Aussie families face $527 coronavirus bill

·4-min read
Australian households will see significantly higher bills this year. Images: Getty
Australian households will see significantly higher bills this year. Images: Getty

Working and schooling from home will cost the average Australian household an extra $88 a month in energy charges, new research has revealed.

That means that over the course of six months, the energy bill could be a huge $527 bigger, Mozo analysis has found.

Mozo found bills will roughly double, with bills hitting an average $1,582 over the potential quarantine period if households don’t take steps to curb their usage.

“We are currently facing two crises, the spread of a global virus and a financial downturn. With so many households feeling the financial crunch amid dire economic times, it’s crucial to review your household expenses, minimise costs and switch to more competitive deals wherever possible,” Kirsty Lamont, Mozo director said.

“Computers are a necessary tool to use while working from home, however, it could be a good time to take advantage of off-peak hours and do additional chores during the day, like using the dishwasher and washing machine.”

What costs the most when I’m working from home?

Mozo found computers alone cost $190 to run for six months, so running two computers and charging two laptops for work and school will add up.

But it’s not just computers, even things like boiling the kettle and using the microwave add up.

“Every action can contribute to your energy consumption when you are working at home. By turning on lights and working under them for an additional eight hours, you are costing yourself $116.80 over the six month period,” Lamont said.

Source: Mozo
Source: Mozo

“Consider working near a window with natural light or get some vitamin D and sit outside for a portion of the day. Every little action helps when it comes to decreasing your energy bill.”

Switching the television on for a few extra hours also adds up: if you’ve got it on for four hours more than normal, you’re looking at an extra $80 over the six months.

The good news is smartphones are cheap to charge - just $1.52 over the course of the quarantine period.

The largest risk is air conditioning and heating.

If you’re going from a temperature-controlled office, switching to a perhaps chilly home could be a shock.

Source: Mozo
Source: Mozo

“While working from home for six months, if you choose to turn your air conditioner to a heating setting then you could add an extra $408.80 to your energy bill, if you add this to the other working from home costs that's a whopping $935.90 added to your normal energy bill,” Lamont said.

“If you have an electric heater at home, it would cost you $1232.20 while you are working from home for six months.”

How can I save on energy bills?

There are a few ways to save energy.

If you have a choice between a desktop computer or laptop, choose the laptop. They’re three times cheaper to use than having a desktop computer plugged in for eight hours.

And while the TV is a convenient way to keep children entertained while you work, you should monitor usage - try to switch it on sparingly throughout the day.

The big one is heating.

“Having the heater all day might be essential for some households, but if you are working from home consider reducing your use. Try to limit yourself to only using the heater for a few hours in the morning and keep your doors and windows closed to keep the heat inside. Heating it is the biggest expense when it comes to working from home,” Lamont said.

“As we all get used to working from home, weigh up the appliance you need to use and switch off the appliance that you don’t need. While it might be nice to have the stereo and TV playing all day both aren’t necessary.”

It’s also important to do your research. You might not be getting the best deal, so it’s worth your time to jump online and consider whether you should switch.

And remember, you can claim many of these costs on tax. This is what you need to know about making a claim.

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