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Moved house, electricity bills skyrocketed. Why?

By Gnaty77 - 2 June 2015 29


We moved house just under a year ago from a two-bedroom, one bathroom to a 3.5-bedroom, two bathroom in the Queanbeyan area and have tripled our electricity costs (from $290 in the biggest quarter to almost $700 in our biggest quarter – summer).

I initially thought it may be due to us having used the reverse cycle heating/cooling but reality is we don’t use it that often. In fact this winter we’ve used it three times for one hour to reduce the chill.

I have phoned ActewAGL to discuss and they say that our consumption is pretty consistent with how the property has been over the last few years, however there are only two of us, with one or two visitors every three weekends or so, whereas the previous occupants had a family of four.

Is anyone aware of, or can recommend, somewhere we can rent a unit that can measure how much electricity is being used? As a renter, we really don’t want to have to get an electrician in and I don’t think the real estate/owners would pay for it unless there was definitely a faulty appliance.

It should be noted that we have been rugging up and not using the heating cooling, turning off lights and power points etc in order to try and save electricity and we still have a $600 bill for the last quarter… perhaps this is even normal!?

In which case I would like to know how much you pay if leaving in NSW region and for only two people (with visitors maybe three).

Thanks in advance for your advice.

What’s Your opinion?

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29 Responses to
Moved house, electricity bills skyrocketed. Why?
wildturkeycanoe 8:26 pm 03 Jun 15

Free advice from an electrician – it’s most likely the thermostat in the hot water unit. If faulty, it will be trying to heat the water continuously and would use that kind of power easily. You could prove it by seeing how many kilowatts are used in a normal day by reading the kilowatt hours, then turn off the hot water for the next 24 hours and see if the consumption has reduced dramatically. If it doesn’t prove to be the culprit, you may need to try different circuits to see what is using all that juice.

watto23 3:24 pm 03 Jun 15

BenjaminRose1991 said :

If you have electric hot water check the thermostat setting. Make sure it’s set to anywhere between 50 and 70 degrees.

Second Postalgeek. Check for leaks in the HWS plumbing.

Completely agree with this one. I upped the temperature on mine by 5 degrees and when the electricity bill came I dropped it back again. It cost me hundreds of dollars to have that slightly hotter water!!

Lighting and even leaving the TV on won’t give you bill shock. Cooling and heating either air or water, plus difference in electricity costs in NSW are likely to be the problem.

BenjaminRose1991 1:26 am 03 Jun 15

If you have electric hot water check the thermostat setting. Make sure it’s set to anywhere between 50 and 70 degrees.

Second Postalgeek. Check for leaks in the HWS plumbing.

Nightshade 7:52 pm 02 Jun 15

I have a Belkin Energy Use Monitor ( that can indicate the power used by individual appliances – provided they plug into a power outlet.

Maya123 7:02 pm 02 Jun 15

tooltime said :

We use about $5/day in spring/autumn, $10/day in summer/winter in QBN. And were frugal with it…

That’s a HUGE bill; $900 for a summer quarter. You must be using an air-conditioner in summer to get that massive bill. If I did the maths right, the average four person household uses much less than that, so you are way above average. How can you consider that frugal? That’s even allowing for cheaper electricity in Canberra. To give a better comparison, how many kWhs is that and how big is your household?
In summer I used 226kWh. $37.64 with GST for three months. (That’s without the supply charges, which is extra.)

tooltime 4:38 pm 02 Jun 15

We use about $5/day in spring/autumn, $10/day in summer/winter in QBN. And were frugal with it…

tim_c 3:44 pm 02 Jun 15

Go and have a look at the meter – if you have an analogue one, you will see how quickly the wheel is turning (faster means more electricity being used). If you turn everything off, it should stop. you can turn a few things on and see how it’s affected. If you have a digital meter, you might have to check the reading, then check it again after a while (say, an hour). If you have everything switched off, the reading should be the same an hour later, if you have something using a lot of electricity, the reading will obviously be higher.
Lighting uses very little electricity compared to heating/cooling, hot water, refrigeration, etc.
It may also pay to check that the meter readings on the account match the readings on the meter – meter readers do sometimes make mistakes (did you note the meter reading when you moved in?!).

vintage123 2:52 pm 02 Jun 15

Yep NSW rates are higher. This is the norm. Basic bill for friends of mine at murrumbateman is 6k a year for electricity and 5k a year for gas. 11k in total for a year of hot water, hot meals, cool drinks and aircon in summer.

scentednightgardens 2:41 pm 02 Jun 15

Southmouth said :

Electricity in NSW is much more expensive than the ACT. Also, a quick look at the meter while your partner turns things on and off should show you the culprit if there is one.

Yes – NSW charges are much higher than the ACT. Double or triple per kilowatt hour, depending on your contract. ACT rates are the cheapest in Australia and rural NSW some of the highest so you’d need to factor that into the equation, unless you have already done so.

Maya123 2:14 pm 02 Jun 15

I can’t offer any advice, and sorry this is of no help to you, but that reminds me of a one bedroom flat I once rented in Hackett. It was a house that had been split into flats. I moved there from a three bedroom group house (three to five people) and my electricity bills were higher in the flat than the bill for the house with three to five people. Plus in the group house, one of the tenants would wastefully leave a heater on in her bedroom, whether she was in it or not, but still the flat got higher power bills. In winter I was sitting in the flat at night huddled over a low powered heater, rather than heat the whole flat, still cold, and with no heater on most days or when I was in bed. The possible explanation there though, was that I was sharing the bill with another flat. However, they were often away, and everyone denied being the power user. But (and given my past (and future) electricity use as evidence) I suspect they must have had something that used a lot of power in the other flat, despite their denials. However, I did go in there once when the occupant had an emergency trip to hospital, to turn off appliances, and I didn’t find many. So maybe a mystery. I did notice though, a cable going from that house to the neighbours’, which I thought rather strange, but I left soon after and didn’t investigate further. Plus I was very young and inexperienced in these things. However, the flat rent was very cheap and fortunately compensated.

Southmouth 2:14 pm 02 Jun 15

Electricity in NSW is much more expensive than the ACT. Also, a quick look at the meter while your partner turns things on and off should show you the culprit if there is one.

BerraCitizen 1:55 pm 02 Jun 15

DickSmith / Bunnings etc sell little electronic meters that can tell you how much electricity something is sucking up. I’ve got one that you can input the electricity cost and then it can tell you the cost. The only issue is that it’ll only work with things you can plug into a wall socket.

Mysteryman 1:55 pm 02 Jun 15

Three hundred dollars in two weeks?! That sounds way, way too much. Did you check the billing period and the meter numbers to confirm they are billing you correctly, rather than estimating your consumption? I moved into a place with 2 weeks left in the billing cycle, and the energy supplier tried to bill me for the entire 3 month period despite the fact that I notified them of moving in and the date. That was taken care of with a phone call. I also checked the meter number and found they had estimated the amount, rather than taking a proper reading. I made sure they corrected that, too.

Postalgeek 1:42 pm 02 Jun 15

Check your hot water system isn’t leaking.

taninaus 1:18 pm 02 Jun 15

The libraries in Canberra have a kit you can borrow to test your electricity use that might be worth borrowing. you can test your appliances to see what is energy hungry – see here!horizon&view=subscriptionsummary&uri=full=3100001~!524948~!2&ri=3&aspect=subtab13&menu=search&ipp=20&spp=20&staffonly=&term=energy+kit&index=.GW&uindex=&aspect=subtab13&menu=search&ri=3

also think about the type of light globes, house orientation, gas or electric water/heating, lights being left on, dryer etc.

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