It’s time for all of us to take control of our energy costs

LET’S face it, we’re all sick of talking about energy. Most people wish the issue would simply go away – let the pollies sort it all out and make our bills go back to normal.

The problem is, the fixes that governments are putting in place will take a long, long time to work.

Mending our broken energy system is hard, and this means it’s going to be years before the cost of electricity comes down.

When I tell people this, most of them throw up their hands and resign themselves to dealing with high energy bills for the foreseeable future.

That is exactly the wrong reaction, because it assumes people have no control over their energy bill, which is not true.

There’s a lot you can do now which will make a huge dent in your next bill.

Take ordinary household appliances. Big, old fridges and air conditioners are massive energy hogs.

There are newer models in stores which are much, much cheaper to run.

Unplugging an old clunker of a fridge and plugging in a new one with an energy rating of four stars or more could save you hundreds of dollars a year.

And that’s just one example. There are dozens of things that you can do to bring down your bill.

Some cost nothing at all, like hanging clothes on the line instead of using the dryer. Do that once a week, and you could save more than $70 a year.

Some things cost a lot, like doing a full retrofit to upgrade your home's energy performance.

But everyone can do something.

So the next time that someone complains to you about their energy bill, be sympathetic at first.

Then ask them what they are going to do about it.

Luke Menzel is chief executive of the Energy Efficiency Council.