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Now is the time to save energy for a rainy day

4 April 2006

Now is the time to save energy for a rainy day

With winter just around the corner now is a good time to remind ourselves to use electricity carefully, Government Spokesperson on Energy Efficiency Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

"Hydro lake levels have been falling steadily since early February and are now below average for this time of year.

"It's easy to forget the commonsense things we all know about - turning off the computer - especially the screen - when we finish work; fixing leaky hot water taps; turning off TVs, washing machines and other equipment at the wall rather than the machine or the remote; switching off lights when leaving the room; turning off the heated towel rail once the towels are dry.

"If we cut out waste at this stage of the year we can save ourselves money, keep more water in the lakes for winter, and reduce greenhouse gases from coal-fired power stations," Ms Fitzsimons says.

Consumers won't just save money on this month's bill; they may also help avoid future price rises. When the spot price for electricity goes up too far, power companies are buying it from the market for a higher price than they can sell it to households. While residential customers are protected from high spot prices, this may only be for a while as power companies are likely to put prices up later to recover their losses from buying at a higher price than they could sell.

"As we go into winter, power bills tend to rise. Lights are on for longer, the water heater has to work harder and the house needs heating too," Ms Fitzsimons says.

"Now is a good time to prepare for winter by replacing any old incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps. They use only a fifth of the power for the same amount of light and last many times longer.

"It's also a good time to check seals on oven and fridge doors and replace them if they are leaky, and to draught-stop around windows and doors to make winter more comfortable.

"All the signs are that we will get through this winter without serious problems, but we can make that more likely by cutting out wasteful use of electricity now" Ms Fitzsimons says.


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