Australia’s energy crisis: how you can take back control over your power bills

Gretta Beer News, Technical Article

10 ways you can reduce your electricity costs

Energy prices have been soaring over the last few months with the wholesale cost of power rising by more than 15% in the last six weeks alone.

As a result, businesses and individuals are experiencing record high power bills and as an independent brewer you will undoubtedly be feeling this impact.

But while government uncertainty continues to drive indecision about investment in large scale generation for the country, it is up to you to take back ownership over your power bills by cutting your electricity costs and usage, which can actually be really easy.

 

1       Switch off equipment when not in use

Many businesses are open for 40-50 hours per week but use power for 168 hours (number of hours in a week). That’s a lot of wasted power. Make sure you switch off all brewing machinery, air conditioners, and other equipment when they are not required (potentially overnight and weekends), as they continue to draw power even if they are plugged in.

 

2     Heating and cooling

Set your thermostat at 20 degrees. In winter, every degree above 20 can add as much as 10% on your heating bill. Avoid turning on the air conditioner or heater when the weather is relatively pleasant – If you have windows, leave them open for some fresh air.

3     Review your network costs

Most businesses believe that network charges are simply pass-through charges that they cannot affect, however this is not true. Three out of ten large market businesses are on the wrong network tariff due to their usage patterns reflecting a different demand profile. Getting this wrong is costly as this can be the biggest part of the bill.

 

4     Allow employees to work from home one day a week

This may not be possible in the manufacturing and service industry, but with less employees in the building, less power is used. And by employees working one day a week from home, their commuting cost and time is reduced by 20% – a win/win for everyone.

 

5     Power factor

Have you checked your power factor lately? If your power factor is poor you can be overpaying for your kVA demand as much as 30%!

 

6     Turn off your lights and equipment at different times

Have you heard of 30 minute interval data? Well the 30 minutes when you use the most power is typically how your network provider calculates how much to charge for your demand.

If you turn your lights and equipment on at the same time, you are probably overpaying for your demand. Try and turn on your lights and equipment in approximately 31 minute intervals; this could save you tens of thousands of dollars. Use timers and energy management software if you want to take the next step.

 

 7     Use an energy broker

Many brokers won’t charge you a cent to find you a better deal for your electricity as they are remunerated by the retailer who wins your business. It is common to use a mortgage broker to find the best mortgage, so engage with an expert to help with your energy. Even if they have fees, most people won’t pay hundreds of dollars to save tens of thousands of dollars.

 

 8     Commercial Solar

Did you know that your business may be able to get a solar system without any out-of-pocket expenses? If you engage with the right company, you can often use government grants, coupled with creative cap-ex and non cap-ex finance options, where your savings on electricity can go towards paying the system off. Solar energy is free, clean and renewable. Make sure you select a reputable solar installer which guarantees ongoing performance and covers the cost if the system isn’t performing as expected.

 

 9     Update your lighting

With government efficiency schemes, often LED upgrades can be free with only installation costs. Return on investment for lighting can be less than a year. Replace old incandescent and halogen light globes with energy-efficient globes which save power and last longer.

 

10     Involve your employees

By involving your whole team in cost-cutting idea creation, they will feel part of your solutions. You never know, they may turn this list from 10 – 20 tips.

 

What else can you do?

Energy, like tax, is complex but should not be ignored. It really pays to engage a professional who can review your energy bill and usage and customise a strategy that is personalised to you.

You don’t have to start big, simply understanding how you use your power can be a starting point.

As a member of the Independent Brewers Association you can gain a free energy audit which involves a Choice Energy specialist reviewing your energy data with the goal of identifying savings across; network charges, demand costs, power factor, energy procurement and commercial solar solutions.

 

Learn more or take up this offer now

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