How group electricity buying cuts power costs

by FM Media
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An electricity ‘group buying’ service has been launched to help customers gain significant price discounts.

Consumers and businesses across Australia will be able to harness group buying power and access cheap electricity prices, following the launch of Street Smart Energy’s new electricity negotiation service. By joining the growing portfolio of business and residential users, customers get discounted electricity rates through the group’s combined buying clout.
Kelvin Wiggins, managing director of Street Smart Energy, says the service is a win-win for electricity companies and consumers alike. “We pool residential and business usage together to create significant buying pools of energy consumers – making an attractive portfolio for retailers and providing competitive prices for consumers,” Wiggins says.
“Street Smart Energy offers consumers a hassle-free way to combat rising energy prices, which we know are inevitable. Anyone wanting to lock in lower electricity prices in advance of future price rises can register their details through our website – – and we work to find them the best deal.
“It’s important to note that we’re more than just a comparison site or an aggregator of consumers; we construct multimillion-dollar portfolios of peak and off-peak usage, and then negotiate with the electricity retailers on behalf of the pool.”

The New South Wales energy price regulator IPART, as well as the Energy Retailers Association, have confirmed that electricity prices are on the rise, with IPART predicting the rise will be between 20 and 42 percent by 2012-13.
“Our service is a straightforward, hassle-free way for families and businesses to obtain discounts on electricity by allowing us to negotiate deals with large energy companies on their behalf,” Wiggins says.
“The energy retailers are happy to come to the table because the discounts they offer through us will attract new customers for them, at a time when consumers are becoming increasingly savvy about how much they are paying for household and business expenses like electricity.”
The new Street Smart Energy service is guaranteed, with customers assured they will save on electricity by securing a lower electricity rate, or they will receive a refund of their residential registration fee of $29.95. But, for some, there’s more to discounted electricity bills than just cash in the back pocket.
“At Street Smart Energy, we recognise that for many customers the money they save will go straight back into feeding their family or paying for other business expenses, but some of our customers have also been thrilled to be able to put the extra money towards increasing the green quotient of their power bill, thereby contributing to environmental sustainability without incurring a financial cost to themselves.”

Geyer, a leading strategic design practice with offices across the Asia-Pacific region, engaged Global Scene, the environmental consulting firm behind Street Smart Energy, to conduct a Level 2 Energy Audit.
The purpose of the audit was to identify Geyer’s energy consumption and to implement energy efficiency solutions to reduce its impact on the environment while also reducing energy costs. The chosen 650-square metre site in Sydney was reflective of a typical office environment, with energy distribution dominated by air-conditioning, lighting and computers, with some ancillary consumption attributed to kitchen appliances and printing devices.

Global Scene identified considerable energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions savings for Geyer’s Sydney facility. The distribution of energy usage across the office environment was:

  • Printing: 3 percent
  • Miscellaneous (included televisions, fridges and telephones): 4 percent
  • Computers: 21 percent
  • Lighting: 34 percent
  • Air-conditioning: 38 percent

The following is a summary of the key recommendations that were submitted to Geyer upon completion of the energy audit:

  • replace 35-watt halogen downlights with 6.5-watt LED downlights
  • replace majority of T8 fluorescent lamps with T5 fluorescent lamps – potential to install photo detecting technology
  • replace halogen flood lamps with fluorescent versions
  • replace incandescent desk lamps with compact fluorescent lamps (CFL)
  • remove reception printer and outsource Océ printing
  • employ the use of eco-buttons on computers, and
  • turn off entertainment fridge when not in use.

It was also recommended that Geyer join the Street Smart Energy program to consolidate its buying power with other commercial customers, thereby significantly reducing its energy costs.
In addition to the energy and environmental savings noted above, there are a number of financial savings that will be realised by Geyer as a result of implementing the above recommendations. Furthermore, it is envisaged that by joining the Street Smart Energy program, Geyer could achieve savings of between 10 and 30 percent on its current electricity bill.

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