COSTBUSTERS: This power bill is half the average household's
WHEN it comes to cutting costs on utility bills, Coolum Beach's Michael "Fred" Stokes is going to be hard to beat.
Fred manages to keep the family of four's electricity bill around the $200 mark each quarter and his latest water bill was $232.
The Queensland Competition Authority estimated the average family of two adults and two children's electricity bill would be $556 a quarter ($2225,05 a year) in 2014/15.
Fred manages to achieve the near impossible without major sacrifices to the family's lifestyle.
After all, he is living with his partner, Paula Savage and their two teenage children and electronic gadgets that require constant powering up.
"Our last (electricity) bill was $200, but this included a $15 late fee," he said.
"We also get a $30 pension discount."
Fred noticed the family's electricity bill was starting to climb and set about reversing the rise.
"I got rid of the second fridge and we began turning off everything at the wall," he said.
"We recently got rid of the gas cook top and put in an induction cook top and this hasn't had an impact on the bill.
"We live in an old Queenslander, which means in summer we get good breezes and don't use the fans often.
"In winter we have a wood fire stove and never run heaters."
Fred has a solar panel on the roof to run his hot water - but that's it.
"I have no other panels on the roof and we use the toaster and the kettle all the time.
"Our old Queenslander only has 15 lights and I have fitted energy saving light globes.
"We've got three (Apple) Macs, and I've got an old dinosaur of a computer. We've all got phones and charge them."
An above-ground pool and top loader washing machine was also adding to the bill.
"It got rid of the pool and replaced the top loader with a front loader. We also used to have a plasma TV, now we have an LCD TV."
Fred's water bill is also significantly less than most families at $232 a quarter and none of his children have to share a shower.
He also doesn't have any water tanks.
"We do shower at the surf club a lot in summer, but we don't wash cars and we do a load of washing every second day.
"We don't' water the garden at all.
"The major cost is for fixed access, its not user pays anymore which is criminal."
Fred admits when it comes to utilities, he is a "cheapskate" and "proud of it".
Can anyone beat Fred's cost busting bills?
How Fred cut his bills:
- Toss the second fridge
- Dump the backyard swimming pool
- Replace all bulbs in house with energy efficient bulbs
- Switch the big plasma TV for LCD
- Replace the top loader with a front loader
- Swim at the beach and avoid washing the car