Keeping your power bills low during lockdown

Many of us are now using more power during the day, when cheap renewables bring down the wholesale price of energy.

The team at Amber are all working from home during lockdown. We know that a lot of our customers are in the same boat - and we’re all thinking about what this means for our power bills.

Turns out we’re not the only ones. A recent survey by found that almost half of Australians are worried about their next power bill.

Based on data from a sample of our customers in NSW, we’re seeing that electricity usage is up about 45% between 9am to 5pm, and total usage has increased by approximately 15%.

That’s why the big energy retailers are telling their customers to brace themselves for potential bill-shock. Higher usage means higher power bills for their customers, at a time when Aussie households are already hurting.

With Amber it’s a different story.

Many of our customers will actually pay less for power than they did at the same time last year, even though usage is up.

Seems a bit crazy, but Amber’s real-time wholesale pricing makes this possible.

Wholesale energy prices are down

While usage has gone up by about 15%, our prices have fallen by around 20%.

That’s because the wholesale price of power has plummeted since 2019. The biggest factors contributing to this are more renewables being built, lower gas prices, and reduced business demand.

As an Amber customer, you get direct access to this low wholesale price rather than waiting months - or years! - for your traditional energy retailer to (maybe) pass on these savings.

Many of our customers will actually pay less for power than they did at the same time last year.

Benefiting from cheap renewables during the day

Renewables are now the cheapest form of power.

And renewables are most available during the day when the sun is out - and when many of us are now working or studying from home.

This means Amber customers often pay lower prices for power when they’re at home during the day, compared to those on fixed rates.

Though most of us working and studying at home are now using laptops, computers, and monitors throughout the day, these don’t consume much power. Instead, it’s our household appliances that tend to make up the bulk of our electricity usage.

A way to save even more is to do energy-intensive chores like cooking, washing dishes, drying, laundry, and ironing, at times when cheap renewables are generating.

Amber customer Alisha and her family.

Using these power-hungry appliances at the cheapest times is one of the ways that Amber customer Alisha, pictured above with her family, has saved $100 a month on her household’s power bills while staying at home, compared to what she was paying with her previous retailer.

Alisha and her family were recently featured in the AFR because she and her husband Troy have lowered their household’s power bills with Amber at a really critical time. Alisha usually works as a personal trainer, but is now at home as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Alisha checks the Amber app in the morning to see when power is forecast to be at its cheapest throughout the day, and uses energy intensive appliances during those times to lock-in savings.

“We’ve been averaging 21-22c per kilowatt hour - and then a bit higher during peak times at 23-24c. But this morning it was at 12c, so that’s when we threw some laundry on,” Alisha says.

The bigger picture

We know times have been tough - for those of us who’ve been at home, and for those of us who’ve been out providing essential services.

For Australia, it’s finally starting to feel like there’s a bit of light at the end of the tunnel.

For our customers, a small silver lining is that by being with Amber, you’ve taken a big step to reduce the impact of lockdown on your power bills.