Magnetic Island North Queensland
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May 24th 2010
Queenslanders "more interested in comfort, entertainment and lifestyle than environment"

While Magnetic Islanders are making considerale headway in energy savings with one in five reducing their energy use by more than 30% and overall peak demand down by 8% with the assistance of the Solar Cities programme, a major new survey shows Queenslanders don't seem to care, with expectations from Ergon Energy that, "...peak demand could worsen quite significantly".

The new research shows 20 percent of Queensland residential customers say they have tried to reduce their household energy use after receiving bill comparison information with their electricity bill.

However the state-wide Household Energy Survey conducted by research firm Colmar Brunton for energy companies Ergon Energy, Powerlink Queensland and Energex shows Queenslanders face a major challenge if electricity use is going to be reduced significantly.

The survey – the most comprehensive snapshot of household electricity use and energy-saving attitudes and awareness in Queensland – found Queenslanders are generally more interested in their own comfort, entertainment and lifestyle than the environment and are increasingly filling their homes with air conditioners and a raft of high energy consuming appliances.

The Household Energy Survey found North Queenslanders are among the state’s highest air conditioner owners, but are also most likely to set them to their most efficient temperature.

It found 91 percent of North Queensland homes have an air conditioner (compared to 74 percent of homes across the state), with an average of 2.8 split system units per home. A further 19 percent of NQ householders plan to buy an air conditioner within five years.

The Ergon Energy survey found 5 percent of North Queenslander householders with air conditioning leave it on all or most of the year and 26 percent leave it on all or most of the time in summer.

It found 84 percent of air conditioned NQ homes have an air conditioning unit in the master bedroom and 76 percent leave it on overnight.

A total of 32 percent of North Queensland homes have no insulation – the highest in the State. A further 20 percent of householders don't know if their homes have insulation or not.

The survey also found:
*About one in five Queenslanders want more information to understand what peak demand and electricity tariffs are and how to manage use and save money.

*79 percent of NQ householders want to ensure they get the best tariff option to cut their electricity bill

*50 percent of households have power-saving CFL bulbs in most lights and 24 percent plan to get CFL bulbs in all lights

*North Queensland householders are among the strongest believers in the state that climate change requires drastic action, but do not believe electricity prices should go up to cover climate change action.

*North Queenslanders are the least likely in the State to believe they are being as energy efficient as possible.

General Manager Operations Northern Paul Ryan said “Queenslanders are taking up energy consuming appliances at a faster rate than taking up energy saving appliances. They are using them in peak times more than half of the time and have a low willingness to change their behaviour.

“This means the peak demand use could worsen quite significantly unless major change occurs amongst Queensland households.’’

The results come during Energy Saving Awareness campaign by Ergon Energy to help customers cut energy use and save money on their electricity bill.

For more information and energy saving tips please visit the Ergon Energy website: or contact 131046.

To add your comment,
or read those of others, see below

May 23rd 2010
Since peak usage co-incides with the blazing sun, it should not be a problem. A pox on North Queensland for not gearing themselves up for solar energy at least 40 years ago. They would be laughing now. Throughout Australia the power companies openly discouraged solar power and we are paying for it now. NQLD,due to their abundant warmth especially is negligent- criminally I would say.
Jenny Stirling
May 23rd 2010
It is clear that when the pain of rising electricity costs is worse than doing something about it, then more people will act to reduce their consumption and to maximise opportunites to generate their own power. And then people will start to be more observant of the double standards that exist for the general public and the business sector.
May 23rd 2010
I have to say that I'm staggered by the statistic that "91 percent of North Queensland homes have an air conditioner" and that "26 percent leave it on all or most of the time in summer." These figures would probably surprise most people because they suggest that air conditioning must be one of the biggest consumers of electricity in the regular residential household.
When taken together with the figures about insulation - that 32 percent of homes have no insulation at all and a further 20 percent of householders don't know if their homes have insulation or not - we can only conclude that the community is in a state of self-induced ignorance.
Daily on commercial TV punters are confronted with clever advertising flogging air conditioning as if it is a complete solution to summer. Are we that gullible? Are we that wealthy that cost doesn't matter? If so, then it is not surprising at all that the Federal Government's home insulation program fell in such a shocking heap. Clearly regular suburbanites have no idea how much things cost and seemingly have no intention of finding out. It's not about climate change denial ("the environment" in the heading), it's more about instant gratification and the capacity of our consumerist society to just buy its way into a state of unknowing. This is the same society that is now listening to big business (miners) argue with the Federal Government about the proposed super profits tax. Let's be honest here. If punters are so ignorant about the costs and benefits of their own energy consumption, how the hell are they going to pick winners from the kings of spin. It's the blinded and the blinding misleading the blind.
May 25th 2010
I'm off to cool down in front of the open fridge. May turn on a few unnecessary electrical appliances while I'm at it, run a load through the clothes dryer....and flick the lights on and off a few times too. Bah humbug

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