FOR a man who lives off the grid, Leon Burgher spends a lot of time focused on the cost of energy.
As a trained energy mentor, Mr Burgher volunteers at the South Gippsland Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) in Leongatha helping people to save on their energy bills.
He is the only regionally-based mentor trained by the Consumer Policy Research Centre in Melbourne working on a pilot project until December.
The project’s goal is to encourage people to get the best deal under new Victorian government rules for energy providers to provide transparency about their rates and supply to property charges through the Victorian default offer.
South Gippslanders can take their bill into the CAB where Mr Burgher will analyse it and help residents understand their options via the government’s energy compare website.
He explains the different portions of energy bills including tariffs, supply charges, off-peak rates and on-time payment savings so clients can understand which features offer them the greatest benefit.
He then makes recommendations on how consumers can make savings, from switching to a different retailer, negotiating with their current provider, or undertaking an energy audit to identify ways to use less power in their home.
Mr Burgher equips people to speak with energy retailers by explaining terminology and providing them with a written report.
He can also help them to claim the $50 Victorian government payment for using the energy compare website.
“Frankly, if you don’t try and get a better deal, even from your own retailer, you’re mad,” Mr Burgher said.
Mr Burgher is available via appointment at the South Gippsland CAB in the Leongatha Memorial Hall complex on Monday afternoons or for drop-in appointments on Wednesday afternoons.