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Being energy efficient reaps rewards for Western Australian families

For families right across this vast State, the temptation to reduce energy use bills has never been greater, particularly as we head into summer.

The ‘Switch the Future Energy Challenge’ campaign provided households with simple ideas that could save energy and potentially save money.

The Challenge was based on real-life experiences of families in the community who all took on the challenge to save energy - an initiative backed by Synergy, Western Power and Horizon Power.

For Rebecca and Brendan Fowler, of Canning Vale, the desire to keep energy use in check is a strong one.

With two young boys, endless loads of washing and a roomy home to heat and cool, the couple were looking for additional ways to save power when they signed up to the Switch The Future challenge – an initiative backed by Synergy, Western Power and Horizon Power to help residents find ways to save energy.

Not only did the Fowlers quickly shave $50 off their two-monthly power bill, they won $5000 in Harvey Norman vouchers to spend on energy efficient products for taking part in the challenge.

Rebecca said her family were average power users but had been trying to reduce their energy use for some time.

“We joined the challenge more out of curiosity to see if we were doing enough and if there was more we could do that wasn’t going to be too difficult,” Rebecca says.

“Some of the tips we were already doing but we tried out others to see if they would be significant for us.

“We emptied out our bar fridge and turned that off, for example, so we only use it when we really have to.

“The kids know when they have dirty clothes they have to put them in the washing machine and we don’t switch it on until it is a full load. The same goes with the dishwasher – we only run it when it is full.” 

The family has installed solar panels on their Canning Vale home and have tinted their front windows to reduce the heat entering the house, but the Switch The Future challenge offered a host of extra tips.  

“We have a theatre system and second television in our theatre room but we very rarely use it so we have switched that off at the power point,” Rebecca says.

While each change is minor, Rebecca says the difference is clear in the couple’s power bill.  

“Our last bill was about $50 cheaper so we are seeing a difference even though the changes are so small — it is not as though we are sitting around in the dark with candles,” she says. 

“The only change we have seen is to our power bill. It doesn’t affect anything we want to do, but it is about remembering to be a bit more vigilant.”

In Port Hedland, the Witt-Stone couple decreased their energy use from 71 units a week to 53 units a week, saving themselves a massive $18.60 a week or almost $150 over the two-month billing period.

Janine Witt said most of the savings were through cutting back the use of the air-conditioner dramatically.

For a personalised energy saving plan, and to compare and track your usage, go to