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Power use checklist

Here's what to look for if you have high power bills

  • take a close look at your bill. Check which meter is showing high use. Is it the hot water (controlled) or household 24-hour (anytime) supply, or is it both?
  • check the number of days that the power use has been high, and which days it was higher if you can. Did something unusual happen on those days? Did you use heating or cooling more than usual? Or more hot water in the laundry?Is your bill an estimated reading, or an actual reading? Estimated readings can be higher as they don’t bill for the exact amount of electricity you’ve used and are likely based on an average over the year
  • could your bill be higher than normal because it’s for more days in the month (eg. 31 days instead of 28)?
  • compare usage with a similar time the previous year and make note of the difference. Is it higher due to different weather, have you had visitors to stay, or got a new appliance?

If you have high hot water usage

Hot water makes up a large part of most household bills, so can contribute to higher bills. Things to check include:

  • check if the Ajax valve is overflowing. For a low-pressure system, the roof pipe vent will be on the roof, or for a mains pressure system check the outlet pipe on the side of your house
  • ensure you fix any dripping taps
  • check the temperature of your hot water and ensure the thermostat isn’t set too high. It should be set around 60 degrees Celsius
  • inspect your hot water cylinder. If it’s old there may be heat loss through poor insulation or pipe lagging. Reduce heat loss by wrapping your cylinder and pipes
  • check where you are using your hot water to make sure you aren’t running hot taps unnecessarily. Showers use less hot water than baths, and fitting an energy efficient showerhead can reduce hot water use. Washing clothes in cold water is as effective as warm washes.

If you have high household 24 hour (anytime) power usage

  • take note of the household appliances you are running. Pool filters, spa pools, tropical fish tanks, water pressure pumps and aerated sewerage systems can all increase your power use
  • are there any new appliances that may be having an impact? Or have you had visitors to stay lately?
  • the number and age of refrigerators and freezers could be causing your high-power use. They need to be regularly defrosted and check the seals are in good condition. They also work more efficiently when well-ventilated and in a cool area of your home
  • consider replacing standard lightbulbs with energy efficient LED ones to help lower your power use
  • thermostats or timers on heaters and electric blankets help control heat levels and power use. Set your heat pump to 20 degrees Celsius. Only use your heaters or heat pump to warm the room you’re in and keep doors to other rooms closed

Still puzzled?

If you’re still unsure as to what is causing your high power bill, view our household appliances running costs factsheet for more information.

It’s also be worth working out if you can get a better power deal from another energy retailer by checking out the Powerswitch website.

You can also get in touch to borrow a check meter from us to test plug-in appliances.