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Savings as a Service - Bill Hero newsletter - Issue #4

Savings as a Service
Hi friend, and welcome to another edition of Savings as a Service.
Energy bills have remained in the headlines this month as politicians claim success in reducing energy bills for Australia households, plus Greenpeace and Total Environment Centre have finally published a long awaited update to the Green Electricity Guide.
Let’s get into it…

Feature story
The Green Electricity Guide
The Green Electricity Guide delivers an opinionated ranking on the ‘Greenness’ of energy retailers from best to worst, based on 6 criteria:
  • Providing clean, renewable energy
  • Ending coal use by 2030
  • Halting fossil fuel expansion
  • Support for new renewable energy
  • Transparency of marketing
  • Pollution and environmental harm
Coal is by far the dominant source of electricity generation in Australia, and all the electricity consumed by grid-connected households ultimately comes from the coal-dominated grid.
76% of electricity generation in Australia comes from fossil fuel soruces
76% of electricity generation in Australia comes from fossil fuel soruces
It’s impossible to distinguish between renewable-generated and fossil-generated electrons delivered to each consumer, so some argue that it’s also impossible to distinguish between the retailers on Green criteria. Ultimately retailers do little more than generate bills and collect payment for energy consumed.
However, it is possible to choose a retailer that directly generates renewable energy, or that specifically contracts to buy power from renewable generators. This results in a greater contribution of renewable generation into the grid, and helps drive down fossil generation.
The best renewable electricity providers ensure that their share of electricity provided to the grid is 100% renewable, while other retailers may contract directly from coal and gas power stations and/or buy from the wholesale spot market - a market which is still largely powered by fossil fuels.
The Green Electricity Guide makes a distinction between retailers that directly contribute to or encourage renewable generation, and those that simply buy their energy from the coal-dominated spot market but then claim carbon neutrality through carbon offset schemes.
The Bill Hero team is already at work to include data from the Green Electricity Guide into a Green ranking, which can be applied in the Bill Hero rankings, so you’ll easily be able to find the plan with the right combination of price and Green credentials for you.
Retail energy news
The main news across the retail energy market over the past month has been that electricity prices are at a historical low, due to progressive declines in the wholesale prices, driven mostly by increasing renewables.
While it’s true that prices are down, most consumers have not seen the full benefit of this, because these price movements relate to the current prices offered to new customers, not the prices charged to existing customers.
Our old friend the Loyalty Tax means that retailers are slow to pass on wholesale price reductions to existing customers—the slower they are, the more profitable their retail business becomes.
The only way to ensure that you get the benefit rather than your retailer is to compare and switch more frequently. Bill Hero does the heavy lifting on this for subscribers on every single bill.
If you’re not already a Bill Hero subscriber, join up here, and we’ll help you stay always at the leading edge of the price reductions.
Australian power prices now 'among lowest in the world' as renewable energy drives costs down
SA electricity prices down 6%
AEMO calls for funding hike as renewable energy levels send management costs soaring - ABC News
How do Australia's energy prices compare with international counterparts? - Energy Magazine
Power retailer fined for cutting off ‘wall of shame’ clients in disconnection blitz
Energy Coach
There are two parts to saving money on energy bills:
  1. Minimise your energy consumption
  2. Minimise the price you pay for what you consume
The core Bill Hero service is squarely focused on part 2, and will help make sure that you always stay on the best priced plan, no matter what is your consumption.
But that’s only half the issue. We’re also developing tools, content, information, community support and advisory services to help Bill Hero subscribers with part 1—helping you minimise your consumption.
Look out for more of this information and a growing range of services under our Energy Coach initiative.
Summer savings
In our Energy Coach segment in last month’s newsletter we published a guide to getting setup for a low energy summer.
This month, as we head into the hottest month of the year, here’s a few more summer cooling tips that consume little or no energy:
Be your own biggest fan
Use a fan instead of an air conditioner, but be sure to position your fan to get the best benefit.
Counterintuitively, you can maximise the airflow through your home by pointing your fan to blow air out through a window, and by positioning it about 60 cm to 1 m away from the window. That sounds crazy, but it works. Here’s the proof:
Better fan placement will maximise air movement through your house
Better fan placement will maximise air movement through your house
Bottle it
Do you have a hot water bottle lying around? Why not try freezing it to cool things down?
This can be an effective way to beat the heat, but be careful not to use the same hot water bottle in winter and summer—freezing it can cause brittleness in the seal, which might result in leaking hot water in winter.
Saul Griffith - Electrify:
Review of the month
Another month, more great reviews from happy subscribers. Here’s one of our recent favourites, and you can see them all at
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