Friday, August 10, 2012

Watch out for energy retailers offering large discounts

A friend approached me the other day promoting electricity from their network marketing group. They offered 3% discount plus another 12% for paying on time. A total of 15%. Sounds pretty good. I’d just noticed an offer for 14% discount from an energy retailer. Even my current energy retailer when I called is now prepared to offer 12% off electricity and 10% off gas, but only if I sign up on a long term contract. All seemingly great discounts.

The bottom line however is you can offer a great discount if your energy charges and service to property charge are higher to start with. What you need to do is to compare what you are actually paying against each offer and keep in mind many of the offers will be better than you are currently paying. Most people by habit don’t negotiate better rates with their current provider so almost any offer will be better than what they are currently paying.

The big charge often missed for many is the daily charge to the property. This can easily be $200-$400 a year and can be reduced by up to a third by shopping around. So make sure you compare your electricity usage plus the charge to your property.

For the daily charge to the property just check your current bill and multiply by 365 for the days in a year. Make sure you include GST. Then for your usage you need to check out if you are paying one rate or two. I use the Energy Cost Calculator to quickly determine the cost over a year. My usage this latest bill was around 7.5kWh per day. So in the calculator I’d enter 7,500 for the watts, enter the rate in cents including GST and 1 for the number of hours. The 7,500 is because 7.5kW the kW is kilowatt and thus we need to multiple be 1,000 to get the number of watts. The one is because it is 7.5kWh per day. We could devide 7500 by 24 to get the  figure for one hour and then enter that number and 24 hours for the time, but it is easier to just assume all the energy was used in one hour for the day. This simplifies the calculation. The Energy Cost Calculator will then show you your daily cost and a yearly figure.

If the energy retailer is offering a discount then discount their rate and use that rate in the Energy Cost Calculator. Also note that some retailers offer the discount only on usage and not on the service fee to the property.

Repeat this process for each energy retailer and then compare the total amounts you’d pay against your actual bill.

I did this same exercise recently and will soon change from Red Energy to a different provider. The saving will be around $175 a year. Our usage is quite low compared to many so for others the saving would be much greater. I haven’t changed yet, but when I compared the offer I found to the offer from my friend’s network marketing group, if I used his group I’d be about $80 worse off. (He does know about the retailer I found.) Be careful of those selling energy services and also friends promoting network marketing schemes. Energy retailers just want your business. Sadly friends in network marketing groups seem to just want their commission (or to sign you up) and if they do know of a better deal, will often neglect to mention it. Make sure you do the calculation yourself.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 if you require computer support.
Providing support in Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

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Kelvin Eldridge
www.MyAnswers.biz
(An Online Connections service.)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

United Energy replacing power lines in Templestowe from homes to the pole




On Monday morning around 7:50am there was a knock on the door. I was informed the power line from the pole to the house would be replaced starting within the next half hour.

I'd already received a notification in the mail about the work.

As a precaution I made sure equipment was turned off. I turn most equipment off with a foot switch so there was little I needed to do.

Make sure you turn off your equipment at the switch and not just using the on/off button on the device. When the line is reconnected there is always a possibility of a surge which could damage a device such as a computer, fax machine or other electronic device.

Last week I picked up a computer which is believed to have been damaged as a result of when the power was reconnected and is now in for repair.

A moment turning off devices could save unwanted inconvenience.


Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 if you require help with your computer.
No problem too small.

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Kelvin Eldridge
www.MyAnswers.biz
(An Online Connections service.)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Chrome Firefox market share on Windows

Based on my site log, Chrome has now overtaken Firefox to be the second most popular browser for Windows users in Australia.

This isn't a bad effort for a browser launched as a beta in September 2008.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 if you require help with your computer.
No problem too small.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Apple iOS6 to work with iPhone 3GS

With iOS6 just around the corner (expected to be launched in September/October timeframe) those with an iPhone 3GS start to wonder if their mobile device will support the new operating system.

The good news is yes, iOS6 will work on the iPhone 3GS. We can expect there will be some features which either don’t work on the iPhone 3GS because of the hardware (e.g. Facetime) and sometimes because of what I suspect are marketing decisions designed to encourage people to purchase a new iPhone. For example when the iPhone 4 came out, Find My iPhone wasn’t directly supported on the iPhone 3GS. Now it is.

Overall this is good news for iPhone 3GS users.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for computer support
Areas: Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and surrounding suburbs.

Microsoft Office 2013 lucky for some, but unlucky for many

Microsoft Office 2013 is just around the corner, but this time it comes with a bit of surprise for many.

First if you have Windows XP you won’t be able to install Office 2013. If what I’ve read is correct and you have Windows Vista, you won’t be able to install Office 2013 either. That’s over 50% of Microsoft’s current users.

If you do run an older computer and want to install Office 2013, you’ll need to fork out for an upgrade of the operating system to Windows 8. If you wait until after January 31st 2013 you’ll end up paying full price for the upgrade. Consider upgrading between October 26th and January 31st, or at least purchasing the upgrade during this time for later installation.

But wait, there’s a catch

If your Windows XP computer was built before 2005 there’s a good chance your Pentium 4 computer won’t be able to install Windows 8. By my estimates that will be a problem for perhaps up to 70-100 million Windows XP users.

Microsoft won’t win any friends by neglecting its current users, but of course the retailers will love the sales it generates. I suspect we’ll see a considerable number of disenchanted Microsoft users reconsidering their loyalty and a spike in sales of Apple computers. Microsoft will only have themselves to blame.

 

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 if you require computer support and live

In Doncaster, Templestowe, Eltham or the surrounding area.