Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Real Truth About Electricity Retailer's Discounts

What Is The Real Electricity Discount?
Electricity Discounts Differ Greatly!

With the PAY LATE and be FINED offer as we call it, so commonly now installed in householder's electricity bills across Australia, you would think you only need to pay attention to any rate on offer YES?

Well NO as the offer can be quite different and easily save you less or more depending on your final choice. It certainly pays to read the fine print here!

So let us take a look at six explanations for discounted offers, all 'cut n pasted' directly from the Government's Energy Made Easy website electricity retailers listings:

  • You will receive a 11% discount off the consumption and supply charge components
  • Discount off total amount payable on your bill, before concessions are applied
  • 10% discount will be applied to the total billed amount when the bill is paid by the due date
  • A discount off your usage charges for 12 months when you pay on time
  • Guaranteed to save at least 16% (instead of 4%) off our Standard Power rates for your entire bill
  • A 18% Pay On Time discount off your usage charges

OK PAY LATE or PAY ON TIME it is all the same, you lose one way and gain the other. But what is any discount really including? We will assume the electricity retailer's have written the offer correctly here. So let us look at each offer as they are listed above:

  • A discount off your usage and supply charges - OK CLEAR
  • A discount off your total amount before concessions - NOT CLEAR Pre Post GST?
  • A discount off your total billed amount - NOT CLEAR Pre Post GST?
  • A discount off your usage charges for 12 months when you pay on time - NOT CLEAR as one could pay one bill on time and is the discount then applied to all others over a 12 month period, irrespective of paying the other bills on time?
  • A discount off your power rates - NOT CLEAR as what are the Standard Power rates and does this include usage / supply?
  • A discount off your usage - OK CLEAR

So as you can see NOT SO CLEAR! Now we did pass this list around a few clients for a better understanding of what they thought was on really on offer. And we were all confused a little with some of the explanations.

The term 'total' and 'total billed' can be confusing to some householders, as it may be thought to include GST! As that is the total billed we would say. We think it does not though, but how about some clarity please Mr. Electricity Retailer!

So as you can see the discount can be off the usage and include or not, the daily supply charges. Now if your supply charges are $1.40 per day for example, this is going to make a very big difference, especially on a small bill where the daily supply charges are in fact more than the usage! And that is the case with our electricity bill.

One day we hope to see standardised bills across all electricity retailers with some form of regulation to keep the electricity billing across Australia accurate and in order. It is about time Electricity Retailers showed more Good Faith!

Now if you are having issues with your electricity billing, yes we have a page of ELECTRICITY BILLING ERRORS and also offer you a METER & BILL CHECK SERVICE.

This blog post brought to you by Aussie Home Energy, a major player in the HOME ELECTRICITY SAVING SERVICE industry in Australia.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Monitoring Your Net Metered Electricity Consumption On PVOutput

Australian NET Meter Import / Export
What Are You Exporting?
If you are already successfully uploading your solar inverter's data to the detail rich online web portal of PVOutput, you will have noticed in a net metered environment, you really need to see your electricity consumption as well.

The reason for this is you need to know when you have excess power, so you can use it in realtime. Otherwise you run the risk of exporting it back to the grid for little financial return. Whereas if you use it instead of importing power, your power on the roof is worth a lot more.

By using your own power first you will be offsetting your normally imported electricity costs. Your solar power per kWh could be worth upwards of thirty cents, compared to six or eight cents your electricity retailer is paying you to return it back to the grid.

Possible 1kW ROI [NSW] @ 30 cents $427 @ 6 cents $85

This is why in a net metered environment it does not pay to oversize your solar system. As you can see using your electricity wisely will increase it's worth five fold! 

In fact to correctly size any solar pv system before installation, you really need to know exactly what you are using in the sunny hours of the day. Otherwise you or the sales person are guessing!

So how do you get your home's electricity consumption data online to PVOutput when your inverter's monitoring system does not include electricity consumption? Well you simply install a electricity consumption monitoring system. The electricity consumption data in your home will then be displayed alongside your current solar pv data. Allowing to see excess power and 'using it before losing it' for little return.

PVOutput Showing Inverter & Monitor Consumption Data
Showing Solar Power & Consumption Data

The electricity monitoring solutions we offer cover more than one hardware platform, giving you slight variations of features and the benefits.

More and more householders are contacting us day by day as they discover they know very little about their imported / exported power. And the only way to know this important information, is to install some form of electricity consumption monitoring system, it is that easy! And whilst you are monitoring your consumption you are going to learn ways to cut the waste.

So why not take a look at our page on CHOOSING YOUR HOME ELECTRICITY MONITOR

Sep 2015 : See our addition to this post, where we discuss a great SOLAR PV MONITORING ANDROID APP suitable for all net metering environments.

January 2018 : Current Cost home energy monitor users please note MyCurrentCost dashboard was retired 15th January. This alternative free real-time dashboard is a great alternative HOME ENERGY MONITOR dashboard solution, with auto upload support for PVOutput ie solar.

This blog post brought to you by Aussie Home Energy, a major player in the HOME ELECTRICITY SAVING SERVICE industry in Australia.
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