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More than half of Aussies set to shun heating this winter amid cost-of-living crisis

Reviewed by Head of Energy, Meredith O'Brien
6 min read
27 Apr 2023
woman not using heating in winter

While temperatures continue to dip around Australia, alarming new research from Compare the Market reveals that more than half of households will use their heating less to beat soaring electricity prices this winter.

New research from the comparison service found that more than 50% of Australians will use their heating or cooling less to try and keep their bills down.*

It comes as nearly one in 10 Aussies flagged that energy prices were having the biggest impact on their budget.

Compare the Market’s Head of Energy, Meredith O’Brien, says it’s worrying that so many Australians are considering switching off their heating and sitting in the dark as a way to save money.

“With the mercury already plummeting in some parts of the country, the last thing we want to see is Australians shivering through the winter in the dark because they fear higher electricity bills,” Ms O’Brien says. “We’ve seen the impact that the energy crisis has already had on countries like the UK, where people turned off their heating and sat in the dark to combat rising costs. We don’t want Aussie families suffering because they can’t afford to keep the heating or lights on.

“While energy regulators are forecasting that electricity prices will climb again from 1 July, we know that retailers are putting in very competitive price changes. While these won’t last, it will make affordability much better for customers for the next few months.

There are also other things that Aussies can do right now other than not using heating in winter to keep their bills low.”

Rather than keeping the heating off completely, Ms O’Brien says setting the thermostat to the correct temperature could be an effective way of lowering bills.

“It can be easy to crank up the heat when the temperature drops, but that’s not going to do your electricity bill and your bank balance any favours,” Ms O’Brien says. “Instead, set the temperature to between 18°C and 20°C and resist the urge to increase the heat. Every degree warmer can add 10% to your overall electricity usage. Also consider draught-proofing your home, trapping heat in by closing doors and windows and blinds and curtains at night and only running the heating when you need to. These small changes can have a big impact on your overall bill.

“And while it makes sense to turn off the lights during the day or when you’re not home, a switch from halogen bulbs to LED alternatives could help you save and help keep the lights on, although the upfront cost can be a bit more . LEDs are 75% more energy efficient and last longer. It’s a win-win.”

Compare the Market’s research also found that many Aussies are already implementing cost-saving measures to keep their bills low. For example, 45.1% say they turn appliances off at the wall – a smart move given that vampire power from TVs, gaming consoles and other devices can increase your electricity bill by up to 10%. Meanwhile, nearly one in five people say they’ve switched to a cheaper electricity plan, while 16% will utilise solar energy more.

“The electricity market changes at an alarming rate and even if you were on a great electricity plan just months ago, it might not be the cheapest available now,” Ms O’Brien warns. “It’s a good idea to regularly put your plan under the microscope and see how it stacks up against others on the market. If you do find a cheaper plan, you can switch in as little as two business days and pay less for the exact same electricity supply.

“Meanwhile, around a third of Aussie homes have solar and it’s great that many households want to utilise this option more. If you have solar panels installed, run all electrical jobs while you’re generating your own power during the day and remember to set timers for appliances such as washing machines, dryers and dishwashers.

Nearly 15% of Aussies say they’re investing in appliances with better energy star ratings, while 7.3% are turning to smart devices. However, the results also show that nearly 15% of Aussies have made no changes to beat soaring prices.

“It’s fair to say that all electricity retailers have increased their prices over the past 12 months, so it’s quite alarming that such a high number of Australians say they aren’t changing their habits to lower their bills,” Ms O’Brien explains. “If you’re worried you’ll be shocked by high prices when you receive your electricity bill, making a few small changes here and there can make all the difference.”

Ms O’Brien’s top tips for managing higher electricity bills.

  1. Track your electricity usage
    You may be able to track electricity usage more regularly through smart meters, in-home displays or web portals and adjust your habits accordingly. Talk to your retailer about the options available to you.
  2. Switch off appliances
    If you’re not using appliances, switch them off at the wall. Standby power can be responsible for more than 10% of your home’s electricity usage.
  3. Reduce the length of your shower
    If you have electric heating, consider taking shorter showers to save on electricity and water costs. Similarly, run the washing machine in cold water washes, which can cut your machine’s energy use by as much as 80%.
  4. Keep the heat in
    You can reduce heating bills in winter by up to 25% by draught-proofing your home. If you do use a heater, remember that every degree warmer you set it can increase your energy usage by up to 10%.
  5. Use power wisely
    If you’re on a time-of-use plan, avoid using power-guzzling devices during peak hours outlined by your retailer. Generally, it’s cheaper to run appliances overnight and on weekends – which are off-peak times.You can also invest in smart appliances, which allow you to remotely adjust appliances to improve energy efficiency. You may be able to increase a fridge’s temperature on colder days, control lighting and modify heating.
  6. Rely on solar power
    If you have solar panels installed, run all electrical jobs while you’re generating your own power. Remember to set timers for appliances such as washing machines, dryers and dishwashers.
  7. Compare energy plans
    You could be paying more than you need to for electricity. It’s worth reviewing different providers and plans regularly to see if you could save by switching.

*Survey of 1,003 Australians. Conducted March, 2023.

For more information, please contact:  

Phillip Portman | 0437 384 471 | [email protected]

Compare the Market is a comparison service that takes the hard work out of shopping around. We make it Simples for Australians to quickly and easily compare and buy insurance, energy and travel products from a range of providers. Our easy-to-use comparison tool helps you look for a range of products that may suit your needs and benefit your back pocket.


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Written by Phillip Portman

When he’s not busy writing, Phillip can usually be found at the movies, playing with his Italian Greyhound Wilma, hanging out with his cockatiel Tiki, or talking about everything pop culture. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Journalism and has previously written about health, entertainment, and lifestyle for various publications. Phillip loves to help others and hopes that people learn something new from his articles.

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