LOCAL families could slash hundreds of dollars a year off their power bills simply by breaking some bad energy-wasting habits.
The news is sure to be welcomed by New England residents struggling to cope with paying up to 30 per cent more for electricity than their city counterparts.
Origin energy advisor Anne Armansin said it was surprising how some little changes around the house could result in a big difference to bills.
“I would say that the average home can save about 20 per cent a year quite easily without needing to buy new appliances,” she said.
With summer just around the corner and the mercury already soaring well into the 30s, Ms Armansin said air conditioners must be used smartly.
“You need to set your thermostat to a sensible temperature,” she said. “In summer, that’s no lower than 24 degrees and in winter no higher than 20.
“Manufacturers tell us that for every degree you go lower in summer and higher in winter you increase your energy consumption by about 10 per cent.”
While coping during the blistering hot summers is a financial impost, people can use the heat to make savings elsewhere around the home.
Ms Armansin said washing clothes in cold water instead of hot could save about $120 a year, and huge savings were possible by drying clothes naturally.
“Hopefully people are not using their dryers because a dryer load these days costs more than $2, which is something big to watch out for,” she said.
Another way to reduce energy consumption is to turn appliances – particularly older electronics such as televisions and DVD players – off at the source, rather than leaving them on stand-by.
“Anything with a remote control will use stand-by power and if you’re not using it, get up and turn it off because it can equate to more than $200 worth of power a year,” Ms Armansin said.
Tamworth Regional Council has “Save Power” kits available for residents to borrow from each of its six local libraries.
The kits contain a range of tools to measure power use, identify energy wastage and learn how to improve efficiency to save on bills.
EASY ENERGY SAVINGS
* Purchase energy efficient appliances.
* Turn electronics off at the wall when not in use.
* Dry clothes on the line, not in the dryer.
* Fill the kettle with only the water you need.
* Run the dishwasher only when it is full.
* Switch off lights and lamps when you leave the room.
* Wash clothes only when you have a full load and use cold water.