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Expert gives tips on reducing electricity costs during heatwaves

4th Jan 2013

As summer begins to really heat up, Australians have been given a timely reminder of the usefulness of installing rooftop solar panels.

Energy Matters released today (January 4) a list of tips for reducing electricity costs during heatwaves.

"This summer, most Australians will endure the highest electricity prices the country has ever seen," explained Energy Matters founding director Nick Brass.

"Part of this is due to electricity generation companies cranking up their prices to ridiculous rates during heatwaves."

Mr Brass says that during recent high temperatures in Melbourne, the wholesale price of electricity rose from $0.05 per kWh to $12.50 per kWh within the space of 24 hours.

That's a rise of 25,000 per cent! These costs end up being passed on to consumers, says Energy Matters.

The local solar panel manufacturer has suggest some ways that householders might reduce their electricity consumption without losing their cool in the process.

Homeowners are encouraged to use CFL or LED bulbs instead of incandescent ones and to rely on fans rather than air conditioning where possible.

If you must have a polar blast in operation, it's advised you keep the thermostat at 24 degrees - every extra degree will add ten per cent to the unit's operational cost.

Look for ways to generate natural cooling too. Windows and curtains alike should be closed during the day, and open at night if it is safe to do so.

Energy Matters also suggests more subtle ways of keeping the heat out, like eating foods that need a minimal amount of cooking, and entering and leaving the house quickly to prevent hot air stealing in through the front door.

One of the best ways to avoid exorbitant electricity costs, of course, is to generate your own power.

Energy Matters reminds its readers that a 3 kW capacity rooftop solar array could save them more than $600 on their power bills over summer and over $1000 annually.

That's not all though - solar panels also provide extra insulation for the roof.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has warned that the current heatwave hitting Australia could continue into next week.

Scorching temperatures felt in western parts of the country were expected to extend eastwards in the coming days, according to BOM assistant director weather services Alasdair Hainsworth in a statement released January 3.

"Extreme heat events, such as this one, have wide ranging impacts across agricultural and horticultural sectors, infrastructure and transport, and not least human health and safety," said Mr Hainsworth.

Are you prepared for summer heatwaves?

Posted by Mike Peacock

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