When Gayle Kee started as a preschool teacher she never dreamed she’d end up running her own medium sized enterprise. Now, after 20 years, Gayle and her husband, Trevor, have five Long Day Care centres, 136 staff, educate and care for more than 670 children, and support 530 families across regional New South Wales — with no plans to slow down.
But as business has soared so too have their operating costs, leaving Gayle and Trevor of TG’s Child Care, to feel the pinch of rising energy prices.
“Energy is a really big part of our business, we have started seeing our energy bills double and continue to climb. We’ve been paying up to $6,000 per quarter and about $23,000 annually. We have to deal with different climates, Armidale in winter and Wauchope in summer, and we can’t just turn the air conditioner or heater off to save money.”
“This winter has been particularly hard because we’ve had such low temperatures on the tablelands — we’re talking -10℃ and -15℃ — that some of our air-conditioning systems aren’t designed for these subzero temperatures, so we’ve been advised to leave them running 24/7. It’s supposedly more efficient to keep the heating on consistently, and that’s a huge cost,” says Gayle.
Despite Gayle and Trevor making energy saving a priority in their business, by educating staff, taking energy bills into meetings, using LED lights, and installing solar panels, nothing has saved them money like using Australian Business's energy service.
The new provision helps members and non-members access affordable energy by comparing current energy providers; finding the best deal for each business, home, or circumstances, and walking users through the bills of their current provider for missed opportunities.
For Gayle and Trevor using the service has saved a minimum of $3,844 — a figure Gayle says is conservative and won’t go unnoticed.
“It was straightforward and talking to the Account Manager was fascinating. He pointed out a massive range of things like, we weren’t getting paid correctly for our feed-in solar tariffs, and he explained we got a 27 percent discount if we pay the bills on time. These are huge annual savings we can put back into the business as resources for the children and training opportunities for staff.”
"Running a day care centre in NSW is expensive. For example, in NSW we have to have three university qualified early childhood teachers on the premises — whereas other states only have to have one. That means, as a business, you need competitive pay and incentives to attract and retain educators, because many of them transfer into schools where they get ten weeks holidays and higher pays."
With such a huge annual saving Gayle and Trevor won’t be taking energy bills into meetings. Rather, they’ll spread the word and get everybody on-board. “I know other local businesses are having to cut back, everyone is saying the same thing, energy is prohibitively expensive…so I’ll be recommending it to everyone,” says Gayle.
This article originally appeared on NSW Business Chamber.