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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.

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