as your electricity bill is a major priority for many Australian SME’s, but finding competitive energy rates can be both time-consuming and challenging. Many businesses may find themselves wondering how exactly their rates are calculated, how they stack up against residential prices, what energy retailers are available in their area and most importantly, how can they get a great deal for their business. Since we believe the process of finding cheaper business energy should be easy and quick, we’ve answered all these questions for you below.

Business vs residential electricity charges

Just like your home electricity account, Australian businesses with metered premises located in the following states and territories, are able to shop between energy suppliers energy retailers to take advantage of cheaper electricity rates, higher discounts and other more favourable contract terms.

  • New South Wales
  • Victoria
  • South East Queensland (including Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Ipswich)
  • Australian Capital Territory
  • South Australia

Business energy users located in Western Australia, Tasmania, parts of regional Queensland and the Northern Territory have less retailer choice and electricity rates continue to be set within a government regulated market.

Most retailers offer separate business electricity plans business plans with different terms from residential electricity offers. Whether you’re looking to invest your savings back into growing your business, or lock in rates and an attractive discount for a set period to provide certainty over your business costs, Make It Cheaper’s business energy experts can guide you through the process of finding a better business energy deal for you.

Is electricity cheaper for businesses?

In the same way a residential electricity rate is calculated, your business electricity rate will depend on a number of factors, such as your energy usage by kW/h, business electricity supplier you choose to go with, and the actual retailers available to you base on where you located in Australia. Rates for business energy are determined by different variables (see Understanding your business electricity rates below) and there are a number of discounts available to businesses to help them find additional savings (see Business electricity rate discounts below).

To ensure you get the best energy rate for your business, speak to any of our Make It Cheaper business energy experts who’ll compare electricity prices on your behalf.

Where to find business electricity rates from energy suppliers

All Australian retailers in deregulated markets (listed above) are required to clearly set out business electricity rates in an Energy Price Fact Sheet.

Learn more about Australian energy retailer pricing requirements.

Make It Cheaper Australia compare business electricity rates and plans across a panel of leading energy retailers. You can find out more information about retailers on our energy retailers page:

Detailed comparison of business electricity rates can be a time consuming process – while all rates are publicly accessible online, differences in components of pricing such as supply charge, discounting, peak/off-peak and shoulder timing create additional complexity that can significantly affect your final bill.

Online comparison services such as Make It Cheaper do the hard work for Australian businesses looking to find the cheapest electricity rates.

Understanding business electricity rates

The total cost of your business electricity is divided between a fixed daily ‘supply’ charge and a variable usage charge.

Variable usage charges can be structured in several different ways depending on your business energy plan:

  • Single rate business electricity tariffs – one standard kW/h rate that is the same at all times of the day and and all days of the year
  • Time of use business electricity tariffs – different kW/h rates apply based on the time of day the energy is consumed. Typically, a ‘peak hour’ rate for periods of highest demand, an ‘off peak’ rate and ‘shoulder’ rates that sit between peak and off-peak times. Different providers and electricity plans can also define these times at different hours of the day and days the week so it is important to understand the patterns of your business electricity usage to properly compare time of use tariffs.
  • Controlled load tariffs – a special rate that typically applies to separately metered appliances such as a timed electric hot water heater that will only run during off-peak hours.

For most businesses, selecting a business electricity plan and choosing between single rate tariffs or taking advantage of lower off peak rates under a time of use plan can have significant cost implications to your overall bill. Consider how your business operates, and whether there are regular patterns to your overall electricity consumption. A business energy specialist at Make It Cheaper can help you select a better electricity plan for your account.

Business electricity rate discounts

In addition to the supply and kW/h usage rates applicable for a particular business energy plan, retailers will often offer two types of discounts on top of usage rates:

  • Conditional discounts which will only be applied if certain conditions are met. For example, a pay on time discount applied as long as the bill payment is not made past the due date
  • Guaranteed discounts which will be applied throughout the contract term and are not contingent on any special conditions

The discounts offered by an energy retailer will differ from retailer to retailer, but are great opportunities for you to maximise savings for your business that can be spent better elsewhere.

Which electricity supplier has the most competitive rates?

Because of the different component charges – supply costs, usage tariffs, peak/off-peak rates and discounts – working out if a new electricity provider or plan will actually save you money requires accurately calculating all of these variables against your existing and rates. It’s not enough to simply compare the size of discounts offered by retailers as their actual tariff rates can differ: a large overall headline discount does not necessarily mean the largest saving.

Comparing business electricity prices

The cost of your business electricity can vary significantly between different energy providers and be the difference between thousands to tens of thousands in annual savings depending on your level of usage. Just imagine how much further you could grow your business by freeing up unnecessary costs, such as in your energy bill.

If you have a recent bill, a business energy expert at Make It Cheaper Australia can do the hard work for you and compare multiple offers from our panel of up 10 Australian retailers and perform the switching for you.

With our innovative DiFY (Do it For You) product, we can ensure you’ll automatically be searching for a more competitive deal every time your contract comes up for renewal, and we’ll even switch for you without having go through a comparison phone call again. Learn more about DiFY.

How to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient Without Spending Much

How to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient Without Spending Much

Do you wish your energy bills were lower? Utilities have never been more expensive in Australia than they are today. Fortunately, there are a number of low- or no-cost steps you can take to save money and help the planet.

How to Save on Water

In some parts of the country, water is one of the most expensive costs you can have. To save money on your water bills, rinse and wash laundry with cold water, and whenever possible, only run full loads.

Instead of using water to rinse off your plates, use a fork or knife to scrape off food residue. Check your toilets, taps, and water pipes for leaks and fix any that you find.

For a few bucks, you can save on water costs by installing water-saving tap aerators and shower heads. When you are shaving or brushing your teeth, turn the tap off. Hot water is extra expensive because it uses gas for heating and water.

And, the biggest use of hot water is your shower. So, use a timer to track your shower time and reduce it.

Saving on Heating and Cooling Costs

Staying warm in the winter and keeping it cool in the summer can be a real strain on your wallet. There are some basic ways to adapt your home to make it more habitable when weather conditions cause problems.

  • These tips should make it easier to cover your electric and gas utilities:
  • Leave blinds and window shades open during the daytime to use the sun to heat your home in the winter. Keep the heat in by closing your window coverings at night.
  • Keep air flowing freely by keeping objects, such as furniture, from blocking your registers. Also, vacuum your air vents regularly.
  • If there is little floor insulation in your house, you can retain heat and add comfort by using rugs to cover bare floors.
  • Use ceiling fans to keep air circulating in the summer to keep you cool and to push hot air down in the winter.
  • Save energy by installing a smart thermostat that can automatically adjust your home’s temperature.
  • Help your heater and air conditioner work at peak efficiency by regularly replacing or cleaning filters.
  • Reflect heat away from your home by using light-color window coverings. You can also reduce the heat entering your home with low-emission films applied to your windows.

Author: Jackie Edwards

To find out how much you could save on your energy bill, call us on 1300 957 721

5 tips for reducing energy consumption in your kitchen

5 tips for reducing energy consumption in your kitchen

Australia releases more greenhouse gas emissions per capita than any other developed country in the world, according to the Sustainable Australia Report 2013. One way to improve the way we approach sustainability is to monitor how much energy we consume, especially in our homes.

The kitchen, although a space for deliciousness, is one of the key sources of energy usage and thus the costs of cooking eat up a large part of your electricity bill. These five simple steps can help reduce electricity prices and minimise energy wastage. 

1. Install energy-friendly exhaust hoods

Choose an exhaust with a back-shelf hood as they need the least exhaust air. The next best options are the wall-mounted canopy hood and single-island canopy hood. However, to improve the efficiency of any hood, install end panels and add a lip around the leading edge to better inhale the fumes from cooking. 

2. Upgrade any older appliances to newer Energy Star Rating models

This investment will save you much more money in the long run. Choosing energy efficient appliances can be costly, so gradually replace current ones to avoid drastic debts. Start with bigger whiteware as it consumes the most energy. 

3. Ensure seals around appliances are intact

The protective seals on ovens and refrigerators keep them hot or cold, so double check that they are in good shape and working correctly. Debris on the bottom of an oven can stop it sealing properly, so be sure to clean it and all other appliances to optimise their efficiency. 

4. Use the entire oven

You’re better off cooking as much as possible in the oven when it’s on and then freezing the cooked food to heat up later, rather than wasting the heat by only using a small area of the oven tray for your meals. 

5. Help food cook faster

Defrost food in the fridge overnight as this dramatically reduces the cooking time. Similarly, cut food into smaller sizes so it sizzles quicker. 

Food, glorious food 

Have these energy saving tips put you in a green mood? Well, you can extend your sustainable behaviour further by managing all food waste from your kitchen.

According to Food Wise, a whopping 4,000,000 tonnes of food is wasted every year in Australia and the average family throws away $1,036 worth of food annually. Not only is this economically damaging, it’s a poor use of resources such as fruits and vegetables.

Make a meal plan per week and only add ingredients to your grocery list accordingly so you can be sure to consume all that you purchase.

Posted by Nikki Wilson-Everett