If I got a dollar every time I was asked by people “Why are my electricity bills so high?” I would be shouting everyone free electricity, however, it frustrates me to see us - ‘the consumers’ are generally not educated enough to know if we are getting charged the correct amount from our electricity retailers every quarter.
I want to ask you an honest question, “How many times have you received your electricity bill and had a discrepancy with the amount you have used against the amount you have been charged?” From the study I have done with my clients this is almost everyone I have spoken too.
If you think of how many homes are in Sydney alone, you would think there is a good chance that the meter readers could often make mistakes especially if your home still has an analogue ‘dial type’ meter. In saying this though digital smart meters are more common and have been slowly phasing out the old meters over the last few years. But who’s to say even the smart meters are 100% accurate with there calibration?
Most consumers call to lodge a complaint to their retailers (your word vs theirs) but fall short because they don’t have enough evidence to back their argument and justify their consumption. If there’s any advice I can give to anyone first it would be to shop around for the best deals and rates all the different retailers have to offer. Because there’s so many electricity retailers currently In NSW you should let them work for you – not the other way around as the market is very competitive.
I can almost guarantee all of us have been through this at least once, so what can we do to combat against this and be sure we are being charged the correct amount for your electricity every quarter? Well, I’m going to explain some very easy tips and solutions most retailers probably don’t want you to know because you will have a leg to stand on if you decide to challenge your next electricity bill.
Let’s start with the first few tips on how to keep track of your usage at home or business:
Find out when your billing cycle starts and ends (especially when they read your meter) – this usually occurs approximately 2 weeks before you receive your bill, however if you contact your retailer they can give you this information. Once you have these dates put them in your calendar and set reminders or leave on the fridge for other family members to see.
Learn to read your electricity meter/s and record results. If you have no idea how to read your meter that’s completely fine as I can send a free information pack upon your request via email to show you how (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Taking photos of your meter readings is also a handy and easy way to log and record your consumption.
Keep a log book at home or business and take note of your reading from your meter on the dates you have set reminders for. A basic log book should contain: date, time, previous meter reading and current meter reading etc.
Subtract the first number you recorded from the second number you recorded and that will give you your usage. Then, find out your rate cost per KWh (Kilo Watt hour). You can find this on your bill. Once you have established this you can simply multiply your usage from your billing cycle with this amount, so you know what you will be paying before you receive your bill and there’s no shocks! No pun intended.
If you don’t wish to go the effort in spending 5-10 minutes to record your results every few months then there’s currently devices on the market which can do all this for you and monitor your usage from the luxury of your phone, tablet or PC.
Following these simple steps can potentially give you the upper hand and really prove to you what you are using in your home or business. These results can then be matched with your quarterly bill to clarify you are being charged correctly and to ensure you are getting the savings you deserve.