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ActewAGL “free” energy saving house calls

By Valleyboy 20 March 2015 27

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I’ve just received a form letter from ActewAGL offering to install, for free, products such as door seals and energy-saving light bulbs so that I can start saving money.

Informed by the No Santa Claus Theorem, I find it counterintuitive that a business would altruistically spend money on me so that I will in future spend less on their products.

Has anyone here taken up ActewAGL on their offer of a “free” energy saving house call? If so, what’s the catch?


What’s Your opinion?


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ActewAGL “free” energy saving house calls
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LID 2:29 pm 04 Aug 15

Apparently ActewAGL are not getting enough requests for free bulbs as I had a young man show up at my door uninvited to provide this service. I had not heard of the plan, but seemed like a win-win situation so I let him in. With very little explanation he scampered around and changed all my bulbs, installed 3 door draft protectors and 3 energy power savers on computer and TV power outlets. I have a few issues with this services including 1) bulbs too dim to use; 2) damage to TV cabinet; and 3) increased electricity bill. I regret having let him in.

I had not had good experience in the past with dim energy saving bulbs, so I did query if these would be the same brightness as what I currently had. He assured me that they would. This is not the case. For several rooms I have had to go buy new bulbs due to the dim lighting. For awhile I was actually using a torch in my home office to find paperwork. For others I simply make sure I turn the light on 20 minutes before I actually have to do anything in the room to give them a chance to warm/brighten up. It is irritating and in the end has cost me money to replace these super dim bulbs.

The power savers seem like a good idea, but we ended up disconnecting the one on our TV after a few days. It emits an annoying bright green laser-like light upon touching a remote button or starts to flash if you haven’t used the remote for 45 minutes. When we disconnected this device we realized he had stuck it to our TV cabinet with a very strong adhesive and we cannot remove it without damaging the cabinet. He did not ask if he could use the adhesive. I am considering contacting ActewAGL for damages.

Finally, I just received my electricity bill for the last quarter and my usage is higher than it has ever been before. I am not blaming the new bulbs and power savers for the increase, but they certainly have not reduced my usage.

wildturkeycanoe 6:57 am 30 Jun 15

JimCharles said :

What lumen bulbs do they install as replacements…equivalent to 40W or 60W ?
Do you get to choose the colour, cold or warm or a choice of the k scale?

They only install warm white, not cool white or daylight. The most horrible colored lamp in the world IMO.
With LED replacements it is worth noting that not all transformers for MR16 downlights are suitable for LED lamps, so some people may need to get the Tx replaced as well [I don’t believe that is a free service]. At around $10 a pop it could get expensive if your house is loaded with them.
I installed one of the double sided draught stoppers in the bathroom [the only door in the house that needs it] and found it keeps on sliding out from underneath. The door stopper made it hard to slide under so it had to be cut to fit and it always slides out from underneath, jamming the door so it doesn’t close. Good idea but ends up creating a bigger problem than it solves.
With the TV power saving things, what happens to your Tbox, HDD DVD recorder or Foxtel box when you have programs scheduled for recording and they get put to “sleep”? Not going to happen in our house, there would need to be blood spilled if the first episode of Falling Skies doesn’t get recorded.

Maya123 2:06 pm 29 Jun 15

JimCharles said :

What lumen bulbs do they install as replacements…equivalent to 40W or 60W ?
Do you get to choose the colour, cold or warm or a choice of the k scale?

I’ve just booked an appt having purchased a house full of halogen spotlights, but the first available appointment is in December…seems like it is very popular.
If it’s not that good a deal i might have replaced them all by then anyway.

“equivalent to 40W or 60W”

Surely brighter? The equivalent to 40W or 60W incandescent would be very dim. This brought back memories of when I moved into my last house. Nothing brighter than 60W. It was a very dingily lit house. I soon had fixed that and brightened the rooms.

JimCharles 12:34 pm 29 Jun 15

What lumen bulbs do they install as replacements…equivalent to 40W or 60W ?
Do you get to choose the colour, cold or warm or a choice of the k scale?

I’ve just booked an appt having purchased a house full of halogen spotlights, but the first available appointment is in December…seems like it is very popular.
If it’s not that good a deal i might have replaced them all by then anyway.

Valleyboy 6:36 pm 25 Mar 15

Just got back and checked in to the site. Thank you all for your instructive responses!

JC 3:57 pm 22 Mar 15

dungfungus said :

The electrician said they could be covered with insulation bats which cannot be done with halogen.
I understand that unless they are covered an EER 5 rating cannot be given not that I am hung up on these standards.

PS if a sparky told you this, my suggestion is to never get him back to your house ever again. Whilst it probably isn’t an issue covering LED downlight fittings up, it is still very much against the wiring rules, as the rules do not differentiate between using LED or incandescent ‘globes’. What they care about is the fitting, and as the fitting can be used for both, it must never be covered. There are of course boxes that can be installed to achieve EER ratings, or better still don’t install downlights.

JC 3:52 pm 22 Mar 15

dungfungus said :

I recently had my entire house fitted with LED down-lights.
They get warm but not too hot to hold in the hand. Maybe the fact that they have large, metal fins dissipates the heat better.
The electrician said they could be covered with insulation bats which cannot be done with halogen.
I understand that unless they are covered an EER 5 rating cannot be given not that I am hung up on these standards.
Most rooms have dimmers fitted and they work perfectly.
There is a huge difference in price with LED lighting and this is reflected in the quality. One quote I received was over a thousand dollars cheaper than the one I accepted.

The metal fins are called heat sink, designed to increase the surface area to cool the things, which umm means they get hot, but of course the heat sink does its job so it doesn’t feel hot. Doesn’t mean they don’t get hot! Some early ones even had fans in them, I have some of these in my place and you can hear the fans kick in.

As for dimming, didn’t say it wasn’t possible just said there are issues. Firstly you need the right style of dimmer, there are 3 basic types (leading edge, trailing edge and universal), so the type installed must match the globe purchased otherwise you can and will eventually pop the dimmer. The other thing is even with the right type they don’t dim well below about 20%. They can start to flicker, or turn off, compared to traditional filament or halogen style globes than can basically go to 0% evenly.

Commercially lots of LED’s (and fluro’s) that get dimmed will have a separate driver controlled by an automation system, or some other electronic control method. Mostly using the DALI protocol. DALI works separately from the light circuit instructing the light what to do, with the ‘dimmer’ integrated into the the fitting.

My house had C-bus installed, with dimmers that are a shite load better than what you would find in a normal residential install and the issues with LED are really noticeable. The only place I have LED are on the non dimmable channels, so mostly outside the house, the hallway etc. Elsewhere I still use halogens.

JC 3:42 pm 22 Mar 15

gooterz said :

LED’s actually don’t produce much heat if at all, some have efficiencies over 100%. The heat is the LED driver that converts the 240v into the 4v or so that the LED needs. Some are bad and some aren’t too bad.

Which is integrated into the bulb. So stand by my point that they are not really suited to enclosed light fittings. Most even have it written on the box, not that many see it.

switch 9:21 am 22 Mar 15

gooterz said :

LED’s actually don’t produce much heat if at all, some have efficiencies over 100%.

So let’s use them to generate all the power we need and then some…

fabforty 9:01 am 22 Mar 15

I had my place done last year. It was quick and easy (except for the part at the end when you have to have a very long talk with the guy at ACTEW HQ who goes through a list of questions about the installation).

I have had no other issues at all and have noticed a decrease in my electricity bill.

dungfungus 10:24 pm 21 Mar 15

JC said :

Maya123 said :

Solidarity said :

The energy saving light-bulbs are shite, leaving a shadowy, dimly lit room instead of a nice bright kitchen bench and the TV auto-turn off thing is a pain in the a***.

Useless, in my opinion.

They are not useless if you use a bright enough bulb. I have bought 25watt fluorescent bulbs and they are bright enough; closer to the (clear) incandescent 100watt bulbs, than those that falsely advertise they are. LED are slowly replacing them. Unfortunately I haven’t seen a LED bulb I like the colour of. I don’t like the present cool or warm choices. I use cool in fluorescent bulbs.
Unfortunately some overhead fans I bought a couple of years ago with built in lights can’t take anything but low powered fluorescent bulbs as they don’t fit larger brighter bulbs. The add said they would take up to two 20 watt bulbs, but I discovered, after the fans were all wired in, that meant incandescent bulbs, even though incandescent bulbs were no longer sold. I suppose I could have returned the fans, but they were already wired in. Now I have to put up with dim rooms. Some people like dim rooms, but I don’t.
I am in the process of replacing another wired in light (came with the house) that won’t fit bigger, brighter bulbs. Maybe LED bulbs will solve this problem, but first they need to be brighter and with a better colour balance.

Its been discussed here before but incandescent globes are still very much available, though they need to be halogen, rather than the traditional filament type.

Also one thing with LED’s is they run quite hot. So in many cases they are not suitable for enclosed light fittings. Then there are also dimming issues, same with fluro’s too.

I recently had my entire house fitted with LED down-lights.
They get warm but not too hot to hold in the hand. Maybe the fact that they have large, metal fins dissipates the heat better.
The electrician said they could be covered with insulation bats which cannot be done with halogen.
I understand that unless they are covered an EER 5 rating cannot be given not that I am hung up on these standards.
Most rooms have dimmers fitted and they work perfectly.
There is a huge difference in price with LED lighting and this is reflected in the quality. One quote I received was over a thousand dollars cheaper than the one I accepted.

gooterz 8:46 pm 21 Mar 15

JC said :

Maya123 said :

Solidarity said :

The energy saving light-bulbs are shite, leaving a shadowy, dimly lit room instead of a nice bright kitchen bench and the TV auto-turn off thing is a pain in the a***.

Useless, in my opinion.

They are not useless if you use a bright enough bulb. I have bought 25watt fluorescent bulbs and they are bright enough; closer to the (clear) incandescent 100watt bulbs, than those that falsely advertise they are. LED are slowly replacing them. Unfortunately I haven’t seen a LED bulb I like the colour of. I don’t like the present cool or warm choices. I use cool in fluorescent bulbs.
Unfortunately some overhead fans I bought a couple of years ago with built in lights can’t take anything but low powered fluorescent bulbs as they don’t fit larger brighter bulbs. The add said they would take up to two 20 watt bulbs, but I discovered, after the fans were all wired in, that meant incandescent bulbs, even though incandescent bulbs were no longer sold. I suppose I could have returned the fans, but they were already wired in. Now I have to put up with dim rooms. Some people like dim rooms, but I don’t.
I am in the process of replacing another wired in light (came with the house) that won’t fit bigger, brighter bulbs. Maybe LED bulbs will solve this problem, but first they need to be brighter and with a better colour balance.

Its been discussed here before but incandescent globes are still very much available, though they need to be halogen, rather than the traditional filament type.

Also one thing with LED’s is they run quite hot. So in many cases they are not suitable for enclosed light fittings. Then there are also dimming issues, same with fluro’s too.

LED’s actually don’t produce much heat if at all, some have efficiencies over 100%. The heat is the LED driver that converts the 240v into the 4v or so that the LED needs. Some are bad and some aren’t too bad.

JC 12:24 pm 21 Mar 15

Maya123 said :

Solidarity said :

The energy saving light-bulbs are shite, leaving a shadowy, dimly lit room instead of a nice bright kitchen bench and the TV auto-turn off thing is a pain in the a***.

Useless, in my opinion.

They are not useless if you use a bright enough bulb. I have bought 25watt fluorescent bulbs and they are bright enough; closer to the (clear) incandescent 100watt bulbs, than those that falsely advertise they are. LED are slowly replacing them. Unfortunately I haven’t seen a LED bulb I like the colour of. I don’t like the present cool or warm choices. I use cool in fluorescent bulbs.
Unfortunately some overhead fans I bought a couple of years ago with built in lights can’t take anything but low powered fluorescent bulbs as they don’t fit larger brighter bulbs. The add said they would take up to two 20 watt bulbs, but I discovered, after the fans were all wired in, that meant incandescent bulbs, even though incandescent bulbs were no longer sold. I suppose I could have returned the fans, but they were already wired in. Now I have to put up with dim rooms. Some people like dim rooms, but I don’t.
I am in the process of replacing another wired in light (came with the house) that won’t fit bigger, brighter bulbs. Maybe LED bulbs will solve this problem, but first they need to be brighter and with a better colour balance.

Its been discussed here before but incandescent globes are still very much available, though they need to be halogen, rather than the traditional filament type.

Also one thing with LED’s is they run quite hot. So in many cases they are not suitable for enclosed light fittings. Then there are also dimming issues, same with fluro’s too.

Maya123 11:17 am 21 Mar 15

John Moulis said :

I still have bad memories about the night they did that to our house. It was like Kristallnacht. First they came for the light bulbs, then the children … They took all our bulbs despite them being energy saving halogen bulbs and replaced them with those squirly ones which take a few seconds to come on and a few minutes to get bright. They also attached a gadget to the TV which turned it off after 30 minutes. The following morning I threw away all the squirly bulbs and disconnected the TV gadget. Luckily I had a secret stash of halogen bulbs away from their clutches.

Every few months they come to the door threatening to do another energy audit of the house and we tell them to go away as it has already been done. Never again!

They replaced the halogen bulbs, because they use more energy than fluorescent bulbs. Halogen bulbs are not much better than old incandescent bulbs. Fluorescent bulbs don’t have to take a few seconds to come on. Many come on immediately. It depends on the brand. I would never except something that turns off equipment as I don’t need this. I turn off things myself at the wall when not is use and don’t leave things running unnecessarily. Which helps explain why I use less than one quarter the power of a similar sized household.

John Moulis 8:54 am 21 Mar 15

I still have bad memories about the night they did that to our house. It was like Kristallnacht. First they came for the light bulbs, then the children … They took all our bulbs despite them being energy saving halogen bulbs and replaced them with those squirly ones which take a few seconds to come on and a few minutes to get bright. They also attached a gadget to the TV which turned it off after 30 minutes. The following morning I threw away all the squirly bulbs and disconnected the TV gadget. Luckily I had a secret stash of halogen bulbs away from their clutches.

Every few months they come to the door threatening to do another energy audit of the house and we tell them to go away as it has already been done. Never again!

Nightshade 8:48 pm 20 Mar 15

Solidarity said :

The energy saving light-bulbs are shite, leaving a shadowy, dimly lit room instead of a nice bright kitchen bench and the TV auto-turn off thing is a pain in the a***.

I was happy to get a 15 watt light bulb for a lamp I’d had trouble fitting, but agree about the TV power-saver thing. It always turned the TV off at the most inopportune moments. After only 6 months, however, it seems to have died, as yesterday I couldn’t turn my TV on at all. At least that meant I could remove it without feeling guilty.

Maya123 5:06 pm 20 Mar 15

Solidarity said :

Maya123 said :

Solidarity said :

The energy saving light-bulbs are shite, leaving a shadowy, dimly lit room instead of a nice bright kitchen bench and the TV auto-turn off thing is a pain in the a***.

Useless, in my opinion.

They are not useless if you use a bright enough bulb. I have bought 25watt fluorescent bulbs and they are bright enough; closer to the (clear) incandescent 100watt bulbs, than those that falsely advertise they are. LED are slowly replacing them. Unfortunately I haven’t seen a LED bulb I like the colour of. I don’t like the present cool or warm choices. I use cool in fluorescent bulbs.
Unfortunately some overhead fans I bought a couple of years ago with built in lights can’t take anything but low powered fluorescent bulbs as they don’t fit larger brighter bulbs. The add said they would take up to two 20 watt bulbs, but I discovered, after the fans were all wired in, that meant incandescent bulbs, even though incandescent bulbs were no longer sold. I suppose I could have returned the fans, but they were already wired in. Now I have to put up with dim rooms. Some people like dim rooms, but I don’t.
I am in the process of replacing another wired in light (came with the house) that won’t fit bigger, brighter bulbs. Maybe LED bulbs will solve this problem, but first they need to be brighter and with a better colour balance.

That’s great.

You know what also worked?

The incandescent bulbs I had before the ACTEW guy ruined my kitchen.

This is a discussion about ACTEW initiative, not about other solutions.

My overhead fan lights would be even dimmer if I put two 20 watt (maximum rating for them) incandescent bulbs in them, rather than two fluorescent bulbs. Even two 16 watt fluorescent bulbs, although not bright enough, are brighter than two 20 watt incandescent bulbs.

Solidarity 4:21 pm 20 Mar 15

Maya123 said :

Solidarity said :

The energy saving light-bulbs are shite, leaving a shadowy, dimly lit room instead of a nice bright kitchen bench and the TV auto-turn off thing is a pain in the a***.

Useless, in my opinion.

They are not useless if you use a bright enough bulb. I have bought 25watt fluorescent bulbs and they are bright enough; closer to the (clear) incandescent 100watt bulbs, than those that falsely advertise they are. LED are slowly replacing them. Unfortunately I haven’t seen a LED bulb I like the colour of. I don’t like the present cool or warm choices. I use cool in fluorescent bulbs.
Unfortunately some overhead fans I bought a couple of years ago with built in lights can’t take anything but low powered fluorescent bulbs as they don’t fit larger brighter bulbs. The add said they would take up to two 20 watt bulbs, but I discovered, after the fans were all wired in, that meant incandescent bulbs, even though incandescent bulbs were no longer sold. I suppose I could have returned the fans, but they were already wired in. Now I have to put up with dim rooms. Some people like dim rooms, but I don’t.
I am in the process of replacing another wired in light (came with the house) that won’t fit bigger, brighter bulbs. Maybe LED bulbs will solve this problem, but first they need to be brighter and with a better colour balance.

That’s great.

You know what also worked?

The incandescent bulbs I had before the ACTEW guy ruined my kitchen.

This is a discussion about ACTEW initiative, not about other solutions.

dungfungus 4:19 pm 20 Mar 15

JessP said :

Did it last year and it was great. Good advice, free stuff (efficient bulbs for a light fitting that I hadn’t been able to source) , plugs for the TV, Door sealing etc.

ITS FREE PEOPLE!!! If you don’t like it disconnect it.

That said I found it all good.

ACTEW have to meet the efficiency bizzo from 2012. They are funded to do this. Just go with it.

“They are funded to do this”, “IT’S FREE PEOPLE!!! ”
The age of entitlement is alive and well.

JessP 4:02 pm 20 Mar 15

Did it last year and it was great. Good advice, free stuff (efficient bulbs for a light fitting that I hadn’t been able to source) , plugs for the TV, Door sealing etc. ITS FREE PEOPLE!!! If you don’t like it disconnect it. That said I found it all good.

ACTEW have to meet the efficiency bizzo from 2012. They are funded to do this. Just go with it.

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