GOOD ADVICE: Goonellabah resident James Eatock gets advice on how to lower his energy bills including using his pond pump, from HESS energy consultant Mat Lee.
GOOD ADVICE: Goonellabah resident James Eatock gets advice on how to lower his energy bills including using his pond pump, from HESS energy consultant Mat Lee. Marc Stapelberg

More power to you

WITH power bills soaring to record levels, Lismore Neighbourhood Centre has joined a new program to help those on low incomes.

The Home Energy Saver Scheme (HESS) funded by the Federal Government is educating local householders about managing their electricity costs and saving them valuable dollars in the process.

Offering free home energy assessments, the program is available to Lismore, Kyogle, and Richmond Valley residents.

Lismore Neighbourhood Centre HESS worker Matt Lee is full of tips on how to reduce energy consumption to an affordable level while maintaining health and comfort.

Using a special device called a Power-Mate, Mr Lee can give an exact reading on each appliance's energy consumption.

"During the home visit I can show people how much appliances cost to run and give recommendations on how to run them more effectively," Mr Lee said.

"I can also spot any areas in the house where energy is being lost and assist customers to understand their electricity bills."

For those who need to purchase new appliances, the LNC runs a No Interest Loans Scheme to assist.

An old cathode ray television, for example, is a notorious energy burner. Replace it with an LCD as soon as you can.

Goonellabah resident Jim Eatock found out the hard way about rising prices.

His fortnightly energy payments skyrocketed from $20 to $57 in the last 12 months, but hopefully he can keep them under control after a visit by Mr Lee.

"I can now relate the price I get charged for electricity to the amount of power my appliances use," he said.

Mr Lee said as a general rule appliances that heat or cool such as fridges, driers,hot water systems, heaters and air conditioners were the most expensive to run.

Damien Becker, LNC microfinance manager, said rising energy prices were an inevitable fact of life that hit the disadvantaged community harder.

"We're encouraging people on low incomes to make good decisions on their energy usage ... we need to be doing what we can to reduce our energy use."

Try not to use the drier.

Use cold water with the washing machine.

Use a curtain to insulate your windows from heat and cold.

Use door snakes in cold weather to block drafts.

Keep fridge temperatures between three and five degrees celsius and the freezer between minus 15 and 18. Clean your fridge seals so they don't deteriorate.

In summer, keep your A/C between 18 and 20 degrees C.

Turn appliances such as DVD players, TVs and computers off at the power point.



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