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Tamaki Makaurau – Energy costs are climbing, fuelled by rising demand and weak supply. For homes, it means gas and electricity bills are going up.

In New Zealand, 65 per cent of the electricity is generated by efficient, low cost, hydropower schemes built many years ago.

But increase in power prices drove June 2021 quarter producers price indexes higher. Another rise in NZ electricity prices drove a 3.0 percent increase in prices paid by producers and a 2.6 percent increase in prices received for production in the June 2021 quarter, from the March 2021 quarter.

Simple changes can save money and help make the home more efficient.

Gas, electricity and coal prices are soaring, meaning higher bills for many households.

There is a rapidly rising demand for electricity as the world economy has rebounded from the covid pandemic.

Governments are under pressure to take action. In Norway, for example, the government has announced plans to subsidise home electricity bills until March 2022 at an estimated cost of 5 billion Norwegian crowns, or $83.3NZ billion.

This is in response to the cost of electricity surging to its highest level in more than 10 years.

So how can more of us save energy at home? Here are some simple ideas.

Thermostats – Thermostats that control the temperature of hot water and radiators can be turned down to make instant savings at no cost. According to the US Department of Energy’s Energy Saver site, a water heater set at 60Cdeg is too high. For most homes, 49Cdeg is sufficient, and could add up to savings of more than $400 a year.

Put a lid on it – EnergyMeasures, an initiative to reduce energy poverty in seven European countries, lists a range of low or no-cost energy saving ideas, including covering pots with lids while cooking to save energy and reduce condensation. Batch cooking – preparing larger quantities of food when cooking – is another way to potentially save time as well as energy.

Switch suppliers – Shopping around could be a way to find a better deal for your energy service, suggests the Australian Energy Regulator, which regulates wholesale electricity and gas markets in Australia. It’s worth also checking whether your existing supplier can give you a better deal. Online price comparison tools can help compare offers.

Plug energy gaps – Draught-proofing is a cheap and effective way to save energy and money in any type of building, according to the Energy Saving Trust, a UK-based organisation which gives energy efficiency advice. Its tips include sticking draught-proofing strips around window frames and filling small gaps around pipework.

Keep cool for less – Cooling can be costly too, with air conditioners and electric fans accounting for 20 percent of global electricity use. In its Tracking Cooling 2020 report, the IEA says cooling is the fastest growing energy demand in buildings, but most consumers are using inefficient air conditioning units.