first_imgClint Luna and his family have avoided large energy bill rises during COVID-19 because they have solar and battery power. Photo: Mark Cranitch.Thousands of Australian households will face eye-watering energy bills this winter as a result of COVID-19. Since the start of the pandemic, energy usage across the country has increased by 105 per cent, according to data from Natural Solar — Australia’s largest installer of solar panels and batteries.Average daily energy consumption has skyrocketed to 33.9kWh, compared with 16.5kWh at the same time last year. RELATED: Homes designed to reduce energy bills during summer and winter 1. Turn appliances off at the power point when they are not in use.2. Keep your air conditioner or heating at a stable temperature; in summer keep it above 18 degrees, and below 24 degrees in winter. 3. Turn off unnecessary lighting during the day or invest in energy-efficient bulbs. 4. Use your clothes drier sparingly, it uses a lot of energy. 5. Be mindful of the energy star rating when buying appliances. Paying more for an energy-efficient appliance will make you a more significant gain over time.6. Only use the washing machine when you have a full load.7. Consider portable solar lighting in your outdoor areas.8. Monitor your electricity usage. There are cost-effective tools you can buy that can show your consumption.9. Shop around for the best possible energy deal.10. If you can afford it, invest in solar panels and a battery storage system; it could save you up to $2000 a year. Source: Natural Solar Working from home and COVID-19 lockdowns have caused energy bills to skyrocket.As a result household energy bills for the past quarter could be more than double, with the average household paying $800, up from $406.75. Those households with higher than average power usage can expect bills of up to $1800 a quarter. Natural Solar chief executive Chris Williams said during COVID-19 Australians got a taste for what it was like to work and study from home, which had created a generational shift in where, how and why we use electricity.“We envisage the trend for higher usage is going to continue, and while it may be at a lesser rate than during COVID-19, even a 30 or 40 per cent rise will have a significant impact on household bills,” Mr Williams said. While the majority of Australian families will be hit hard by the increases, he said there were pockets of homeowners set to make it through the ‘COVID Quarter’ unscathed. Natural Solar’s Chris Williams with the SonnenBatterie that can save residents $2000 a year in electricity bills.Homeowners using solar power, combined with batteries to store unused power, have less reliance on the grid and greater chance of reducing or eliminating their electricity bills.For Clint and Christina Luna, who own a four-bedroom family home and have three children aged six, four and two, installing solar panels and a battery has allowed them not only to eliminate their energy bills but to earn money back.Mr Luna, who has two electric cars, said that with the cost of solar and battery power falling over the years, he realised that upgrading to a 40kWh solar system would allow him to run his house and the two cars at minimal to no cost.“My post COVID-19 energy bill was $200 in credit, so I actually made money back,” he said.“Solar is a bit of a no-brainer. It will give you payback in about three to four years. Clint Luna also has two electric cars. Picture: Mark Cranitch.Where else can you get a 70 per cent return on your money? If you add battery power to that, the payback is a little bit longer, but it’s still going to pay for itself in about five or six years.”Mr Luna, who runs an international business from his home office, said having alternative energy sources had other benefits beyond monetary savings, including the security of uninterrupted power.“If the area has a blackout, for instance, we still have power. We can just carry on as normal, which is really important, especially in these times when more people are working from home and relying on having power, no matter what.“Anyone who has the roof space and doesn’t have solar is pretty crazy.“I don’t have to worry about fluctuations in anything, not power prices, nor energy bills, nothing.” Solar panels help the Luna family charge their two Tesla cars as well as their household energy needs. Photo: Mark Cranitch. With the increased frequency of natural disasters — such as the recent bushfires and floods, followed by the coronavirus pandemic — Mr Williams said that there has been a general shift in people wanting self-sufficiency when it comes to powering their homes.He said improvements in technology had made power sources such as solar and battery more affordable, with households saving money almost immediately.“If the use of solar power reduces energy bills by even 10 per cent and bills rise by 3 or 4 per cent per annum, it makes absolute sense,” he said. Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:38Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:38 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD540p540p360p360p270p270pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. 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This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenMud-brick ‘Flintstones’ house for eco warriors00:38 Jennifer Lopez adds new eco-friendly Los Angeles home to her portfolio Live green at Australia’s most energy-efficient estate Chris Hemsworth joins the solar panel trend MORE NEWS: Meanwhile, for those who have been affected by COVID-19, some energy companies are trying to help customers through the period of “bill shock”.More from newsCOVID-19 renovation boom: How much Aussies are spending to give their houses a facelift during the pandemic3 days agoWhizzkid buys almost one property a month during COVID-197 days agoOrigin senior external affairs manager Paul Duboudin said the energy company would be providing tailored support, including payment extensions, payment plans or referrals, for those customers affected by COVID-19.“We have also paused all late payment fees and are not disconnecting or default listing any customers in financial distress until at least July 31,” he said. A Sonnen home energy battery management system is one way you can reduce your energy bills. 10 WAYS TO REDUCE YOUR ENERGY BILLS What to consider when buying a house and land package COVID-19 wake-up call a chance to design smarter homes Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 2:56Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -2:56 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels540p540p360p360p270p270pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. 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This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenCOVID-19: Spring property predictions 202002:57last_img read more

first_imgMillhousen, In. — The Marion Township Volunteer Fire Department invites the public to a series all you can eat fish dinners. The dinners will be held on March 22 & April from 5 to 8 p.m. at the firehouse in Millhousen.The menu will include whitefish, tenderloins, hot dogs, French fries, baked beans, applesauce and a drink.For more information please call 812-222-0029last_img

first_imgA SWAT team raid of a home in Loxahatchee this week led to two arrests, as well as the confiscation of nearly $1 million worth of marijuana.The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office says deputies on Tuesday arrested 46-year-old Nereida Vila and her boyfriend, Maiker Requejo, 39, on multiple charges related to marijuana cultivation, possession, and trafficking. A 12-year-old and 20-year-old were also in the home at the time.According to the arrest report, the child slept in the master bedroom with the two adults. Meanwhile, two other bedrooms and the garage had been converted into indoor cannabis labs.Courtesy: Palm Beach Sheriff’s OfficeInvestigators ended up seizing a total of 50 plants, weighing about 400 pounds, in addition to a gun. The marijuana had a street value of about $967,000.Vila is a convicted felon. Requejo told investigators he was unaware of the marijuana in the house. Deputies say his wallet contained receipts for liquid fertilizer and other products that are typically used to grow marijuana indoors.Just before the SWAT team entered the home with their search warrant, a deputy smelled raw cannabis coming from the property.last_img read more

first_imgFacebook0Tweet0Pin0 Submitted by The City of OlympiaOn Friday, August 21 and Saturday, August 22 (weather permitting), the City’s Contractor will be grinding off old pavement markings and applying new plastic pavement markings (including bicycle symbols, turn arrows, and crosswalk striping) to the newly chip sealed surfaces on West Bay Drive, Road 65, Division Street and Black Lake Boulevard. This will complete the pavement preservation work on these roads.Work will take place between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. and follow the schedule below. Motorist should expect some lane restrictions and delays during the pavement marking operations. Flaggers will direct motorists through the construction area.Friday, August 21West Bay Drive NW (from Garfield Avenue to Schneider Hill Road);Road 65 NW (from 14th Avenue to 20th Avenue); andDivision Street NW (from Harrison Avenue to 4th Avenue)Saturday, August 22Division Street NW (from Harrison Avenue to 4th Avenue);Black Lake Boulevard SW (from 4th Avenue to Capital Mall Drive to 4th Avenue); andBlack Lake Boulevard SW (from Hwy 101 to south city limits near Hope Community Church)last_img read more