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QLD Article

Proactively managing energy services helps Strata to beat rising costs and uncertainty

Updated: Nov 9, 2022

After almost a decade of stable inflation and extremely low interest rates, things in Australia and across the globe, have begun to change. Interest rates have gone from almost zero per cent, to an ever-increasing 2.6 per cent. Fuel prices have hit the $2 mark and the cost of fruit and vegetables are escalating.

Based on current forecasts and ongoing costs following the Covid-19 pandemic, government stimulus policies, labour shortages, extreme weather in Queensland and New South Wales and, more recently, troubles in Europe, retail electricity prices could soar by 35 per cent or more in 2023 on top of recent escalations, placing further pressure on households and businesses already struggling with the unprecedented high cost of living.

The Default Market Offer (DMO)ensures consumers are protected from unjustifiably high electricity prices. However, DMO prices in NSW, south-east Queensland and South Australia have increased between 1.7 and 8.2 per cent above inflation since July. This is largely due to significant rises in wholesale electricity costs over the past year.

Although the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has sought to balance the additional cost pressures on consumers, whilst also ensuring retailers could recover their rising wholesale and network costs, the impact on consumers already struggling with the cost of living has been felt throughout Australian communities.

This is why Altogether, one of Australia’s largest embedded network service providers, is bucking the trend in the way they deliver electricity to their customers, particularly for the strata industry and body corporates.

With a goal to provide exemplary service through self-funded solutions that remove infrastructure cost burdens on the strata industry, By investing in infrastructure, Altogether can lower the communities long-term operating costs by reducing energy usage. Additionally, by removing utility waste and replacing manually read meters with smart-technology ones, Altogether works collaboratively with customers to remove the unpredictability in utility pricing both now, and into the future.

Drew McKillican, Altogether’s Executive Manager of Energy Services, says he understands the incredible stress rising energy costs can have on businesses and households, and wants customers to reclaim their purchasing power and create meaningful savings for themselves.

“It is now critical that communities are smarter about their energy consumption and implement some cost-saving behaviors to avoid significant increases in cost” Mr McKillican said.

“I know we have been through a lot these last couple of years and the rising cost of living seems overwhelming, but our Covid-19 recovery plan, which offered the strata community free electricity, got us through that difficult time and I know we can pull together again. By partnering with us, we can help you plan for the future and take the sting out of those power bills,” he said.

A key aspect to ensuring strata communities are getting the lowest overall energy spend is understanding the finer details of your current energy contract:

  • When was the last time you actually read the small print?

  • Are you aware of your exit clause rights?

  • Are you paying the right tariff and tenure for your building?

  • How efficient are your current meter readers?

  • Do you have the correct infrastructure to ensure you are getting the best value out of your current electricity provider?

These are just a few key factors Altogether takes into account when reviewing energy contracts, as they believe that all customers have the right to choose a retailer of their own, without barriers or unnecessary costs.

Discussing a range of measures that can be applied to buildings to ensure electricity is being used more sustainably and effectively, Mr McKillican said that even seemingly small changes to buildings or strata plans can significantly reduce overall costs and bill shock. He also believes that proactive actions, such as installing smart meters, educate communities on energy wastages enabling significant improvements in operational efficiency and speed, as well as providing greater certainty over long-term energy pricing.

“Ensuring you have the right energy partner investing in your energy infrastructure is paramount and you can assess this by to one of our Senior Energy Consultants who will help you identify where your building is using the most energy,” he said.

“There’s a number of relatively straightforward upgrades you could implement that may drastically reduce both energy usage and emissions, such as installing power factor correction, simple lighting and ventilation automation controllers and switching from gas services to electricity only.

“Seasonal and lifestyle changes of your tenants, as well as the number of appliances within your building’s common areas, also affect the overall cost of your electricity bill, so it is important to take these factors into account when assessing your bill,” he said.

Other energy saving initiatives, such as installing LED lights, reducing the number of light switches throughout the building or double glazing for the building’s windows and doors, as well as upgrading meters, can also have a significant impact on the amount of electricity consumed.

“Altogether also offers a free smart meter upgrade program, which allows us to read, disconnect and reconnect meters remotely at any time, which saves both time and money for our strata customers. Additionally, we can smooth the burden of price rises via tailored payment plans or contracts that specifically cater for more stable tariffs,” Mr McKillican said.

“We want strata managers and committee members to know that Altogether is in it for the long-haul and we will work together to sustainably manage the amount of power you and your building uses, at the lowest cost investment you can make,” he said.

Given their focus on smart technologies and sustainable power, water and data services, Altogether are truly dedicated to creating a better future for the community. Although it is near impossible to control the ever-rising cost of living, interest rates and inflation, with Altogether's embedded energy networks, you can control the costs of your overall electricity bill and have peace of mind, knowing that your power solutions are in their hands.

We sincerely thank our Platinum Partners Altogether Group for this editorial.



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