7 tips to avoid bill shock

Was your last energy bill a not-so-nice surprise? Unexpected costs are stressful, so here are some tips on how to avoid the shock of a big bill in the future.

If you’ve ever experienced ‘bill shock’ thanks to a big bill, you know it’s not fun.

We’ll be honest – energy prices are rising, which means that your bills might be getting bigger. But there are some easy and practical ways to plan for your bills, so you can skip that bill-shock feeling.

(And remember, we’re here to help if you’re going through a rough financial patch.)

Why is my bill high?

In most cases, a higher-than-normal bill just means you’ve used more energy than usual. So, has it been extra cold or hot out lately? Or have you bought any new appliances? Maybe you’ve had guests over or you’ve been cooking up a storm.

If you can’t think of anything that might have spiked your usage, check to see whether you had any money owing from a previous bill that was carried over to your current one. Also, is it easy for us to access your meter? If not, your bill might be an estimated read based on previous usage, which could mean your bill is higher than you expected. Submit a self meter read and we’ll adjust the amount if the estimated read was inaccurate. To avoid estimated bills in the future, consider installing a smart meter if you don’t already have one.

And of course, energy prices might have gone up. We’ll always let you know before we make any price changes, but contact us if you want to double-check.

There are a few other things that can reduce your energy bill too. We’ve brought them together in a handy checklist.

Tips to avoid bill shock

1. Try bill smoothing

Bill smoothing – aka SmoothPay – can help reduce the sting of forking out for the whole bill in one go. Instead, nominate a set amount to pay either weekly, fortnightly or monthly. One good idea? Matching these payments to your pay cycle.

2. Look for patterns to plan ahead

Check your past bills to find trends and patterns in your energy use. You can then put aside some extra cash for peak usage times (like the summer holidays) or consider ways to cut down your energy consumption during these periods. Understanding your bill is a great step towards helping you lower your costs.

3. Trim your energy usage

We don’t need to tell you that less energy = lower bills. But small daily changes can go a long way to reducing your energy consumption. Think: blocking draughts, shutting the door to rooms you don’t need to heat or cool, and turning the thermostat down a smidge in winter and up a notch in summer. Need inspiration? Check out our energy tips to help you save around the home.

4. Flick the switch

Switching off lights and appliances at the wall when you’re not using them could potentially save you hundreds of dollars a year. The biggest culprits? Power-guzzling wireless routers, digital video recorders, and printers. Appliances on standby mode can make up to 10% of a household’s electricity use, so flick the switch for your own sake – and the planet’s too.

5. Find the right time

If you’re on a time-of-use tariff, running your dishwasher, washing machine and other appliances at off-peak times can save you dollars. On the flip side, if you have solar panels, it’s often cheapest to run your appliances when you have peak power production.

6. Get real-time information

Information is power – particularly when it comes to your energy use. A smart meter lets you see your energy consumption in real time, so you can get a head start on budgeting for your bill. Love an experiment? Test different strategies to see if they change your energy use. If you’re interested in getting a smart meter, get in contact to take advantage of our upgrade service.

7. Switch to a better deal

At Alinta Energy, we’ll tell you on your bill if you’re on the best plan for your needs. Check your bill, give us a call, or use your state government’s energy comparison tool.

The lowdown

We can’t promise that your bills will disappear, but you can reduce your risk of bill shock with a few easy steps: be more aware of your energy consumption patterns, cut down where possible, and make sure you’re on the right energy plan for your needs.

After all, if the savings are available, you might as well make the most of them. It’s a bit like finding extra cash in your wallet every month – and wouldn’t that be a nice surprise?

More than great energy.

That's better™.