Unique method for retirees to save money on energy bills

An Aussie retiree struggling with the rising cost of living has resorted to turning off the power, which he claims has saved him hundreds of dollars.

The penny-squeezing retiree may be living in darkness with his self-imposed blackouts, but Lofty, 74, from Newcastle said there is a method to his madness.

“You don’t have to pay for all the power that comes into the (meter) cabinet. It only goes from the box into the house, which you have to pay for,” said Lofty A current matter.

Lofty showed A Current Affair reporter Dimity Clancey how he saves money on his energy bill. (A current affair)

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“That’s what I cut off when I turn off all the switches.”

Every day, the 74-year-old turns off his electricity at 8 a.m.

He then “turns on the radio” which he said runs on batteries and costs him only “$1.25 each” and Lofty said he has a technique that makes them last a long time too.

Lofty shared his tips for saving money on energy bills. (A current affair)

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“What I do to save batteries…I put them in a plastic bag…but only two at a time and put it in the freezer,” he explained.

“It charges them, but you have to leave them there for seven days to do it.”

He said there are other ways he can get by with limited power, such as boiling the pitcher and then putting it in a thermos before turning off the power each morning.

Lofty entertains during the day with his battery-operated radio. (A current affair)

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“It’s (the thermos) has two cups and one on the top and you get three cups out of it,” he said.

He said he would be around until lunchtime.

At 11:30 am he turns on the power box outside for lunch and also turns on the light, stove and water so he can cook.

Retired Lofty keeps his batteries in the freezer. (A current affair)

But he only has it on for 25 minutes and at 11:55 am Lofty turns the electricity off again.

He turns it back on at 5pm for the night.

It’s been three months since he started his self-imposed blackouts and it’s paying off.

He said that before he turned off the power meter, his utility bill was $678, but after that, another bill only cost him $152.72.

(A current affair)

He now said he “has $522 credit”.

“If you want to save money, that’s the only way to do it. You can’t save on food or water or anything else, but you can save on that,” he said.

Lofty said he believes his method will save him $2026.73 a year, but like most retirees, he’s had a rough time.

“It’s hard enough living as it is, with the cost of everything going up…you just have to go shopping (to see), most of the shelves are empty,” Lofty said.

Lofty turns off his power on the meter. (A current affair)

“I have to change my eating habits… you can’t always live on canned food.

“I can only drive my car once every two weeks because the petrol is too expensive.”

Lofty said he is saving money and reducing his power consumption at a time when we are told there may not be enough to get by.

While Lofty has managed to make some savings with his strength, not everyone is convinced that his approach is the best.

Electrician Alex Murker. (A current affair)

“I honestly think it’s a bit bizarre to go to the meter box and turn everything off,” said electrician Alex Murker.

“I would worry about the fridge going off every day and things not staying cool.”

Murker urges everyone to use caution when dealing with electricity.

“Turning on or off a circuit breaker or a safety switch is safe, but it can be a little confusing because there’s quite a bit going on in the utility box,” he said.

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