How an Aussie family slashed their electricity bill by $183 per quarter

August 22nd, 2017

Appliance News

Wattcost electricity meter blog post feature image

Working parents John and Lea were faced with a common dilemma. Energy prices had risen sharply, and they were really starting to feel the pinch. They were spending less and less quality family time together, and more and more time trying to make ends meet. They had to find a way to reduce their energy costs.

Their power bill had recently skyrocketed to $2,656 per year

John and Lea have two kids and a mortgage on a home at Balgowlah. They both work long hours, so time spent at home is precious, and weekends are always a highlight.
But rising utility costs had started to take their toll, so taking the kids out was becoming more and more difficult. Extra hours in the office was a band-aid solution: it might mean more money through the door, but it meant even less time with the family, and still left them with the question of their bloated energy bill.

And they couldn’t figure out why

They’d considered solar to reduce their energy costs and carbon footprint in the longer term, and had priced around. But they didn’t want a cheap system – their neighbours had one, and they’d run into all sorts of maintenance and warranty issues. But they couldn’t guarantee they’d be in their current home long enough to reap the rewards of a more expensive system. So they decided that, although solar would be great in the long-term, they just couldn’t justify it.

Instead, they decided to persist with the grid and find a cheaper provider. But that proved impossible too. All of the power suppliers they’d researched structured their plans differently, with no nuts-and-bolts breakdown of costs. Most, if anything, made it more vague, so they couldn’t compare apples with apples to figure out which one would be cheapest overall.

That really just left their appliances: were they costing more than they should be? Was their fridge using too much power? Should they be using their dryer less? Or were they using their washer too often? How could they tell? Short of turning everything off and then switching each appliance on, one at a time, while tracking the change in consumption at the meter, there was no way in knowing just how much each was contributing to their household spend. Bar simply using all of their appliances less, the options were pretty limited.

So they were back at square one: a big electricity bill, and no feasible way to reduce it.

Then their friends suggested Wattcost

John and Lea had some close friends who had recently been in a similar position. But they’d managed to reduce their power bills by $140 per month – without having to fork out for a solar system.

They’d achieved it by trialling a new consumer product developed in Australia: Wattcost – a simple-to-install, set-&-forget device that monitors household energy use and suggests easy ways to reduce consumption – all in real time.

So they got one

At first, John was reluctant to embrace the idea. “It sounded promising,” he said, “but I’d seen devices in the past that made similar claims, and in my experience, they were all either too simple or too complicated. I figured this one would be the same.”

But the arrival of their next quarterly bill proved the tipping point. By this stage, John and Lea were really starting to feel the pressure. “Because Lea and I both work longer hours, spending time with the kids is already at a premium,” he said. “We didn’t want to work any more than we already were. So when that last bill arrived, we decided it was time to investigate Wattcost. If it worked for Jen and Darren, perhaps it could work for us.”

So John contacted Wattcost to ask if his family could also join the consumer product trials. He was surprised to connect directly with David, one of the company’s founders, who offered to loan John one of their pre-production devices to trial ahead of the product’s official launch.

Once they received the device, John and Lea simply downloaded the smartphone app, which showed them how to stick the Beacon sensor onto their electricity meter display, and connect it to their home WiFi.

The device immediately began measuring the family’s real-time energy usage and analysing that data.

And they started saving money instantly

Within a few short weeks, things were looking a lot rosier.

Wattcost recommended the cheapest power provider

Based on their unique energy use over the first month, Wattcost was able to identify the most cost-effective power plan for the Hendricks household, and offered a link in the app to switch over automatically. “It showed us a list, a leaderboard, of the best possible provider plans we could change to,” said Lea. “John was amazed at how simple it was. We just tapped the link in the app, and that was pretty much it.”

Saving: $77 per quarter ($308 per year).

And exactly when to use which appliances

The Wattcost mobile app then notified them that they were using too many major appliances in peak electricity tariff periods. It gave them real-time notifications on the cost benefits of changing their use, with actual dollar-figure comparisons. It also warned them when their pool pump was running for too long and at the wrong times, and recommended a schedule that would save the most money and still keep the pool running efficiently.

Saving: $106 per quarter ($424 per year).

Total savings… $183 per quarter

By simply changing their energy plan and adjusting use of major non-fridge appliances to off-peak periods and weekends, Wattcost slashed the Hendricks’ power bill by $183 per quarter ($732 per year).

It also gave them greater peace of mind

Wattcost’s inbuilt safety features also provided the Hendricks with extra peace of mind. If they forgot to turn off the iron, hotplate, oven or heater before going out, Wattcost’s inbuilt GPS app feature sent them a safety alert instantly. Even if one of the kids had left the fridge door open, they’d know about it.

With more savings to come

According to Wattcost’s founder, David Soutar, the device’s intelligent machine-learning systems will present many more opportunities for John and Lea to save, and adapt their spending depending on their growing family’s needs. “Wattcost will continue to monitor their energy usage,” he said. “So when more competitive plans are available, they’ll be presented with a simple click & switch option to save more. They’ll always know they’re on the most cost-efficient plan.”

“Soon,” he continued, “they’ll even be able to see the running costs and energy use of their major household appliances in real time, and set up alerts if something’s using too much power, to avoid nasty surprises.

Learn more about Wattcost

To learn more about how Wattcost can help you, visit Wattcost’s website.

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