Most people have heard this proverb: ‘Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.’ This week’s Australian Federal Budget (9 May 2023) was an opportunity to apply the same logic to household and small business electricity bills.
GAVIN DIETZ: WATTWATCHERS CEO
Australia’s national, state and territory governments are uniting around last night’s Federal Budget announcement to help households and small businesses that are struggling with record high energy bills.
It shows our governing politicians are listening to Australians beset by cost of living pressures, rental price hikes and still-rising mortgage interest rates; and the newly-framed national mission to ‘electrify everything’ is specifically recognised, with Rewiring Australia calling it ‘Australia’s first electrification budget’, $1.6 billion in related new funding, and the Budget Papers spelling out: ‘Electrification is critical to achieving emissions reductions and lowering energy costs for households and businesses.’
Unfortunately, this Budget is also a missed opportunity, for now at least, to do something truly lasting about power bills. A one-off energy spend which gives genuinely needy households and small businesses around $500 each in much-appreciated but short-lived power bill relief is a dollar band-aid rather than a structural fix.
We vote for structural fix!
As we all know, energy costs are monthly or quarterly, they are with us forever, and they always seem to be going up – with another round of circa 30% price rises already locked in for this July. Depending on how it’s spent, $500 per home or small business can be an absolute game-changer – for the long-term!
How to hook lower power bills
So, drawing on the old proverb, the Budget’s $1.5 billion in energy bill rebates are like giving a fish to each of an estimated 5 million households and 1 million small businesses. But what would the energy equivalent of teaching them how to fish look like?
That’s simple. Instead of taxpayer-funded short-term relief, we all should invest in the technologies and light infrastructure that empower households and businesses to reduce their energy costs every month going forward.
Here is our idea. Put that $500 per site (or another $500) towards a Wattwatchers device and a home energy management system (HEMS) app for every one of the 6 million homes and small businesses. Why would you do that?
Well, that’s easy. Our devices and our app ecosystem give you information on your energy consumption. This is incredibly powerful, enabling you to change your behaviours and generate real savings immediately and ongoing. It is not untypical for a household to reduce energy usage by 30% with information alone; and, with even more insights and automation options, this can be many hundreds of dollars per bill.
Don’t just take my word for it either. In this video from last week’s record-breaking Smart Energy 2023 event in Sydney, Smart Energy Council CEO John Grimes extolls the value of the Clipsal Cortex HEMS offering, a great app choice for consumers, which uses Wattwatchers monitoring and control devices as a core part of its solution stack.
There’s an app for that … and a special offer
In our vision for a HEMS nation, every participating home and business would be equipped with a budget app for real-time tracking of their energy use and spending. Plus, they’ll get the information and tools to begin an electrification journey that will help them save even more; for example by removing gas altogether and replacing it with less expensive, more flexible clean energy options.
To put our money where our mouths are, Wattwatchers is launching a special post-Budget $299 +GST electrification offer – running at least until the end of the financial year on 30 June – that includes our cellular-communicating HEMS device, our MyEnergy app and delivery, with 36 months of prepaid subscriptions.
You can find out more about the MyEnergy app, and access the $299 +GST special offer, or you can access the Wattwatchers online shop from the bottom of this web-page.
It’s an opportunity to lock-in future savings
We’re targeting the households and small businesses of Australia, including the 6 million now in line to receive the $500 rebates, and we even hope some of them will see value in reinvesting the help they are getting from governments (i.e. use the fish to fund learning how to fish themselves).
Our $299 offer still leaves a chunk of money to pay for most if not all of the cost of installation of our device by a licensed electrician.
And you know what is even better, The Wattwatchers HEMS solution is designed in Australia, Made in Australia and owned by Australians, providing Australians with a great first step towards taking control of their energy futures.