Breaking down your bank-breaking energy

Your power bill is far more than just the cost of the electricity you use.

The costs around purchasing electricity and gas from generators and producers, transmission, metering and maintenance costs around supplying energy via power lines or gas pipes, billing, customer service, connections, other energy retailer services and government programs aimed at increasing renewable electricity generation, are all worked into your bill.

The costs of the network, or “supply”, can make up 40 to 60 per cent of your bill, so finding a discount on this part of your bill can help reduce it.

On your bill you will see a fixed charge, daily supply charge, or average daily cost, which goes towards generation and supply costs.

Your bill may also be slapped with connection and disconnection fees, credit card processing fees and a late payment fee.

Bills are always on the increase, due to energy generators miscalculating expected future needs, expensive electricity generated to meet demand because power can’t be stored cheaply, unexpected outages, the rising costs for fossil fuels, droughts, and temperature extremes increasing demand.

According to the NSW Energy and Water Ombudsman, overall electricity complaints are on the rise.

Their first quarterly report for this year showed complaints are up by eight per cent on the same period last year.

High billing, poor customer service, billing errors, estimated bills and delays on digital meters were among the most common issues faced by customers.

According to the government, the average NSW household uses around 6500 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity each year, while other estimates have it much higher at 7300.

Powering your mobile phone for an entire year takes about 1 kWh, yet while our gadgets and equipment are getting more efficient, the cost of running them is increasing.

While we wait for cheaper energy bills, the best thing to do is play the retailers off against each other until you feel you have the best deal.

If you’re on the grid, and without solar, shopping around and paying on time seem to be the only way to ease the bill burden at the moment.

Or you could always switch off, but you’ll still be hit with charges.

I wonder what Nicola Tesla would think of it all?

See story: Power bills have residents shocked and baffled