Managing high bills
Identifying the cause of a higher than normal energy bill
If you have a higher than normal bill, it may not be a mistake. There are lots of things that can contribute to a high bill, including the amount of energy you use, the tariff you pay (cost per kilowatt-hour or megajoule), and any discounts you may receive. If you have a high bill, consider the following:
- Is the meter reading correct and have any additional fees or charges been included? Check the bill for any fees, eg a late payment fee, or an unpaid amount from a previous bill that has been included in this bill.
- If you are eligible for an energy concession, has it been applied to the bill? If you have recently moved house or switched energy retailers, contact the Concessions Hotline to make sure you keep receiving your concession.
- Has the weather been very hot or cold? Cooling and heating can account for more than a third of the energy used in the home, so increasing the amount you use in very hot or very cold weather can have a big impact on your bill.
- Have you started using a new appliance that could be using more energy that you expected it to?
- Are more people living in the home, or are you spending more time at home? If you have had visitors, a new family member, or have been home more often for other reasons, the extra heating and cooling, water heating, and increased use of other appliances may add to your bill.
- Have you moved home? Different houses use different amounts of energy and no two are the same. Heating and cooling appliances and water heaters, which generally use a lot of energy, may be more or less efficient in different homes.
If you would like help identifying why your bill may be higher than normal, contact the Energy Advisory Service.
Five ways to help manage your energy bills
1. Compare plans and get a better deal
The Australian Government’s Energy Made Easy website allows you to search and compare energy offers in South Australia to find a deal that best suits your needs.
To make comparisons, you’ll need to enter information from a recent energy bill. For the best results, use your last years’ worth of bills to compare your energy use across all seasons.
See Help comparing retailers and contracts for more information.
2. Find out if you can get a concession
Use the Department for Communities and Social Inclusion’s Concessions Finder tool or call 1800 307 758 to check if you are eligible for a concession off your energy bill.
See Energy concessions for more information.
3. Lower your energy use
The less energy you use, the less your pay for. Do a home energy audit to see how you are using energy in your home and follow our easy energy saving tips to cut down on your energy use. Calculate your appliance running costs to see how different appliances in your home contribute to your energy bills.
4. Spread your bill payments
If paying your energy bills on a quarterly basis makes budgeting difficult, ask your energy retailer if you can pay your bills monthly, fortnightly or even weekly to help manage your cash flow. Most energy retailers in South Australia offer different payment options.
5. Get some advice
If your bills are getting too hard to manage, don’t ignore them. Contact your energy retailer to see if they can help. It is important to tell your retailer if you are having trouble as, by law, they have to help you find a solution. This could include offering you a payment plan, joining their hardship program or directing you to other services that can help.
If you are having financial difficulties, a financial counsellor can help you get back on track. Their services are free.
If you would like more information about saving energy, contact the Energy Advisory Service for free, independent advice.