Tips to reduce your peak usage

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If you have a digital electricity meter or smart meter you are likely eligible to move to a time of use tariff rather than a flat or single rate tariff.  If you’re on a time of use tariff your bill will show peak, shoulder and off peak rates.  On the other hand if your bill shows peak 1, peak 2 and peak 3 rates then you’re on a flat or single rate tariff.

While time of use tariffs may appear scary due to the high peak tariff, they offer the opportunity to save large amounts of money by shifting some of your usage to the much cheaper off peak times.

Mojo’s analysis shows that a large percentage of people on flat or single rate tariff would save money by moving to a time of use tariff.  And if you’re already on a time of use tariff you’ll likely want to know what you can do to take better advantage of the lower off peak rates rather than the more expensive peak rates.

As the table below shows, depending on where you live, shifting some of your consumption from peak times to off peak times can save you between 45% and 70% off your usage charges.

We’ve canvassed our energy experts and come up with these 5 tips to help you shift or eliminate your peak usage^, potentially saving you hundreds or even thousands of dollars off your electricity bills.

^ Times displayed are for peak only. Shoulder and  off peak times for each network can be found on your Energy Price fact sheets.

#1 — run your pool filter and cleaner at night

If you have a swimming pool then this tip is for you.  Since peak times are generally during weekday afternoons it makes sense to run your pool harder during the morning shoulder period or better still during the nighttime and early morning off peak hours.

Pools are large consumers of electricity and can often make up 30-40% of your total electricity bill so it really pays to adjust your pool’s operating hours.  Since most pools lie dormant during the winter months, shifting the filtration and cleaning to off peak hours will have little or no impact on your lifestyle.  Some modern pool control systems have inbuilt timers, but if you have an older system that can be turned on or off at the wall socket, then simply purchase a manual timer for under $10 or invest in a smart switch such as a WeMo Smart Switch which can be bought online for around $50 to $70.

The advantage of a smart switch is that you can remotely turn on your pool from your Apple or Android smartphone when you want to start the filter, or you can schedule its operating times.

We’ve calculated you could save between $500 and $1,500 or more each year by running your pool at off peak hours compared to peak hours.  How much you can save depends on where you live and the amount of power your pool equipment consumes.

#2 — run your dishwasher after 10pm

It’s estimated that the average dishwasher unit uses around 1.5 kilowatt hours to run a load of dishes.  For families that run their dishwasher every day, shifting the time you run your dishwasher can really make a difference to your electricity bill.  Many people find it easy to set their dishwasher to turn on after 10pm which is when the evening off peak period starts.  For very little effort this could save you $100 to $200 per year.  That’s at least one good meal out with the family, which itself will save you another load of dishwashing.

#3 — get a solar PV system

Unlike the first two tips which require you to shift the times you use your electrical equipment from peak times to off peak times, following this next tip will simply eliminate a huge amount of your peak grid consumption by replacing it with your own clean and free solar generated electricity.

Of course solar is not strictly free, since you have to invest in your system, but once it’s up and running you benefit by replacing expensive grid electricity with zero additional cost solar electricity.  Mojo’s analysis shows that a typical solar PV can pay for itself in around 4-6 years after which you’ll continue to benefit from zero cost electricity for another 15 or more years.

One tip when installing your solar PV system is to get your installer to position the panels on any west facing roof areas.  While the overall system production is optimised if the panels face due north, the benefit of facing west is that you’ll capture more of the afternoon sun which is exactly when the most expensive peak hours are.

#4 — install a battery storage system

Battery storage technology has come a long way over the past couple of years and thanks to the likes of Tesla with their Powerwall product, getting a battery storage system for your home has even become desirable — just like getting a new iPhone or TV.  We’ve calculated that a new Powerwall 2 from Tesla could save you hundreds of dollars off your electricity bills each year by storing your excess solar energy and using your battery during peak hours instead of drawing energy from the grid.  In the future it will even be possible for homes without solar PV installed to get a battery which can then be charged up cheaply overnight and used during peak hours when grid electricity costs are highest.

Batteries are not for everyone (yet) as they are still expensive and will not save you as much as a solar PV system, while often costing a lot more than a decent sized solar PV system.

#5 — get Mojo’s smart meter and app

Mojo’s smart meter and app represent a real game changer for achieving a better level of control and visibility over your electricity consumption and spend.  Customers with our smart meter are able to view their electricity costs in real-time which helps to keep everyone in the family aware of what your appliances are costing.

Just by being more engaged in energy around your home will help you to make small yet meaningful changes.  Even something as simple as turning off appliances that are in standby mode and not in use, and turning off lights in rooms that are unoccupied can result in hundreds of dollars of savings each year.

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