Save money on power

July 22, 2013 by  
Filed under Solar Energy Tips

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  • TAKE CHARGE: Businesses should shop around for better electricity deals, a study shows.

SMALL and medium businesses looking to save money on their power bills should start by checking their tariff and comparing energy offers.

That’s the finding of a recent analysis undertaken by Energy Hunter, a local energy-efficiency program for business co-ordinated by the Hunter Business Chamber, Newcastle City Council and Hunter TAFE.

Several program participants were found to be on tariffs not matched to their business requirements and were often paying considerably more than necessary.

One participant had identified an annual saving of more than $4000.

Despite using less than 40 megawatt-hours of electricity a year, the business had been classed as a high use customer, meaning higher supply charges and an additional charge associated with their peak electricity demand.

Another business had discovered a discrepancy between their contract and what they were being billed, resulting in extra charges of up to $1000 a month.

Businesses were sometimes on the wrong tariff because they had moved premises and were automatically placed on the tariff of the previous occupant.

Newcastle City Council program co-ordinator Adam Clarke said many businesses could get a better rate if they shopped around.

He stressed the importance of looking at all aspects of an offer, including electricity use rates, daily supply charges, peak demand charges and other fees, such as late payment penalties.

“Businesses should look at their last bill to see how much they would pay under the new rates on offer,” Mr Clarke said.

“While a low peak rate may seem enticing, if your business is conducting most of its operations overnight, it’s important to look at the off-peak charges too.

“If you’re offered a discount, check what the conditions are and what parts of the bill it applies to.”

Small businesses (using under 100MWh a year) can compare electricity and gas offers at

Businesses looking to switch retailers should be aware of any exit fees. Also keep in mind that your current retailer may match or beat any deal that you come across.

Mr Clarke said businesses could reinvest “quick wins” on their bill into energy efficiency upgrades for further savings.

Information on your bill and money saving tips are available on the Energy Hunter website,


NOT-FOR-PROFIT group the Clean Energy Association of Newcastle and Surrounds (CLEANaS) has lodged a bid to have the Kooragang Island Wind Turbine and the Singleton Solar Farm placed in the hands of the community.

Ausgrid, formerly EnergyAustralia, is selling the assets because they no longer fit within its business structure of managing an electricity distribution network.

The CLEANaS aims to establish community-owned renewable energy projects, such as installing photovoltaic cells on commercial rooftops.

Investors would get a reasonable rate of return while supporting their local community.

The Kooragang turbine and 2.75-hectare solar farm together generate enough electricity a year to power about 250 homes.

Chair and founding member of the CLEANaS, Daniel MacDonald, said they would be welcome additions to its proposed portfolio of renewable projects.

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