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Betterways Battle winners save thousands of dollars a year on power bills

Regional Western Australian households competing in Horizon Power's Betterways Battle have shown you can cut power costs by up to 70 per cent and save thousands of dollars a year just by making some changes to the way you use electricity.

Horizon Power has just announced the winners of the Betterways Battle - a competition designed to increase awareness among Horizon Power's customers about the benefits to be gained from cutting energy use, both to your hip pocket and the environment.

The winning Betterways Battle households - the Hinkley family of five from Karratha and the Witt-Stone couple from Port Hedland - showed that even during the intense heat of a Pilbara summer, dramatic savings can be made just by keeping the temperature of the air-conditioner on a higher setting and cutting back on the pool pump and hot water use.

The Hinkley family, which competed against the Cahill-Pusep family of four in Broome, reduced their energy use by 30 per cent, saving themselves almost $64 a week or $3325.77 over a year.

An ecstatic Megan Hinkley said the family was shocked when they got their first power bill mid-way through the competition and discovered they had reduced it from $1000 to $600.

Mrs Hinkley said the family made some simple changes; including turning appliances off at the wall when not in use, setting the air-conditioner at a higher temperature and only using the pool pump once a day instead of twice.

"It was not difficult to do and we are going to keep doing what we have been doing during the competition. The cold water tap in the Pilbara provides hot water during the summer months anyway so another thing we did was turn off the hot water system," she said.

Donna Cahill, from Broome, said her family made significant savings in the first half of the competition, agreeing that it was easy to save money without greatly affecting lifestyle. However , she added, climatic conditions were a significant factor.

The temperatures in Broome were at least one to two degrees higher between December 2011 and February 2012 compared with the same time the previous year,

Mrs Cahill said the heat was intense in Broome over Christmas and coupled with a few sick family members, comfort became a higher priority than energy savings during that time.

The Witt-Stone couple, who live in Port Hedland, were competing against the Bests' in Norseman. They reduced their power use by more than 70 per cent in the four months of the competition compared with the same period in the previous year.

Again, putting the air conditioner on a higher setting and reducing its use was the main focus of this family.

Their reduction in energy equates to savings of $37 a week or $1940 over a 12 month period.

Jacqueline and Malcolm Best were already very efficient users of energy so they had to come up with more novel ways of reducing their use. This included getting out the torch instead of switching on the night light in the bedroom and changing hairstyles to cut back on the hairdryer use.

Horizon Power's Corporate Communications Adviser Wendy Pryer said many of the energy efficiency measures the competitors used in the competition could be followed by everyone.

"The Betterways Battle competition was fierce and our contenders fought hard to reduce their use the most, coming up with some fantastic, imaginative energy saving measures," she said.

"The great thing the competition has shown though is that simple changes together add up and result in a significant reduction in your power bill."

The two of the four competing households to record the lowest use of energy compared against their same use the year have won $5000 worth of energy efficiency refits or appliances. The runners-up are being awarded $2000 in energy efficiency appliances or refits.

Reduce your use by following these Betterways tips:
  • Increasing the temperature setting on your air-conditioner by one degree can reduce your electricity costs by up to $260 a year.
  • Heating and cooling our home forms roughly 25 per cent of your electricity bill. Installing ceiling insulation reduces the cost of heating and cooling our home by up to $425 a year.
  • Turning off your second fridge could save you up to $200 a year*.
  • Reducing the length of your shower from 8 minutes to 4 minutes could save up to $150 a year in energy savings*.
  • By using cold water rather than hot to wash your clothes you could save up to $120 a year*.

Leaving appliances switched on at the wall or in standby can make up to 10% of your electricity bill. Turning off equipment like your television and computer could save up to $150 a year (based on a survey, typical consumption of standby power is 92.2 watts (W) per household*. For more tips on how to save energy, click here.

Note: To ensure equity with the varying climatic conditions across the State, the Betterways Battle was designed so that the energy use of the households between October 2011 and February 2012 was compared against their own energy use in the equivalent four month period in the previous year.

Contact Reference: Wendy Pryer - Phone: 0409 796 999