Case study

10 years without an energy bill? Kay’s complacency cost him thousands.

Here’s how he bounced back. 

Kay, QLD



Annual energy savings

Kay hadn’t paid an energy bill in 10 years. 

As one of the “lucky ones” to secure a high solar feed-in tariff when they were first introduced, Kay received twice the amount for selling solar to the grid than he spent buying power from the grid when his panels weren’t generating. 

I would make more money exporting energy back to the grid than I did consuming energy from the grid. So, exporting it was a no-brainer. My goal has always been to export as much as possible during the day and do household tasks in the evenings, when it was cheaper. 

Kay also received an annual tax-free rebate of between $2,000 and $3,500 for his solar system.  

“I became complacent because I never got an electricity bill and still got a nice refund every year

Paying for complacency 

But all of that changed in 2023 when Kay received his first electricity bill in over a decade. Although the bill was only around $50, Kay says it “kinda freaked me out a little bit”. 

“I looked into it and discovered that, not only did I have to start paying for power, but my refund was decreasing every year, which was a real bummer. I worked out that I’d lost between $6,000 and $8,000 because I didn’t check. And that’s just stupid.” 

Kay started looking for solutions to help him understand and better manage his energy consumption because his high feed-in tariff is coming to an end. 

“EnergyFlex interested me because it’s independent of any energy retailer and I needed unbiased advice, so I tried it out.” 

Kay had been with the same energy retailer “forever” but admits that he’s never compared offers or retailers. 

“Before using EnergyFlex, I didn’t know that I could change energy retailers easily and whenever I wanted. I paid the price for that.

I’ve never bothered to change retailers because it seemed too difficult and there were no good comparison tools available. I was happy with my retailer and believed I was getting a good deal, so I stayed.

But in return for that loyalty, I got done financially. In hindsight, I definitely paid the ‘lazy tax’

Small changes, big impact 

Kay says EnergyFlex gave him a lot more information and insights into his consumption than his energy retailer’s app. 

“I check EnergyFlex more than I check my retailer’s app. The graph on EnergyFlex helped me understand my energy usage peaks and troughs, as well as the best times to use energy, but I was surprised to learn that a lot of my usage fell into the ‘worst’ times.” 

Kay booked a consultation with one of EnergyFlex’s energy experts to see if there was a way to recover his losses. 

“Craig discussed how timing affects my energy usage and bills, which I wasn’t aware of. He also reviewed my energy plan, and it turned out there was a better deal out there, so the first thing I did was switch retailers.” 

Now that there was no financial incentive to export his solar energy, Kay followed Craig’s advice and started using as much of it as possible during the day.

“I’ve always run the pool pump overnight because my energy retailer incentivised overnight use with low tariffs. I also now understand that this approach was not great for the environment because overnight energy mostly comes from coal and gas.” 

“I figured that changing the timing of my pool pump to run during the day, which was one of the actions suggested by EnergyFlex, was an easy thing to do. That small change alone boosted my EnergyFlex Rating to 2.6 from 1.8, with some days going above 3.

“It kinda sparked an interest in me to see what else we could change at home. We started with simple things that wouldn’t impact our lifestyle. So, we got an air fryer, which we love cooking with. We also got a few smart timer switches that we connect the computers to. The timer automatically turns off at night, so we don’t have to remember to.” 

Kay got his two kids involved in the family’s journey to becoming Renewables Ready by gamifying a lot of the actions suggested by EnergyFlex. 

“One of the kids goes around switching off fans and lights before we leave for school,” says Kay. “We’re also trying to outsmart our demand charge. I had no idea what a demand charge was before using EnergyFlex! So, we’re taking the Demand Charge Challenge to try improving our rating. The kids understand that when it’s demand charge time between 4 and 9pm, they can’t turn everything on and can’t charge devices. We’re conscious about not leaving lights on, not using the dishwasher or washing machine, and not running multiple appliances at the same time. It’ll be interesting to see how this affects our bills and EnergyFlex Rating.” 

“We enjoy trying new things to see how they affect our rating the next day. It’s super exciting and it becomes a bit of a challenge to see what we can try next.

The kids are in charge of monitoring our EnergyFlex Rating and keeping us all in check.

Taking his power back 

Kay says EnergyFlex has put him back in control. “I feel more empowered now that I have a better understanding of how the energy system works. I love that I can find all the information and education I need about electricity in one place. I needed someone to handhold me through the process but now that I’m on the journey, I realise that it comes down to constant education and knowing the impact of your actions on your bills and the environment. 

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