Perth’s big freeze drives heating power surge

energy networks

Western Australian energy retailer Synergy has told customers to prepare for more expensive electricity bills, as cold weather continues to increase power consumption.

Synergy chief executive officer Jason Waters said the amount of electricity being used across the south west of the state surged by up to 7 per cent in the past couple of months, as households increased the use of heating appliances.

“It is clear Perth’s big winter chill has driven a substantial rise in how much electricity is being consumed, particularly during morning and evening peaks and overnight, and we want to get the message out to our customers that if they have been using more they are likely to see an increased bill compared to the warmer winter experienced last year,” Mr Waters said.

Mr Waters said the spike in usage on average outweighed the increase in the unit price of electricity set by the State Government as part of the state budget process.

“There is a misconception that an increase in electricity bills is automatically related to higher prices, however, during extreme weather conditions such as what we have experienced this winter, increased use is more likely to be the main contributor,” Mr Waters said.

“We suspect one of the main contributors to increased use can be attributed to the widespread installation of reverse cycle air-conditioners, as well as an increasing variety of low purchase cost electrical heating appliances, including ceramic and panel heaters, smaller fan heaters and even the more traditional oil heaters, which has now translated into much higher power consumption.

“Our concern is tht people may not appreciate that by increasing the temperature setting of your reverse cycle air-conditioner, even by a few degrees, can translate to a big upsurge in power usage.”

The retailer has provided customers with a range of energy saving tips for winter.