Carbon Tax 2012 - How it affects you, and ways you can beat it
The carbon tax rolls out July 1st 2012. How will it affect you?
It's imperative to know in advance just how much the Government's new carbon tax laws will affect you and your household. Before you know it, July 1 will be here and the rollout will commence.
By this time, people who deem the carbon tax as just a ‘political issue’ will be in for a financial shock. It is, after all, a tax. And whether you call it a tax, levy or carbon pollution cover, it's still a pricing mechanism. So get ready to bear the brunt of new costs that will be passed down to you: Australian ratepayers.
Just to put things into perspective, in April the Independent Price and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) of NSW recommended that the average electricity price should increase 16 per cent across the state. That could mean an extra $338 per year for households and $439 for small business owners in metropolitan areas. Consumers in country areas could face even bigger increases.
Just how will the carbon tax impact you?
Energy price increases
Energy prices are expected to rise significantly in the near future. In NSW alone that's a $3.30 per week hike in electricity costs for the average household. The rise is mostly driven by replacing tired assets (generation plant, wires, poles and network infrastructure), with a carbon price being modest by comparison.
Items may cost more
The carbon tax charges businesses for their carbon footprint, so if the costs of running a business and transporting goods around have to increase for them it will affect their pricing strategies. Any additional costs will have to be recovered, and upping their goods and services prices is an easy way to recoup them. Expect airlines and other industries required to pay for carbon to charge more.
Some households receive assistance
The Government isn't turning its back on all Australian families. Reduced tax measures will be put in place to alleviate financial stress for Australian taxpayers. However, only eligible households can benefit. If your household earns an annual income of $150,000 or more, don't expect to receive government assistance to combat higher electricity prices. The tax cuts are capped.
Ways to beat the carbon tax
Many of us are already feeling the pinch of rising bills and trying to do everything we can to cut back on bills, and sometimes it feels like there is nothing else you can do. Aside from turning things off at the wall and only using what you have to, check out these 5 ideas to help cut your bills.
1. Compare supplier prices and switch
If you aren’t happy with the cost of your electricity and gas bills, compare them online. It's so easy to do and can save you hundreds of dollars a year. At Moneyhound just submit your postcode and follow the prompts to price what your paying against other suppliers that service your area. If you find a cheaper plan, apply online with Moneyhound to make the switch and they'll organise it for you. If you discover you're already on the best rate, call your supplier and ask for a discount anyway. They might say no, but if you don’t ask you won’t know!
2. Use the bonus payment
Some families are eligible for a payment from the government to help offset the increased expenses from carbon tax. Use this money to get ahead on your bills or switch an appliance to a more energy efficient one. You could swap your electric hot water heater over to a gas one, or a solar powered hot water system instead. Whatever you do, try and use this money to help save you money. Don’t just spend it on anything. Think about how you could use that money to help you in the future as well as now. For more information read the Clean Energy Future brochure.
Not everyone can afford to get solar panels on their roof. If you can and will be staying in your home for a while, by all means get them, but solar panels are not the only way to make use of the sun. A relatively cheap investment is solar lights. If you put them out in the day you can bring them in at night for a bit of light. If you have children who are scared of the dark solar lights work out much cheaper to have in their rooms than leaving a light on all night. You could use solar lights for your outdoor lighting requirements near your front door or in your back garden for eg check out www.ecosolarlighting.com.au
4. Solar cooking
Just like slow cookers and crockpots which use electricity you can use the sun to cook your food. Using a bucket, a car sunshade (a silver, reflective one), a bit of velcro or pegs, a black pot and plastic cover you can easily make your own solar cooker for very little money. Otherwise there are a variety of ones available for purchase for eg check out www.solarcooking.com.au. You can bake everything from casseroles to roast, bread and cakes. Energy from the sun is free, so why not use it?
5. Refrain from peak-hour use
If you have the luxury of choosing when you use your washing machine, clothes dryer, dishwasher, computer, air conditioner or pool cleaner, it's much cheaper to do so during off-peak hours. Find out when your electricity provider delegates peak times, and wash clothes and run your dishwasher during off-peak hours.
6. Change your habits
Think about all the simple things you can do to reduce your energy usage simply by changing your habits: Use a drying rack instead of the clothes dryer - during winter all you have to do is stand it up next to the heater and your clothes will be dry overnight. Set your washing machine to cold water wash instead of hot water. Do you need to use a hair dryer every morning? Wash your hair in the early evenings and let it dry naturally. Turn the lights off. Turn your computer off when your not using it.
This might sound simple, but we spend so much of our time indoors now that a gentle reminder to get outside and get active can’t hurt. Instead of watching TV go to the park, or play a game of football. Check out the entertainment in your area which is free. This saves you money in two ways – you aren’t paying for entertainment and since you aren’t at home you aren’t paying to heat, cool or light your home.