Beating budget blues
AS A student and sole parent of two, Helen Davis of Casino has little choice about being budget-conscious, especially when it comes to bills.
The 33-year-old SCU student is about to build her own home and was yesterday looking at energy-saving lighting as a report was released revealing a marked increase in residents being disconnected for not paying their electricity bills.
The report, issued by the Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW, revealed an 18% increase last year in the number of people who had been disconnected due to financial hardship and a 17% increase in complaints to the Ombudsman about high bills from energy providers.
"I've never been disconnected, but with two children and being a student I have to be very conscious of my electricity use," Ms Davis said.
"I try to be as self-sufficient as I can to save money. We re-use and recycle; I grow my own vegies and mend my kids' clothes."
About to embark on building her own home in Casino, Ms Davis used an eco-designer to make sure the new home would be as energy-efficient as possible.
"We looked at how to save on power through solar-passive design - where you position the home. In winter my bills increase by using heaters and in summer with air-conditioning, so anything to save energy is useful."
Helping Ms Davis choose energy-saving lighting yesterday was Shoel Bailey of Brightway Lighting who said people can cut their bills by simply buying different light bulbs.
"LED lighting is the most energy-efficient but is the most expensive to buy to start with. I'd advise people to at least change over to compact fluoro if they can," Ms Bailey said.
A compact fluoro will use 15 watts compared to 75 watts with an incandescent bulb of the same brightness.
Ways to save money
- Reduce your consumption. For energy and water saving tips visit www.savepower.nsw.gov.au
- Replace inefficient appliances with energy or water saving appliances
- Research appliances before you buy
- Audit your home
Source: Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW www.ewon.com.au
What are your tips to save on bills? Leave a comment below.