How To Cut Carbon Tax Impact On Your Electricity Bill

How To Cut Carbon Tax Impact On Your Electricity Bill

Worried that the carbon tax is going to make your next electricity bill much larger? Improve your household energy efficiency by just 10 per cent and you won’t end up paying any more.

Picture by Kristopha Hohn

At The Conversation, RMIT lecturer Alan Pears runs through the relevant numbers:

For electricity, Australian households pay around 25 cents per kilowatt-hour, the standard unit. The carbon cost will add 2 to 3 cents to that. If you can save 10% of your electricity use, you will offset your carbon cost. A similar rule applies for gas.

The average household spends $40 a week on energy. Pears suggests that saving $4 a week will offset carbon-related increases, and saving $10 a week would eliminate all carbon tax-related costs. Possible tactics? Not using a clothes dryer (which costs around 75 cents a load), not running a second fridge (which can cost up to $5 a week), and cutting down on the use of hot water (even through simple activities such as not using hot water to rinse dirty dishes).

Power is one area where legitimate price rises because of the carbon tax can be expected (the ACCC is carefully policing businesses that claim price rises are due to the carbon tax). Many families will also receive compensation via the tax system to offset the increases, but taking control of your power usage is a sensible tactic regardless.

The carbon tax needn’t cost you: easy ways to cut energy costs [The Conversation]


  • Finally some sensible discussion about the Carbon Tax. Rather than running around as though the sky will fall in, reduce your carbon consumption and you wont feel the pinch…

    Funny that the Carbon Tax would reward those who reduce their emissions…

    • What’s disturbing is that this is supposed to be the only reason for a Carbon Tax. To encourage people to reduce their usage of power, you punish them for not doing it.

      And yet, the government kneecap the entire scheme by saying “oh, if you are going to be impacted, we’ll give you some more money” to virtually guarantee that no-one needs to change their behaviour at all.

      • I believe it would be better described as a “carbon tax on the wealthy” – the net losers are those that earn decent salaries.

        FYI through the use of LED downlights, accesible switches on all my appliances that have a standby mode (i.e. one switch to turn off my router, cable modem, time capsule, chargers etc), getting a shutdown cover for my pool so I don’t have to run the pump over winter, using a slanket (VERY stylish…) instead of turning on the heater, and only using power hungry appliances when power is cheaper (I am on a smart meter – so pay much less between 10pm-7am than between 2-8pm), I have managed to reduce my electricity bill between 40-50% most quarters. OK – for some of these i had to spend to save, but most costs are paid off pretty quickly (shut down cover is 3 years, LED replacements for halogens are less than 1 year – if you get them direct from Taiwan!).

        The carbon tax is one of the few taxes in life that, if you change your behaviour, you can pretty much avoid it.

  • I had hoped for slightly more practical advice.

    Given the reasonably noticeable impact the monthly electricity cost already has on a families budget; the advice to effectively just use less power seems to be disingenuous advice given the articles title: “how to cut carbon tax impact on your electricity bill”.

    It would be expected that type of person who wasn’t attempting to do this is already probably is in the 1 percent and unlikely to change their behaviour for the sake of a $4 savings.
    Mean while the bulk of us already impacted by the cost of living will have already reduced our usage due to market forces to them minimum possible level regardless of the additional load added by the carbon tax.

    I had hoped hoped that the article would outline practical ways to access compensation or otherwise indicate practical steps to reduce the impact on what are (at least in Sydney) already strained budgets.

  • Why is it left to The Conversation to always bring logic to the media landscape?
    Surely this sort of article would be hugely popular in a News Corp or Fairfax publication, but instead, all we get from them is whining!

  • We have been properly managing our power usage for years. This sort of suggestion is thus of no use. In fact I get annoyed at being regularly bombarded with articles promising to save me money on power (or water, or …) that simply repeat old ideas that should be simple common sense anyway.

    • I agree. It annoys me to no end that the “solutions” provided here are to simply stop using things. How obvious is it that not running a second fridge would result in lower electricity bills? But the fact is, if you need a second fridge for whatever reason, you can’t just turn it off!

      • … if you use two fridges, you are emitting more carbon dioxide. No ifs/buts about “whether you need to”. You are causing more of a problem than your neighbor so you need to pay.

        That is what the Carbon Tax is, like it or not.

        I’m not saying I agree, I’m just saying what the idiots in the Liberal Party should be saying. That the Carbon Tax is an exercise in moving money around, not in actually reducing emissions.

    • It annoys me to John, our power bill is probably in the vicinity of $20-25 a week, most of the tips bounce off our household. It always seems that the people who try to do the right thing get punished rather than everyone else.

  • Angus, well done in writing about what truly matters and should be obvious to most people: we need to reduce our carbon emissions, and if we do so, we might even save money.

    I keep hearing people whingeing about the huge rise in electricity, while keeping all the lights on at night and central heating throughout the day.

  • If I improve my household efficiency by 10% I expect to pay 10% less, not the same as I was before just because our Prime Minister back-flipped on her election promise.

    I think the simplest method to cut carbon tax on your bill is to vote out the idiots who introduced it.

    • While no one likes paying the same or more for less, I feel that not paying more for something is a much bigger incentive than paying less for something. If the carbon tax influences many households to change their behaviour and energy consumption by 10% without them having to pay more than they did before, then it will be doing what it was set out to do.

    • Have you noticed that your electricity bills have gone up by 50% over the past 3-4 years and that was without a carbon tax? What annoys me the most is the complete acceptance we have off an organisation spending what the hell it wants on electricity infrastructure and passing all of that onto the consumer and no one blinks an eye despite the massive bill increases – and then someone comes along to put a cost on something that has an impact on humans (carbon dioxide emissions) that will have a tiny – or in some cases zero impact on their cost of living, and they kick up a massive stink.

      Also has anyone noticed the irony that the Labor party are arguing for a market-based approach to solving a problem (put a price on something and let capitalism sort it out) and the Liberal party are arguing for govt intervention (with their Green Army – thousand of govt employee paid for by our tax dollars). Linka odd really.

  • Anyone come across any articles (reddit perhaps?) on less obvious power savings? I don’t run a 2nd fridge, clothes dryer etc. The only interesting one there for me was the downlights, I didn’t realise they were that expensive to run… Anyone?

    • I guess another one would be heaters. Unless you have split system air condition, your heating bills are going to be higher than they need to be. Close curtains and doors to keep heat in/out in the winter/summer. Use less energy cooking – use your microwave more instead of your oven, use your refrigerator instead of your microwave for defrosting. Can you change to a cheaper tariff for your hot water? Are you getting the absolute cheapest price on electricity (I know I am – cheapest retailer in the state).

  • All fine and well if it just impacts the electrical bills *only*. Realistically, we’re going to be whacked more via higher council rates, and high everything under the sun. So the 2-3c “increase” is a fallacy at best!

    • Another thing I just though of would be a kettle. Probably cost between 2-5c to boil a full kettle. Personally, I never fill mine up so I’m not boiling more than a litre at a time unless I’m using it straight away. Depends on how much you value your time though :).

  • To see the real impact that the carbon tax will have on your electricity bill, look at your most recent quarterly bill. It lists exactly how many tonnes of carbon were produced to power your home. Our home produced about a tonne of carbon last quarter. That is about $20 extra dollars per quarter that I will pay for my electricity under the carbon tax. Consider that I will also be paying about 1000 dollars a year LESS in tax and I come out ahead by a long shot.

  • It’s not just the second fridge – do you really need 2 televisions or 3 or 4? How many computers are you running? A desktop, a couple of laptops, a tablet or two?

    I think many households could easily find a 10% saving buy simply watching TV together, taking turns at the computer and other such changes in lifestyle.

    • … and if people cared about the environment, they would do those things even if there were not a Carbon Tax.

      People don’t.

      Mankind is, essentially, to self-centred to survive.

        • The carbon tax is not just about a price signal for consumers, it’s for everyone who uses electricity and for the people who generate electricity. Without a price signal, the only way for us to stop using coal completely by 2050 (which is what needs to happen globally) would be for the government to directly pay for electricity generation that doesn’t emit CO2 or legislate that generators invest in renewables (which would make power prices go up anyway). The whole point of of a carbon price is to internalise the cost of burning fossil fuels which are currently externalised (basically it is a cost in the future – increased extreme weather events, damage to the future economy).

  • I would like to see the incentive work more.

    For example:

    If your cut your power usage by 1% in the past month, then you get your lower bill (becasue you used 1% less power) PLUS you get an extra 1% discount on top of that.

    If you managed to decrease it by 2%, you get your lower costing bill PLUS a 2% discount on top of it.

    If you increased your power usage by 2% in the last month. Then unfortunatly you pay a normal larger bill PLUS you get a 2% extra carbon tax placed on top of it (for using more energy than your last bill.

    While there is probably a billion flaws in my idea. I beleive it rewards people doing the right thing and encourages people who are doing the wrong thing to start doing the right thing.

    I think in general my concept would encourge people to slowly use less power and buy appliances that are more energy efficient.

    Of course you can only decrease so much and this system will eventually level off (hopefully at the ‘consuming less power’ end).

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