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Every year on 5 June the United Nations leads the celebration of World Environment Day which provides a global platform to inspire and engage people everywhere in the effort to protect and restore the earth.

Here in Western Australia the cost-of-living crisis continues to impact a whole range of people, particularly those most vulnerable in our communities. Rising energy costs impact people financially and contribute to growing environmental issues.

Communicare, as one of 12 partner organisations in the Financial Wellbeing Collective (FWC), supports families and individuals to make significant savings on their energy bills.

‘Energy Ahead’ is FREE a program that helps low-income households to take control of their energy use, which includes an assessment on how they use their energy, before a plan is created to help achieve energy savings goals. Find out more here.

Energy Ahead – Making a Difference

Roberta’s story

Roberta is a pensioner and lives with her two eldest sons, they run four small fridges and a freezer. Unfortunately, Roberta’s house is old, and the kitchen only has one power outlet.

This means they need to use an extension lead with a power board to connect all the appliances. The issue with this is that nearly all household power outlets are rated for 10-amps and a fridge can pull up to 8-amps, depending on the model when the compressor kicks in.

In this case, if even only two of the appliances kicked in at the same time, they would try to draw 16-amps from a 10-amp outlet, causing overload of the circuit. This can be very costly, not to mention dangerous, as the overload can cause the circuit to overheat and potentially catch fire.

This set-up was drawing 500 watts per hour of energy which was costing Roberta around $240 a bill cycle just for the fridges (Image below).

After consultation with the landlord, the kitchen was fitted out with extra power outlets, allowing the appliances to run on their own circuit, costing around $133 a bill cycle – that’s a saving of $107 per bill!

Susannah’s story

Susannah has solar hot water heater and didn’t know it had a booster that activates when the water drops below the set temperature.

After installing a timer on the booster RCD which costs around $300, the booster now only comes on during the set hours of 10am – 3:00pm. In addition, it’s also switched off completely between September and April when weather permits.

This initiative has provided a saving of $400-$600 per year, depending on weather conditions – that’s up to a $100 saving per bill cycle!



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