Our electricity bills are still very small. This is how:
Last year I wrote a blog article about how we manage to keep our electricity costs very, very, low. At that time we had electricity bills of 27¢ per month. Well, things have changed since then. Our last bill was $4.98. We have taken on three additional staff though, so we are not too concerned.
Here at Tropical Energy Solutions we don’t just provide energy management and cost savings for our customers, we live it.
In 2019 we out grew our office and moved to new digs at Carse St, Hyde Park. The new site was a run down office and workshop, which we fitted out to suit our needs. This included several energy efficiency initiatives like inverter split system air-conditioners, LED lighting and efficient electrical devices.
The graph below shows our electricity bills since we opened an account with Ergon Energy:
As you can see, the first bill was a bit of a shock. We were able to take Ergon to task on this because we knew it was wrong. It included a “meter reading” for a tariff we didn’t operate and a meter that was disconnected. Ergon fixed this up for us and sent an adjusted bill, putting us in credit.
The next bill was another shocker and once again we were able to show that it was incorrect. We received another adjustment, with quite a considerable refund.
Once everything was sorted out, we ended up with a refund of around $800. More importantly though, the metering issues were rectified and Ergon started charging us correctly.
The next three months saw us operating our business as usual and purchasing electricity from the grid as needed (note the December dip. This is due to the Christmas shutdown where we turn everything off, even the hot water system).
In January 2020 we finally got our solar power system operating (it’s always the way, everyone else comes first!), and our bill dropped dramatically.
Then the pandemic hit and world was turned upside down. We, like every other small business in Queensland, received the state government’s $500 Utility Bill Relief Assistance credit. This put us in credit with Ergon.
For the next 12 months we were steadily creeping up towards a $0 balance. In February of this year Ergon gave us a cheque for $375 to bring us back to a zero balance.
Since then, our bills have been VERY small and that $375 is going to last us a VERY long time.
This wasn’t achieved just with solar and a government hand out though. It was a mix of our energy literacy (which enabled us to dispute meter reads), our office fit out using efficient lighting, air-conditioning and appliances, and our energy efficient behaviour combined.
Without energy literacy and energy efficient devices/behaviour the solar system would have been taking $250 off of a $1,000 bill, not a $270 bill when it was installed.
THE TAKE HOME MESSAGE
It’s pretty much the same as usual – solar is part of the solution, not the whole solution!