This guest post is geared for my Australian readers. Enjoy the post!
The below services are specific to Australian households but most developed countries have similar financial assistance through non-profits and government programs. Below is a good list to see what types of programs exist. The tips provided can be used anywhere.
If you are having trouble paying your utility bills each month, it may help to know that you are not alone. Many families across the country are dealing with the same issues, but there is help available. Not only are there several great thing you can do today to reduce your monthly fees, but there is governmental help available to help you if you have fallen behind on your bills. Below is a look some great tips and ideas for conserving water and energy, and where you can turn for help.
Home Energy Saver Scheme (HESS)
This program was put into place to help people better afford their current utility bills. It provides a wealth of information that can help you determine if you are receiving all of the benefits and voucher you deserve to lower your monthly bills. It also gives valuable information about ways you can conserve water and energy in your home to reduce your overall utility bills, as well as, budgeting information.
They can help provide you with information about other energy-saving programs, such as no or low-interest loans to purchase energy-efficient appliances for your home.
Tips for Reducing Your Utility Bills
There are many things you can do around your home to help lower the cost of your electric, gas and water bills. This can help you save money and make you utility bills more manageable. Here is a look at some of the ways you can conserve energy today.
- Conserve Water
One of the most important things to do when trying to conserve water is to check your toilets, showers, and faucets to make suer there are no leaks anywhere. If you do find a leak, you need to have it repaired as soon as possible, because just one leak can increase your bill substantially. Also, try to reduce how long your take showers, only use the washing machine and dishwasher when they are full, and save rainwater to help water your outdoor plants instead of relying on your household water source.
- Conserve Electric
Understanding that the more power you use during the day, the higher your electric bill will be is the first step to conserving energy. Anything that remains plugged in during the day will drain energy, so be sure to unplug anything that is not in use, such as mobile phone chargers. Also, turn the television, computer, lights, air conditioner or electric heater off when you leave the room or are no longer using them. Install energy-efficient light bulbs throughout your home and purchase energy-efficient appliances.
- Conserve Gas
To conserve gas, especially during the colder months, you want to keep as much heat as possible from escaping from your home. Keep the curtains pull shut, or even apply a plastic covering for over the windows. Use a door snake or blanket at the bottom of the doorways to keep heat from escaping.
Avoid Shut-Off of Utilities
If you have received a notice that your utilities are going to be shut-off, do not panic. There is Hardship Utility Grant Scheme (HUGS) funding available to help you out in case of an emergency. The first step is to contact your utility company immediately and ask them about their hardship program. You can also contact HUGS directly, if your utility company is not responsive.
Additional Rebates and Vouchers
There are various rebates and vouchers that you can receive to help reduce the amount you owe on your utility bills. Each state and territory offers their own programs and has their own set of regulations. You can contact your utility company to see what vouchers and rebates are available in your area.
If you have trouble budgeting of your utility bills because they fluctuate during the year, you may want to ask your utility company about bill smoothing. While not every company offers this program, those that do, allow you to spread the costs of your utility bill out during the year. This helps to keep each bill about the same amount each fortnight or month.
Centrepay is a service that allows you to pay certain bills each fortnight from your Centrelink payments. This service is free of charge and available to anyone who receives Centrelink payments. The government will take the necessary amount out of your regular payment to cover you utility bills and then send you the remaining payment.
All of these options above can help you offset or budget for the cost of your regular utility bills. Lowering the overall cost of your utility bills will make it easier for you to make your payments on a regular basis. Be sure to apply for all the vouchers and rebates you are eligible for because this will free up some of your money to make budgeting easier.