An Aussie dad-of-three has revealed how he was able to get his energy bill down to just $10 a month, saving himself up to $4000 per year.
Maurico* says he was able to slash his bills despite the climbing energy costs facing many Australians, and now pays a mere $120 in energy bills for the entire year.
The NSW resident told Yahoo News the huge price cut came after he switched his home on Sydney’s Northern Beaches over to solar power.
In fact, after the initial investment of installing the panels, Maurico says he’s not just saving money — he’s making it.
An Aussie dad has revealed his secret to saving big on energy. Picture: iStock.
“It was around $9,000 to $10,000 out of pocket, including the government subsidy. We have a 1-kilowatt-size system. It has definitely been worth it,” he told the publication.
Now he makes extra cash selling his excess power back to the grid, he said.
Maurico said his family decided to switch to solar after a few lifestyle changes that caused their energy bills to climb.
The bills increased after his family installed a heated swimming pool and bought an electric car, he said, adding: “It’s great to be able to switch to renewable energy and be part of a green solution for our energy consumption.”
The switch, Maurico said, had provided mental relief as it took pressure off the family budget.
“It’s been far better than expected. I was hoping to more or less reduce the bills, which we have — from about $1,000 per quarter,” he said.
“We’ve been in credit with our bill about $40 to $50 per month until now with the cooler weather. We paid $10 last month. My wife drives the electric car from the Northern Beaches to Alexandria everyday for free. It’s been great.”
Maurico had several tips for people considering going solar. Picture: Mark Stewart
Maurico’s success story comes after news.com.au revealed a number of expert tips for all Aussies to slice their energy bills.
Solar Analytics chief executive Stefan Jarnason said that, while “most of us (had) recently received a shock electricity bill that was much higher than we expected,” there were some steps Aussies could stay a step ahead of energy retailers.
There were a number of retailer tricks to be aware of, he said.
The loyalty tax
Energy operators rely on the fact that their customers live busy lives and don’t have time to keep hunting bargains.
“One common trick that electricity retailers use is the knowledge that most people are too ‘lazy’ to switch to a cheaper energy plan,” Mr Jarnason said.
He said operators call it the “loyalty tax” because it knows customers who are loyal to a brand they think looks after them will often end up sticking around despite the fact they no longer get a good deal.
“So many people stick with their old and far too expensive energy plan,” he said.
Experts said, as energy bills climb, there were things Aussies could do to cut costs. Picture: iStock.
Complex and confusing charges
Bills are often diluted with complex industry jargon that can make it hard to decipher what exactly it is you’re paying for.
“Time of use, supply charge, feed-in-tariff, shoulder period,” are some of the phrases you might come across when scanning your latest bill.
Mr Jarnason said this is just another sneaky trick used to “make it difficult for people to decide which energy plan is cheapest”.
Hidden fees and charges
There are a range of ways your energy costs might be creeping higher without you noticing.
Often energy operators will hide these fees in the fine print of your contract.
Paper bills, late payments or early contract termination are all fees an energy operator might sneak into your contract.
Aussies were warned to be wary of hidden fees and sign-up sweeteners. Picture: Shiraaz Mohamed / AFP
Sign-up sweeteners that turn sour
Energy operators will try and entice you to their brand with attractive offers when you first sign up.
Cashback, gift cards or discounts on the first bill might be among the tactics used to get you to switch operators.
While shopping around is encouraged, it’s important to keep an eye on the terms and conditions to ensure it doesn’t come up with any hidden costs or fees.
Maurico, meanwhile, had some tips for those thinking about going solar.
“It’s important for people to take the time to do their research and get at least three quotes before installing solar,” he told Yahoo.
How to avoid sneaky energy bill chargesEasy hacks to save you thousands
“Try to understand the quotes and spot the differences. I learnt a lot by comparing quotes. Initially, I got five quotes from reputable businesses. Try to go for local installers with a lot of good Google reviews.”
*Last name withheld.