Keeping on top of your energy bills is a great way to keep your outgoings as low as possible. One of the best ways to reduce your energy bills is to be aware of the peak, off-peak and shoulder periods of your energy provider and to switch to off-peak whenever possible. Here we have looked into one energy retailer AGL – so the information provided may vary between energy providers.

What are the peak usage times of the day?

AGL have set their off-peak electricity rates from 10pm to 7am. A shoulder rate applies from 7am until 2pm, and from 8pm until 10pm, with peak hours between 2pm and 8pm. Peak rates are only charged Monday to Friday. Weekend rates are shoulder or off-peak. These rates apply only in New South Wales.

Time of use pricing also varies with the season. For this, you may contact your local energy provider to check the rates, but typically the peak period is on for summer and winter months only.

How much do I save by basing the energy consumption on ‘peak usage’?

It depends on what type of energy tariff you’re on. If you’re on single rate tariff, that means you pay for the same price of electricity all throughout the day and that the peak usage does not apply to you. If you’re on time of use tariff, then that’s when the ‘peak usage’ component of your bill reflects the amount of energy used during peak hours. If you have controlled load and your pool heating and filter systems run on that meter, you will be paying at a reduced rate.

Here’s a table of pricing rates taken from the AGL website:

For any electrical issues you might have, give us a call on Hornsby Electric at 02 9477 2550.

It is up to you to decide whether or not it would be cheaper to go on single rate tariff whereby you would be paying the same price for electricity regardless of the time of the day, or on time of use tariff where you can shift your daily electrical usage to off-peak hours, ideally a third of it, for it to really work out cheaper than single rate tariff.

Do I upgrade my meter in order to use peak and off-peak metering? How do I upgrade?

Most of Australian households are on single rate tariff. To sign up for time on use tariff you would need to have a time of use meter installed at your property.

What is a smart meter?

A smart meter is a device that digitally measures when and how much electricity is consumed in your household. Smart meters also allow the electricity supply to be remotely switched on and off without the need for a meter reader, measure the power quality at your premises and notify your electricity distributor when the power goes out.

All this information is sent by the smart meter back to your energy retailer remotely.

How do I get a smart meter installed in my property?

With AGL, homeowners will just have to ring their office and their metering coordinator will arrange for a level 2 electrician to come over and install the smart meter in the homeowner’s property. AGL does not charge the homeowner for the installation fees and they give out the meters for free as well, even if the homeowner might decide much later on to switch to a different energy retailer. If you’re not with AGL and are interested in smart meter upgrade, then you may contact your local energy retailer and have them disclose any upfront and succeeding costs, if there are; different retailers have different approaches to charging customers for new meters.

However, for any modifications, adjustments, or possible conflict you might have with your smart meters, it is best to call for a level 2 electrician to sort it out for you. We service Hornsbythe North Shore and surrounds, so for homeowners living in these areas, please get in touch with Hornsby Electric should you need any assistance with your smart meters. Give us a call on 9477 2550.

So how can I make the most of off-peak usage

If you have appliances that can be switched to off-peak, then do so. Pool owners should run their filters and any pool heating to after 10pm to ensure they are making the most of the off-peak rates.

If possible, don’t turn your dishwasher or washing machine on til just after 10pm so you will half your energy rates for these appliances. If you have electric hot water and it fits in with your lifestyle, don’t have baths or showers until just after 10pm or before 7am. You can also purchase electricity timers to turn on appliances like oil heaters to take the chill out of the air in the morning. Have these timed to go on between 5am and 7am, for example, to warm up bedrooms whilst still utilising off-peak rates.