Cold weather can lead to higher energy bills as you increase your electricity and gas use to stay warm. Your energy use will depend on the efficiency of your heating system and whether it runs on gas or electricity.
If you live in rental or low-cost housing, which is not always well-insulated and may have less efficient heating systems, you may be particularly affected. Many older apartments and houses rely on portable electric heating which, while cheap to buy initially, can have a very high running cost. Knowing more about which of your appliances use more energy can help you to reduce your usage.
Visit the Sustainability Victoria website to find out more about energy-efficient heating.
Many Victorians turn to air conditioners to keep their homes cool in the summer. Unfortunately, air conditioners can lead to considerably higher electricity bills. Here are a couple of resources with advice about summer energy efficiency:
Sustainability Victoria has some great tips on how to stay cool in the summer.
Environment Victoria has environmentally-friendly advice about how to change your home to keep it cool over the longer term.
Seasonal changes also affect solar customers. Longer, sunnier days in the summer generate more solar power and may contribute to lower bills, depending on a customer's contract. Winter days are much shorter and less sunny. A combination of higher consumption and lower solar generation in winter could mean substantially higher bills.
Billing cycles can be confusing. Most bills are received on a monthly or quarterly basis and there may be a delay between winter or summer and when you receive your bill. These can come as a surprise, which is why it's important to be prepared.
If you do get a higher than expected bill, you should check the period of usage that the bill covers and compare your usage to the same period of the previous year. A big difference between the two readings can suggest that your consumption habits have changed.
Concessions and grants
Depending on your personal circumstances, you may be eligible for concessions on your electricity, gas and water bills or grants. The Winter Gas Concession and Medical Cooling Concession are just two of the concessions available that could help you offset seasonal fluctuations and give you a discount on your gas or electricity usage.
Read our Concessions and grants fact sheet for more information.