6 ways to keep your power bill down during lockdown
With New Zealand in full lockdown, families up and down the country are spending almost all of their time at home. Whether you’re working remotely, looking after the kids or simply being a good Kiwi and practising social distancing, the extra time spent indoors will probably result in a slightly higher power bill than usual.
The good news is there a number of things you can do to keep your power bill down. In this blog post, we’ll show you some practical tips and tricks to reduce your household’s power consumption during lockdown.
1. Set up an energy-efficient home office
If you’ve suddenly been made a remote worker, you’ve probably already discovered that working from home isn’t just about snacking all day and wearing your pyjamas 24/7. It’s also about finding ways to be productive, efficient and accountable - and a big part of this comes down to your work space.
When setting up your home office, think about what you can do to make it more energy efficient. Ideally, you should set up your office in a smallish space with good natural light, which will make it cheaper to heat. Use LEDs for office lighting, configure your computer screen to turn off automatically after a few minutes of inactivity and shut your devices down at the end of the day instead of putting them into standby mode.
2. Turn off your devices and appliances
Your electronic devices, appliances, lights and heaters are probably going to get a good workout over the next few weeks.
Minimise power consumption by always switching off your electronics when they’re not in use and turning off the lights if you leave the room for more than 10 minutes.
To further conserve power, remember to switch off your electronics at the wall to reduce standby power usage - doing so can save you about $100 annually on your power bill! Check out this blog post to learn more about how to reduce standby power loads.
3. Save power when doing the laundry
Using lockdown as an opportunity to catch up on the laundry? You might be surprised to learn that washing on a warm cycle can use up to 10 times more energy as a cold wash - that’s about 20-40 cents more per wash!
Drying your laundry costs about $1 per load, so always try to dry your clothes outdoors if the weather’s nice. If you have to use the dryer, you can improve energy efficiency with the following tips:
- Thoroughly spin dry clothes in your washing machine before putting them in the dryer.
- Clean the lint filter of your dryer after each load.
- Avoid overloading and underloading your dryer.
- Separate loads into lightweight and heavyweight fabrics to allow for faster and more consistent drying.
4. Reduce screen time
Whether you’re working from home, watching Netflix or gaming the nights away, there’s going to be a lot of screen time for kids and parents alike as everyone looks for ways to keep themselves occupied during lockdown.
Maintain a healthy balance with your tech and keep your power bill under control by reducing screen time. Get out the old classics like puzzles, board games and arts and crafts, have a family bake-off, organise a picnic in the backyard or round up your bubble and go for a walk around the block - there are dozens of ways to have fun around the home without a screen.
5. Keep your home warm and cosy
Now that we’re heading into winter, it’s important to be on the ball when it comes to keeping your home warm. Making the most of the sun’s natural warmth will allow you to keep your home a comfortable temperature with minimal use of electric heating systems.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Close the windows before the sun goes down.
- Shut the curtains to reduce heat loss.
- Draught-proof your home by sealing gaps and cracks in your walls, ceilings and doors.
See this blog post for more information on how to save money on your power bill this winter.
6. Take advantage of the Winter Energy Payment
The Winter Energy Payment is a government initiative that provides vulnerable households with weekly payments to offset the cost of heating over the winter months. As part of the government’s $12.1 billion COVID-19 spending package, the Winter Energy Payment for 2020 has been doubled to the following:
- A single qualifying person with no dependent children will receive $40.91 a week.
- Qualifying couples, and people with dependent children will receive $63.64 a week.
You may be eligible for the Winter Energy Payment if you receive:
- NZ Superannuation
- Veteran’s Pension
- Jobseeker Support
- Jobseeker Support Student Hardship
- Sole Parent Support
- Supported Living Payment
- Young Parent Payment
- Youth Payment
- Emergency Benefit
- Emergency Maintenance Allowance.
If you are eligible, you don’t need to apply - you’ll automatically get the Winter Energy Payment along with your regular payments.
Residential power use is likely to rise as people around the country shift to working from home. Being mindful of your household’s energy consumption and adopting some of the above advice will go a long way toward keeping your power bill down during lockdown.
Here at Pulse Energy, it’s not quite business as usual - our teams are working from home and we’re currently unable to visit your property to read your meter - but you can rest assured COVID-19 will not affect our ability to supply you with power. We’re still here to provide you with low cost electricity and great customer service during these difficult times. Please see our official update for more information about how Pulse Energy is handling COVID-19.
From all of us here at Pulse Energy, we wish you and your loved ones all the best during the lockdown. Stay safe!