Savings as a Service - Issue #4

Greenpeace and Total Environment Centre have finally published a long awaited update to the Green Electricity Guide.

Savings as a Service - Issue #4

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 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.

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Australian power prices now 'among lowest in the world' as renewable energy drives costs down

A flood of renewable energy has helped drive household power prices down to their lowest levels in almost a decade, analysis finds.

SA electricity prices down 6%

South Australia has long been accused of having higher energy prices and a more fragile distribution system due to its high concentration of renewables. SA has just over 7% of the Australian population, but boasts 56% of Australia’s grid-connected wind power, 30% of solar and 90% of geothermal developments.

AEMO calls for funding hike as renewable energy levels send management costs soaring

Costs incurred by the body that keeps the lights on across Australia are skyrocketing as surging levels of renewable energy increasingly challenge the security of the grid.

How do Australia's energy prices compare with international counterparts?

The AEC has revealed where Australia’s energy prices sit amongst fellow OECD nations, discovering the country has the tenth-lowest retail household electricity prices.

Power retailer fined for cutting off ‘wall of shame’ clients in disconnection blitz

Sumo Energy allegedly taped the names of 1500 customers who had missed bills to a “wall of shame” and cut off 143 of them without proper warning.

Energy Coach

Minimise consumption as well as price

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:

In his book Electrify, Saul Griffith lays out a detailed blueprint—optimistic but feasible—for fighting climate change while creating millions of new jobs and a healthier environment. His plan can be summed up simply: electrify everything. .

Griffith, an engineer and inventor, calls for grid neutrality, allowing households, businesses, and utilities to interoperate as equals.

We can still have our cars and our houses—but the cars will be electric and solar panels will cover our roofs. For a world trying to bounce back from a pandemic and economic crisis, there is no other project that would create as many jobs—up to 25 million, according to one economic analysis.

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 https://billhero.com.au/reviews

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