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Strata Bill : Saving on body corporate Utilities this summer

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Just when you thought 2020 couldn’t throw anything else at us, the topic of body corporate utilities looks set for a dramatic end of year twist.

For the first time in years, strata communities are set to be at capacity!

Thanks to coronavirus restrictions, many owners who enjoy a yearly summer holiday won’t get to have that experience this year. But whilst no travel might make for a healthier bank balance, energy consumption is set to surge, turning a period of potential savings into an energy spending spree.

As we sit here in Spring, the power is in your hands to deliver body corporate utility savings this summer.

When owners take the step to buy a strata property, one of the more common questions next to body corporate fees is “how much are the utilities?”

Energy has always been an issue that concerns strata dwellers and this summer shapes up to be a doozy from a hip pocket perspective.

Summer is a time where Aussies spend a huge amount on electricity, with air-conditioning and fans putting in overtime to keep us cool – so what will happen to your body corporate utilities when 10% or 20% more residents are switching the electricity on?

Here are some tips from our strata managers to help stay energy smart this summer

1. Talk to your electricity provider - you don’t get what you don’t ask for!

The electricity market is no different to any other retail market. There are countless providers, all competing on price which puts the power in your hands to get an equitable deal. Some providers will give you up to a 10% discount for on time payments. Ultimately, if your provider isn’t flexible on these points, it may be time to shop around and start trimming your body corporate fees.

2. Invest in long term savings

Energy is a big deal in strata communities, with utilities making up between 10% – 30% of the running costs of an average strata building. So, the argument is there to invest in future savings now, by spending a little.

The most popular energy saving investment is undoubtedly efficient lighting. There are countless communities Ace provides management to, that have come out tens of thousands of dollars better off years down the track by switching to energy efficient lighting. Installing LED light bulbs, timers, push button lights, sensor lights and replacing outdated appliances to more energy efficient alternatives will be a great investment decision for your community.

Other investments to consider are double glazing windows or tinting windows to keep the home cooler and thereby using the air conditioner less and switching from 24/7 carpark ventilators to carbon monoxide monitoring devices. These devices will only switch the fans on when required.

3. Fix existing issues – there’s no point filling an empty bucket!

Any conversation about bringing down your body corporate utility costs must factor in maintenance. Just like filling up a leaky bucket, there’s no point overhauling energy practices in your community if it’s all going to be hamstrung by faulty equipment.

Communities can get ahead of the curve by ensuring that all energy using equipment is up to date in its maintenance schedule and ensuring things like air conditioner units are maintained regularly to ensure efficiency.

Likewise, check hot water pipes for leaks: assets that use water should be regularly monitored. Energy is wasted when water is pumped through the system only to be leaked out again.

4. Be willing to adapt – changes your habits for the better

All the investment in the world won’t fix inefficient habits. Our final tip is to get familiar with your own and your community’s on-peak and off-peak electricity times. When thousands of people on the same grid are using electricity at the same time, a different tariff is applied to the energy spent.

Peak time is generally between 4pm – 8pm, so as much energy that can be diverted outside of that window, the better your personal and community energy costs will be. It might be as simple as running a dishwasher overnight and other appliances after 8pm. Start the conversation as a community and institute some new behaviours.

Other behaviour changes like turning things off at the wall, washing in cold water, when running the air conditioner have it on 24 degrees, closing curtains and consider adjusting the air conditioning timer will all add up to savings this summer!

Seeking further advice?

If you wish to discuss any strata community matters further with an Ace Body Corporate manager, please do not hesitate to visit our contact page and locate your nearest Ace Strata Manager for a chat.

Please note the above information is not specific advice and should not be relied upon as such. The information presented is deliberately general in nature.

Ace Body Corporate Management
Disclaimer: This is not advice and should only be referred to for general information purposes. Strata management contracts often vary, so we recommend you contact your local Ace manager for more information, or seek expert legal advice. This article is not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.Ace Body Corporate Management offers this newsletter to clients to assist in updating them on company and industry news. The content within this newsletter is of a generic nature and may not be applicable to all owners corporations. Ace Body Corporate Management attempts to provide the most up-to-date and accurate information for our clients, however we strongly recommend that individuals and committees seek further advice before acting on any information in this newsletter.