Strata Leads the Charge in Cost Reduction for Electricity

It is all about education and knowing who to turn to when you need advice.

From years of working with strata companies to assist their portfolios it is clear that the strata company and particularly the strata manager is at the front line as a resource that the committee turns to when seeking advice. This can be for all matters including electricity.

Strata companies and their managers are going to be instrumental in effecting positive change in energy efficiency and cost reduction in the strata industry, so it is a positive step to see Strata Community Australia getting involved.

So how do you help your clients and what are the ways they can save money. It can be summarised in two steps. Get a cheaper price and use less.

1. Get the bill reviewed: Reduce the cost per KWh – If your customer is on a tariff and over 100 MWH per annum (approximately 18k per year) get a review done on the account (savings are from 15-52%), if it is on a small business tariff get a discount.

Seek advice on when to renegotiate if in contract already – timing is everything in this market, the electricity market is like the stock market you can set contracts well before the contract expires based on when the market hits its lows. These are normally outside of peak season (summer/winter).

Get the bills checked for errors – this is an ever more increasing problem. Errors could go unnoticed for the period of the contract if not picked up. Get network charges checked – if the site is in a market agreement already they could be paying more as they are not on the correct charges.

2. Energy efficiency: If a building wants to reduce costs and become efficient they should have an energy champion driving the changes. If the building is serious about reducing its carbon footprint and its operating costs, there needs to be a driver.

Q: What is the cheapest, cleanest energy?

A: It’s the energy you don’t use

Becoming energy efficient doesn’t necessarily mean cost – it should be seen as cost reduction. As a strata company it again comes down to education. Make sure your clients know and understand the costs associated with becoming efficient and payback periods, this can usually be achieved with an energy audit of the site with proper return on investment advice.

As a strata manager here are some tips:

• Encourage your body corporate to get someone who will take the leadership role (the energy champion), maybe an onsite manager as they know the site better than most. As a recommendation it may be an option to incentivise the manager or committee member to get involved and drive this. A percentage bonus for reduced operating costs can be the carrot. It is a win win for both parties as remuneration is based on results.

• Increase management awareness on the committees decisions to become efficient and reduce costs.

• Identify benefits for bodies corporate and individual unit owners.

• Increase availability of information on energy efficiency.

The objective for the energy champion is not to “know it all” but to gain knowledge in the principals of energy auditing or at least understand what is involved in an energy audit and what consumes the electricity within the building.

Undertaking the correct level of audit for the building and aligning and prioritising issues related to the operations are the keys to a success for energy efficiency.

Michael Newton
Watt Utilities

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