It goes without saying that different households have differing energy needs. For example, Aussies with large families will likely use more power than a single person living in a modest apartment.
Regardless of your energy habits, it’s important to understand how you can keep track, manage and reduce the amount of energy you use.
What are the benefits of energy monitoring systems in Australia?
Perhaps the most obvious advantage is reducing the cost of your bills. By having a system in place to accurately monitor your energy usage, you’re better equipped to identify inefficient electricity use and change your behaviour accordingly.
However, it’s worth noting that the benefits of tracking energy aren’t solely financially oriented. Reducing your household’s electricity usage can help minimise your household’s carbon footprint. In the case of smart appliances, you can control when they are turned on or off or adjust settings (such as temperature) up or down. It can also flag when appliances are close to end of life and need replacing.
How to monitor your electricity usage
Energy monitoring tools and calculators are a great way to keep track of your electricity usage. These devices can help you keep track of exactly how many kilowatts of electricity per hour each appliance or gadget is using in your home. We’ve put together a few tips, tricks and strategies to help you better manage your relationship with electricity.
1. Smart meters and apps
The most precise way of monitoring your electricity usage in Australia is with a smart meter. These real-time energy monitoring systems, which are steadily being rolled out across many parts of Australia, can provide both you and your electricity retailer with greater insight into your power usage.
Most smart meters can be connected to in-home displays, web portals (i.e. a website you can log into) or mobile apps. Regardless of your operating system, you’ll be able to find a range of power usage tracking apps that can help you monitor your electricity usage and reveal any patterns, outliers or drastic changes in your energy use.
PowerPal and Wattcost are great upcoming energy monitoring apps that can be pre-ordered. They work in conjunction with an external monitoring device that can display real-time data on your energy habits. Note that you may need to call an electrician to install these onto your existing meter.
Be sure to explore your options and have a play around until you find an app that suits your needs. Some electricity providers may also offer in-home displays. Get in touch with your electricity provider to find out how you can get a smart meter installed in your home.
2. Home energy monitoring calculators
An effective way of getting a higher-level understanding of your electricity usage is to make use of appliance calculators, such as the one offered by the South Australia state government. Simply enter the energy-use specifications of your appliances to see an estimate of their daily and annual running costs.
Such tools can be instrumental in helping you improve your home’s electricity management. For example, if the calculator identifies that you have a particularly inefficient appliance, you might consider replacing the offending product with a more modern, eco-friendly solution. While the initial outlay may be costly, there’s a chance you could end up making this money back in savings over the course of its lifetime.
How do I save electricity with an energy usage monitoring system in Australia?
Once your energy monitoring device is up and running, you can pinpoint the times of day where your energy consumption is highest. For example, your household may use a lot of electricity at night after everyone’s coming home from work and school; or perhaps you’ve noticed an unusually high consumption consistently throughout the day.
Once you’ve recognised the times of day where you can make the greatest difference, ask yourself whether you:
- keep all the lights on in the house when you’re home;
- leave windows and doors open while you have the aircon or heater on;
- run the aircon/heater on even though your home is sufficiently cool/warm;
- keep the TV on even when no one’s watching it; or
- leave gaming consoles on standby even though no one’s using it.
After you’ve identified the energy habits that are costing you the most, try and make changes to your routine. It could be as easy as keeping windows and doors closed and turning off lights and appliances when they’re not actively being used.
See if you can save by comparing energy plans
When coupled with the results of our energy retailer comparison service, you may be surprised at how much you’re able to save on your power bill. Use our service to compare a variety of great-value plans from some of Australia’s top energy providers.
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