No matter how many people are taking showers and baths at your place, chances are water heating is one of the biggest contributing factors to your energy bills.
Despite this, it’s easy to overlook given that most general consumer advice about saving money on electricity refers to using appliances less, or just turning the lights off! Technically helpful tips sure, but if you really want to make a noticeable dent in your bill, water heating is the place to start.
It’s hard though, right? The first question is: Where do you even begin? Well, you could have fewer showers… Or only use the washing machine and dishwasher when they’re full (you should be doing this anyway, during your Hour of Power).
What about a more practical, technical answer that means you can go on using the same amount of hot water, but at much reduced prices? That’s where Electric Kiwi is starting to make a splash. We’re testing the water to see how much households could save by letting us upgrade their energy meters and controlling when their cylinders are heated.
Not content with shallow promises of helping customers save money, our team has been working on an innovative solution that means you can pay cheaper rates for water heating and genuinely reduce your bills.
It all relates to controlling when power is used to heat your water. By shifting the ‘load’ to off-peak times when energy rates are cheaper – provided you’re on an awesome time of use power plan like MoveMaster – you can get the hot water you need at a much lower price.
Plus, as a pretty sweet bonus for both you and the environment, the energy used at off-peak times is more likely to come from renewable generation sources. Everyone’s a winner.
Practical solutions to support the green transition and helping customers to save money. These two things are at the heart of everything we do.
Here’s what we’re doing
We’ve invited 60 households to take part in our trial to find out the best and most practical way of reducing their water heating costs, while ensuring hot water is still available when it’s needed. We contacted eligible customers directly to see if they wanted to take part.
The trial is being undertaken in partnership with Influx Energy Data, experts in energy meters and the data and insights that come from them. They’ll manage the meter changes to enable the trial, and give us access to the analytics of each participant’s energy usage.
- Split into two groups, the first 30 households will have their water heating turned off during peak times of day (7am-9am and 5pm-9pm), while the other 30 households will have theirs turned off during both the peak and the 9pm to 11pm shoulder off-peak period. We’re expecting the greatest saving to be achieved in the second group.
- Participating households have the meter at their property upgraded. This comes at no cost to customers, but only households on the Vector Network are able to participate.
- The trial will involve scheduling the meters of participating households to control when the hot water cylinder heats up to avoid peak times and will run for about a month.
- Following the initial trials, we’ll continue working with willing participants to work out the longer-term impacts and potentially experiment with additional timing models to achieve a further optimised outcome.
Why are we doing this?
Not only are we an energy retailer, we’re also a technology company that cares about doing what we can to support the transition to renewables. And we have lots of super smart geeks who know what they’re doing in this space!
We often see other retailers talk a good game and shout about their green credentials, but we’re more interested in doing practical things that leverage technology to benefit the environment, as well as saving customers money. These two things should not be mutually exclusive.
We’re working on a number of other awesome initiatives right now and we’ll be keeping you updated on our progress. Will they all work? Maybe, but maybe not. The point is that putting theories to the test is the way to achieve meaningful change, and that’s what we’re trying to do.