Customers concerned they will be cut off from the grid

middle aged couple looking at bill with concern

It’s difficult to avoid rising living costs, and if predictions are true, you’re facing another slug to energy bills.

Petrol has hit record prices, grocery items continue to be both in short supply and more costly, and utilities are following suit.

And it appears households are already preparing for bill shock, with research finding 44 per cent are anxious about rising energy costs and, more concerning, 20 per cent are worried about being disconnected from the grid.

The Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) latest report says wholesale costs have jumped by 141 per cent in the 12 months to 31 March.

Read: Electricity prices are spiking 10 times as much as normal

Dale Koenders, energy research expert at investment bank Barrenjoey, told the ABC he predicted energy price rises of up to 20 per cent a year in coming years as power companies pass on higher costs.

“The outlook is the average household electricity bill could be increasing in the order of 20 per cent this year and 20 per cent again next year unless we can see a change in the cost of electricity,” he said.

Comparison site Mozo surveyed consumers about managing the rising cost of electricity and more than half (53 per cent) said they would cut back on using their air conditioners and heaters and 10 per cent were planning to not use them at all.

“Aussie wallets are being hit from all directions by the rising cost of living,” says Mozo spokesperson Tom Godfrey.

“Now with the news that wholesale price hikes will be passed on to household energy bills, it’s little wonder so many Australians are concerned about keeping the lights on.”

Read: Gas heaters can kill

More than a third (36 per cent) of respondents said they would cut back on using their clothes dryer, with 11 per cent saying they would stop using it altogether.

However, it turns out we are still in love with working from home. In a survey by comparison website, 96 per cent of respondents want to continue to work from home, at least in some form, despite higher domestic energy costs.

“As fuel prices soar, the cost of commuting to an office often outweighs the increased household energy costs of working from home,” the survey stated.

That survey also found NSW and the ACT were the most energy-conscious states, while Queensland was the least energy conscious, which is reflected in the AEMO report that claims Queensland set an all-time record for demand on 8 March this year.

It appears the young are leading the way in terms of being energy conscious with 90 per cent aged 18 to 25 planning to lower their energy use compared with 65 per cent of those aged 61-plus.

Read: How is inflation calculated?

Energy-saving tips

  • Insulate your home, make sure windows and doors are sealed tight to reduce heating and cooling escaping.
  • Set your washing machine to cold water, and next time you need a new washer buy a front loader.
  • Adjust the temperature on your air conditioner. Every degree can add 10 per cent to the running costs so try to keep the thermostat to within four degrees of the outside temperature.
  • Turn off all appliances at the wall. ‘Vampire’ appliances left on at the power board suck out a surprising amount of electricity. Turn off washing machines, dryers and video consoles when not in use.
  • Think about switching providers. If you have been with the provider for a few years, you may be able to get a better deal by shopping around.
  • Investigate solar power. The upfront costs can be daunting, but in the long-term, the savings can be considerable. Visit for valuable information before you install, and recommendations for local providers.

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Written by Jan Fisher

Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.

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