WP_20140507_13_43_39_Pro This post is sponsored by Origin I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned to you that autumn is my favourite time of year? like a gazillion times! I just love it. The days are cooler, though lately we’ve had some freaky warm snap that’s making my spring flowering trees think they are heading into the wrong season, and the colour around here is exquisite.   WP_20140507_12_59_14_Pro__highres   We’ve been going on walks and doing some nature clubby kinds of things with Lew. It feels good to be outside and not fear the sting of that hot summer sun.   WP_20140507_13_18_56_ProWP_20140507_13_16_12_Pro   I’ve had the fire going a few times though our house is so lovely and warm in the evenings that I haven’t put it on too often, not just yet at least. Our concrete floor has been amazing. The northern sun this time of year soaks into our living spaces and my bedroom and heats the floor up. It makes such a difference once the cold of the night sets in. So often I hear people mutter about concrete floors being cold but it couldn’t be farther from the truth – especially if houses are facing the right way. Like ours is. I guess you could say I’m now a big advocate for concrete floors and north facing houses:) WP_20140507_13_16_35_Pro__highres But……despite the lovely thermal mass that my concrete floor provides and despite the northern aspect and despite insulation my electricity bills are still high and I know we’re not the only ones. Everyone I talk to has a whinge about the increase in electricity bills. So I’ve decided  that this is one bill  I need to really work on. We live on a pretty tight budget and I’m always looking at ways to cut costs. Looks like electricity is next on the list. One of my last electricity bills really shocked me so I gave Origin a call to see what was going on with the bill. Hello! I learnt a lot from that phone call and from a recent visit I had to an Origin customer service hub near by. I found out some pretty cool budget saving things we can all do to get our energy bills down. Bonus. And so I’m going to share them with you too. I’m nice like that;)   WP_20140507_13_18_43_Pro  So, the first and most useful piece of energy saving info I got was that there are 3 different energy ratings over the period of one day and each household is charged according to what they use and what time they use it. Did you know that? I didn’t and what I also learnt was that I was using high energy using devices like my dishwasher and washing machine and dryer at the peak times. No wonder my bill was so high. Not all power boxes have the doovery thing that shows you the 3 different ratings but newer houses do and it turns out I could’ve been checking it all along and saving myself some money. At least I know now. So these are the 3 rates for NSW: Peak (7am – 9am and 5pm – 8pm on Weekdays) 38.159 c/kWh Shoulder (9am – 5pm and 8pm – 10pm on Weekdays) 38.159 c/kWh Off Peak  All Other Times 18.997 c/kWh If you use your power sucking things during off peak then the rates are more than half that of the peak rates. I so wish I had known this little detail sometime ago. Better late than never. Oh, and you probably already know this but anything that heats or cools or pumps water uses the most energy. They also seem to be the most helpful things in my life! We run 2 electric pumps for our water system here in this new place and we also run a pump for our bio septic so there’s not a  lot  we can do about those devices but it’s handy to know that they are probably using  a fair bit of energy each day. Or maybe it’s just something extra to stress about? Every state varies, of course, so it’s a good idea to check out your own state’s deals to see what rate your home is on and how you can best reduce your power bill. WP_20140507_13_23_01_Pro   On my visit to the customer service hub I got this sheet which tells you exactly what you are spending on each electrical item. Here are some details that I wanted to share with you  and now I have a better idea of what I’m spending on electricity and where I can cut back. So, for our home these are the rates that Origin give us for each of these electrical appliances…. Air conditioner –  7 hours per day {over 85 days} $0.74 cents per hour. $443 per quarter. Thankfully we’ve got a wood fire so I hardly turn my air con on in the winter. Dryer – 1 hour per week $1.37 per hour. $18 per quarter. Dishwasher – 3 times per week {I use mine virtually everyday so my figures would be at least double this} $0.31 per load. $12 per quarter. I’m surprised that my dishwasher uses more electricity than my dryer. Are you? Halogen globe – 12 x 50 W 5 hours per day. $0.18 per hour. $49 per quarter. Pricey. Most down lights are halogen btw. CFL globe – 6 x 20 W 5 hours per day $0.04 per hour. $10 per quarter. Fridge – Family size {around 400 L} $0.39 per day. $36 per quarter. TV – LCD 40 inch. 5 hours per day. $0.05 per hour. $23 per quarter.      –  Plasma 42 inch. 5 hours per day. $0.09 per hour. $43 per quarter. Washing Machine – top loader. 5 loads per week. $0.51 per load. $33 per quarter. Again, I’m just sharing what the rates are for our home here in coastal NSW. I know each state has their own deals and rates. If you haven’t already, you should go and check out your power bill and see what you are being charged.                         WP_20140507_13_44_14_Pro   So that’s what I’ve learnt about my energy bills. We use instant gas for our hot water and some cooking which is working out to be  fairly cost effective. I would’ve loved a solar hot water system but at the time of building this house we just couldn’t fit it into our very tight budget. Perhaps down the track we’ll install some solar, that’d be nice. Now it’s your turn to tell me about your energy bills. Are they high? Do you have any energy saving tips that you’ve discovered along the way? Have you got solar panels? Happy energy saving and budgeting. Agh! Kim x