I was watching the news the other night and there was a young lady who had acquired quite a large power bill for winter and it was tabled in parliament for discussion.
It has been quite a common story this year and has been the driving force a lot of people considering adding solar power to their home and replacing inefficient electric heating with economic LG heat pumps. At DMS Energy we have been flat out this winter meeting the needs of our local Tasmanians who are trying to get in front of some very high power bills.
But what has been the cause of these power bill shocks? As far as cause and effect goes this is quite tawdry tale.
Firstly we have the COVID19 lock downs. People were stuck at home for extended periods heating and lighting their home. For many, the usual hours spent away from the family home to be at your place of work, just didn’t happen. Or the kids were away from school being at home chewing up the power more than usual has all added to the costs. There is 168 hours in a 7 day week but generally 40 hours of that week the house is not being used to fullest extent so being home added around 25% more time that the family home was being used during lockdown.
The other COVID19 issue was that meter reading was suspended for quite some time. The billing companies just did estimated reads of the previous bill which were well under the actual consumption. This lead to people not being charged for what they actually used and the excess they were not charged for would be added to the following bill. Now, those follow up bills are now turning up.
Another part of the conundrum is that it has been a very bleak winter with very cold overnight temperatures. My brother burnt around 30% more wood this year to give you an idea how horrible this winter has been. So even essential workers who had not been in lockdown and with their usage patterns that hadn’t changed, still faced higher costs as it took more energy to maintain the living temperatures in our homes.
Some of you might remember when all this COVID19 stuff kicked off, we talked about the high chances of overnight low temperatures and higher daytime temperatures due to the local weather affects of having less planes in the air and it looks like I was bang on the money.
All these things have lead to a lot of people being caught short with some horrible power bills.
Though it hasn’t all been bad news.
A lot of our solar customers being stuck at home were able to directly use the power their solar systems generated through the day. For a lot of people with solar when they are at work the majority of what they generated during the day went to the grid for around 8.5 cents per unit and is lower value for that unit of power than if they were directly consuming it. For the lockdown period the clear majority of our solar customers the worth of their solar generation doubled in value and spared them from bill shock.
A lot of our customers using the highly efficient LG heat-pumps, while they ran the units harder and for longer, didn’t have the totally huge jumps in their heating costs as opposed to those people who had older technology, resistive load electric heating.
What have we learned during this COVID19 experience which isn’t even over yet?
To be prepared for the worst.
Not so many years ago in the scheme of time, pandemics were more rife, wars were more common, economical outcomes in regards to employment and national prosperity were more uncertain. As such people took precautions. Kept enough food for a few weeks, had enough savings to carry the through a tough time. Kept a few spares and bits and pieces to MacGyver themselves a few running repairs.
The last couple of decades those basic ‘just-in-case’ precautions have largely slipped from our consciousness because we simply haven’t needed to worry about it. This pandemic hopefully has reminded us we are not always in control of our own destiny and the failure to plan for worst case scenarios is in itself a plan for failure.
Energy security has always been important. Being able to afford to keep the lights on, heat the home are basics we sometimes take for granted and when the proverbial hits the fan, ultimately it’s only your choices or decision that will steer you through.
This, I think has been the main driver for the unprecedented uptake of solar and efficient heating this winter. When things change, we have to adapt.
The trucks bringing in the LG and QCELLS solar panels haven’t stopped rolling in. I’ve lost count of how many times we have filled and ultimately emptied our shelves of SolarEdge Inverter gear to meet demand and winter is usually our quiet solar period. In the next few weeks when the weather finally starts to improve is typically when solar takes off and we become busy with solar installations, but we are already at full capacity.
So keep those orders coming through as DMS Energy has your back when it come to energy security.