Monday, April 18, 2011

Another day; another price increase!

Electricity users in New South Wales are facing yet another price increase. The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) says electricity prices for the average NSW resident will increase by 17.6 per cent by July.

This will come as very distressing news for many households who are already struggling to pay huge power bills.

The article quotes NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell telling of a family struggling with a $1400 power bill for a four-bedroom home. Assuming this is a quarterly bill and that they are being billed at $0.20 per kilowatt hour this equates to approximately 75 kilowatt hours per day - an outrageously high consumption of power.

There is no reason why a four-bedroom house should receive a $1400 power bill - there must be some serious wastage going on here, which if identified could enable the family to make huge savings. We have monitored large, inefficient houses in Perth who are operating pool pumps etc and are using around 50 kilowatt hours per day.

With some common sense and an EnviR home energy monitor a family with a bill as high as this should be able to reduce their usage down to at least 50 kilowatt hours per day. They could potentially cut their power bill by around one third which roughly equates to a saving of $1800 per year.

We can't control the price of electricity, unfortunately, but we can certainly control how much of it we are consuming.

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For more information on the EnviR home energy monitor visit

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Green Thing

We’ve just come across a thought provoking piece on being green and whether it is really such a “new” idea. It makes for some interesting reading and has got us feeling rather nostalgic!

In the line at the store, the cashier told the older woman that plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. The woman apologized to her and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”

That’s right, they didn’t have the green thing in her day. Back then, they returned their milk bottles, Coke bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, using the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.

But they didn’t have the green thing back her day.

In her day, they walked up stairs, because they didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. They walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time they had to go two blocks.

But she’s right. They didn’t have the green thing in her day.

Back then, they washed the baby’s diapers because they didn’t have the throw-away kind. They dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts – wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that old lady is right, they didn’t have the green thing back in her day.

Back then, they had one TV, or radio, in the house – not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a pizza dish, not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand because they didn’t have electric machines to do everything for you. When they packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, they used wadded up newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, they didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. They used a push mower that ran on human power. They exercised by working so they didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right, they didn’t have the green thing back then.

They drank from a fountain when they were thirsty, instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time they had a drink of water. They refilled pens with ink, instead of buying a new pen, and they replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But they didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar and kids rode their bikes to school or rode the school bus, instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. They had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And they didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But that old lady is right. They didn’t have the green thing back in her day.

Author unknown.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Clocks go back; bills go up!

Daylight Saving ended in five states across Australia this weekend, signalling the official end to the summer. As cooler weather begins to set in, so power bills begin to rise.

Even if you're not bracing yourself for a Melbourne winter as we are at SmartNow HQ there are many factors besides just heating your home which can lead to a shock when your next bill comes in.

As the days get shorter many of us will spend more time indoors watching television and keeping the lights on. Children who may have played outside after school will be coming home and switching on the games console instead.

Now is a great time to think about what you could do to cut down power use in your home - invest in some LED downlighters, switch to energy efficient bulbs or think about how to improve your home's insulation.

Start monitoring exactly how much power you are using and how much it is costing you with a Current Cost EnviR from SmartNow. This will allow you to take control of how much you are spending and is a great way to teach kids about saving energy.

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