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Perth's big freeze drives heating power surge

Synergy customers are being asked to plan for an increase in their electricity bills as they use more due to the big freeze that has hit Perth over recent months. 

Synergy chief executive officer Jason Waters said there had been a significant spike in the amount of electricity being used across the south west of the state this winter as households increased the use of heating appliances to counter colder temperatures.
“We’ve seen the amount of electricity being used across the south west of the state surge by up to seven per cent over the past couple of months, which is on the back of considerably cooler temperatures that are down by an average of 1.3 degrees compared to the same time last year,” Mr Waters said. 

“It is clear that Perth’s big winter chill has driven a substantial rise in how much electricity is being consumed, particularly during morning and evening peaks and overnight, and we want to get the message out to our customers that if they have been using more they are likely to see an increased bill compared to the warmer winter experienced last year.”

Mr Waters said the spike in usage on average outweighed the increase in the unit price of electricity set by the State Government as part of the state budget process.  
“There is a misconception that an increase in electricity bills is automatically related to higher prices, however during extreme weather conditions such as what we have experienced this winter, increased use is more likely to be the main contributor,” Mr Waters said.

“We suspect one of the main contributors to increased use can be attributed to the widespread installation of reverse cycle air conditioners, as well as an increasing variety of low purchase cost electrical heating appliances, including ceramic and panel heaters, smaller fan heaters and even the more traditional oil heaters, which has now translated into much higher power consumption.

“Our concern is that people may not appreciate that by increasing the temperature setting of your reverse cycle air conditioner, even by a few degrees, can translate to a big upsurge in power usage. The difference between setting your air conditioner at 22 degrees versus 26 degrees could be hundreds of dollars in electricity over a year. And like any appliance, people should check the energy star rating of their air conditioning unit.

“Synergy’s main message is that we can help our customers either with energy saving tips and advice that can help them reduce their consumption, or we can provide them with assistance in managing their payments through times like this when electricity use is high.” 

A range of tips such as optimising heating and cooling or switching to energy saving lightbulbs can be found here: 

Synergy provides convenient avenues for customers to manage payments such as fee-free direct debit by credit card or debit card, automatic direct debit instalments, online or via our energy management tool – My Account. 

For more energy saving tips and information on how to make smaller payments, check if you’re eligible for any concessions or see if you can save with solar – visit