This is a sponsored post for Origin Energy
When I first moved to Melbourne, nine people out of every 10 said to me “but what about the cold?”. I admit, it isn’t something I’ve had to worry about for the last 20 years living in Queensland. I’m pretty sure we didn’t even get the heater out last winter, let alone turn it on. So suddenly the cost of heating a house for hours on end day after day, month after month made us a little terrified of our electricity bill.
And then we realised our heating isn’t even run by electricity. It’s gas.
So now we’re terrified of the gas bill.
But I didn’t want to feel guilty every time I put the heating on, so I looked for ways to cut back our electricity consumption elsewhere, which also has the bonus of being good for the environment, or something. Brownie points to me.
When I went to a lunch put on by Origin Energy in a round-table discussion with some bloggers recently, I just about mauled their efficiency expert for information. She also set Twitter ablaze with her number-one hit of the day:
1. Using the dishwasher once a day is more energy-efficient than washing up by hand three times a day.
“Who washes up three times a day?!”I hear you ask. Well, only some of you, plenty of the rest of you know EXACTLY WHO WASHES UP THREE TIMES A DAY BECAUSE NO-ONE ELSE WILL BLOODY DO IT.
I am a triple washer-upper-er because I moved to an old house with no dishwasher and no place to put one. To be fair though, sometimes I just can’t be arsed and it gets done once a day, to hell with the mess. I was being energy efficient and I didn’t even know it. I’m pretty sure this also applies to the clothes I forget to wash.
2. 200 years ago, our main energy source was wood.
Can you imagine? I mean, I can, because what else would there have been? And the population was much smaller then. But there’s no way that would have been sustainable, because trees grow suuuuper-slowly. Now we burn coal. And that’s not particularly sustainable either, because burning coal is bad for the environment thanks to its emissions into the atmosphere causing the greenhouse effect. But it’s a step up from wood! So where to from here?
3. Almost 11% of Australia’s energy comes from renewable sources
The Clean Energy Council says That’s enough to power 5 million homes. I bet the Early Settlers didn’t see that coming. We’re a hot and dry country, and it seems like more and more people are using that to their electricity advantage. It’s been so long since I had to even think about where my electricity was coming from (it was included in the rent in the last three houses I’ve lived in) that I didn’t even know you could choose part or even all of your electricity to be powered by green energy. From a buck a week! Sign me up.
4. Origin Energy are getting with the program and making some changes.
At the lunch, we heard from plenty of passionate people who realised that the way Origin had been doing things was pretty consumer un-friendly. While they were getting the renewables thing right (it’s one of Australia’s largest investors in renewable energy, and are the number-one green energy provider), they were getting communication so, so wrong. They even played us an angry voicemail from a poor old chap who’d been with them 50 years and had finally had enough. Realising their method of dealing with their consumers was outdated, confusing, and boring, they decided to change. And they did not hold back when they told us where they’d gone wrong and how much workthey’d put in to getting it right. It was fascinating.
We took a trip around the office and, while having violent flashbacks to my call centre workdays (selling car insurance isn’t something I’d rush back to, I can tell you right now), I was pretty impressed with the level of effort to which they’d gone to remind everyone: customer first. It was everywhere. On the walls, on the intranet, on the TV screens, in the lunchroom (it wasn’t in the fridge though, I checked. Lots of pickles however, so thumbs up from me).
They’ve changed the mailouts. Don’t want snail mail? No problem, they’ll email you. Hate sitting on hold and/or talking on the phone? Well, they’ll chat with you on Facebook.
They’ve extended their call centre hours because 9-5 is pretty 1995.
They’ve abolished cold-call door-knocking because that straight up sucks.
Welcome to 2014, Origin Energy! Good to have you here.
5. Coriander is divisive, yo.
Ok so this tip maybe not about energy, but it’s probably best to be aware that people are violently pro or anti the frilly green herb, and ain’t afraid to tell you! Especially if you’re the sensitive type, and you’ve just served it up to a hater. From the minute we started lunch, coriander war had begun. A couple of fierce avoiders, a few fanatics faced off. People are still commenting on my Instagram post that they either love it or hate it and this lunch was last week – it divides people, no question. But that’s ok, I’ll eat your portion.
There now, class is over for today. Any questions? What do you wish your energy provider would change? Are you a renewables buyer? Are you anti-dishwasher? Hate coriander? Tell me everything!
You can even chat in person with the Origin Energy Customer Service Hubs in Victoria and NSW. They can give you tips on your bill, accessing their online services, flexible payment options, energy saving tips – whatever you like.