9 No more dirty brown coal power!

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Woo hoo! Last week we got the last electricity bill from Origin so there’s cause to celebrate. And we’ve been on 100% renewable power (solar from our rooftop panels and wind from Powershop) for the past 3 weeks. It’s taken a while because when you change power companies there is a 10-day cool-off/changeover period so we had to wait for it all to go through. But apart from the wait it was all incredibly easy – I filled out a form online on the Powershop website and it all happened seamlessly. So NO MORE DIRTY BROWN COAL POWER! I’ved tried to logon to Origin to get the final readouts but they cut all that off straight away.

And, believe it or not, the cost for 100% power from renewable sources is cheaper by a country mile.

The comparison:

Origin: The “green” option on our last Origin bill cost (25.71+ 3.61=) 29.32c/kWh, plus the supply charge of 113.45 c/Day (which works out to about $102 for a 90-day bill) and then adds GST on at the end. I’ve done the calculations (four times, because I didn’t believe it the first time) and overall this works to a massive average cost of 49.25 c/kWh on the last bill and more than 41 c/kWh on the previous one. (The charges for all the bits were the same on both bills but the amounts are slightly different depending on how much power you use in a billing period.) Another thing, if you use Origin you will notice at the bottom of the “Your bill in detail” page there is an amount for “Average Daily Electricity Usage Costs (excl. GST)”. This is misleading as it is NOT your daily cost and excludes supply and any other charges as well as GST.

Powershop: combines all the amounts (cost per kWh + supply charge + GST) and then charges a combined unit cost, which varies a little depending on the packs you choose. (They do give you a breakdown of the charges on their website so you can compare with other companies.) We bought the Getup online saver pack so our new cost is 29.46 per unit all up. Massive difference.

If you want to switch over

Powershop have deals on at the moment where if you get a friend to sign up, you both get $75 credit – so let me IMG_3625know if you want me to
recommend you! Or, if you sign-up via Oxfam or Get-up, they get a donation as part of the deal.

The only negative I have found so far with Powershop is that their IMG_3627customer website doesn’t have the level of
information that Origin had on our
solar feed-in. They do a monthly update but don’t have the detailed graphs or daily info, though when I contacted them they told me lots of people had asked about this and they were “working on it”. It also takes a bit of time to learn how their system works and figure out how to use it, as it is a different approach to other providers.

Rooftop solar contributionenphase3

On top of the cost savings we only need to buy about 7 or 8 units a day on average at present (last Sunday we only used 4 units from the grid!) because the rooftop solar panels are producing so much – we are producing way more electricity than we are using.

It varies depending on cloud cover and temperature, but we produced 1275 kWh during October and November – an average of 21 kWh a day. Yesterday it was a whopping 30 kWh, though the lumpiness of use meant we still had to buy 7.8 units from the grid. This is where battery storage would really help. According to the home and online monitors, our peak usage time is around 7pm, which is probably quite common for most households. This is when you get home from whatever you’re doing during the day and are using lots of appliances at once: cooking, washing, showering, and turning heating or cooling on.

Carbon neutral vs carbon zero

However overall, assuming our household usage is around 12kWh a day at this time of year (see blog number 6), our excess production means we are must be heading towards carbon neutral territory, and offsetting our gas and petrol consumption to some degree. Which makes me feel good. Though I know this is not the same as carbon zero…