NEWSLETTER    ISSUE 5   SEPTEMBER 2011

Our  series  on  saving  money  via  your  electricity  bill  ends  with  this  note  about  changing  your  meter to  benefit  from  off-peak  rates.  You  can  save  up  to  24c  per  kilowatt  in  your  home  but  you  will  need  a PowerSmart meter.   The Energy  Australia website advises as follows:

Up  until  now,  the  price  you  have  paid  for  electricity  has  been  the  same  throughout  the  day,  except  for some  limited  controlled  load  off-peak  rates.  Your  current  pricing  can  be  replaced  by  ‘time  of  use’  pricing called PowerSmart which is broken up into peak, shoulder and off-peak time bands.

PowerSmart  helps  you  to  save  money  by  moving  some  of  your  energy  consumption  away  from  the expensive peak periods to the less expensive shoulder and off-peak periods. Your electricity consumption will  be  recorded  over  half-hour  intervals,  24  hours  a  day  and  stored  in  the  meter,  recording  the  amount of electricity that is used and the time of day it is used.

So  arrange  for  a  Powersmart  meter  to  be  installed  at  your  home  to  achieve  the  above  savings.    By changing  the  meter  and  in  some  cases,  the  timer  in  common  areas,  you  can  realise  savings  on  your levies  too  -  in  relation  to  running  pumps  (for  hot  water,  pools  and  in  the  garage  pits  etc),  garage ventilation systems, pool filters and pool cleaners.

Executive  Committees  interested  in  the  services  of  a  consultant  to  provide  a  one–off  audit  report on  reducing  energy  costs  can  email  us  at  reception@prostrata.com.au  to  request  a  proposal  for  the committee’s consideration.

Firms we can obtain proposals for consideration from are:

Sustainability Now  – Ethan Burns ethan@sustainabilitynow.com.au 0411 345 986

Energy  Action  – Stephen McCulloch - stephenmcculloch@energyaction.com.au - 0403 221 959

Breaches of bylaws 

These  are  a  very  common  complaint  to  strata  managers.    We  estimate  that  more  than  50%  of  schemes experience  at  least  one  breach  per  year.    These  generally  relate  to  parking  on  common  property  (e.g. visitors  parking  by  residents),  the  keeping  of  pets  without  approval,  noise,  and  the  disposal  of  rubbish and recycling

In  an  ideal  world  a  quiet  chat  between  neighbours  would  reconcile  any  issues,  and  indeed,  this  is certainly  a  good  place  to  start.    Should  a  discussion  not  solve  things  then  the  Executive  Committee  can decide to become involved.   The exception however is noise.

If  a  knock  at  the  door  at  the  time  of  the  noise  and  a  polite  request  for  things  to  be  toned  down  does  not result  in  a  solution,  then  the  police  should  be  called  there  and  then.    There  is  nothing  to  be  gained  in suffering  through  excessive  noise  for  hours,  at  any  time  of  the  day  or  night,  because  your  neighbour  has no  regard  for  your  right  to  the  quiet  enjoyment  of  your  lot.    If  the  police  are  ineffective  at  the  time  of  the event, then a letter from us or the real estate agent a day or two later won’t prevent a reoccurrence.

Individuals,  whether  owners  or  tenants,  can  apply  to  the  Office  of  Fair  Trading  (OFT)  to  intervene  if  the  Police  are  ineffective  on  more  than  one  occassion.  All  complaints  lodged  with  the  OFT  start  with mediation  -  where  you  and  the  other  party  will  meet  with  a  trained  OFT  officer  –  and  in  the  vast  majority of  cases  this  achieves  the  desired  outcome.    If  you  are  not  able  to  achieve  a  mediated  outcome  then you  will  be  advised  on  applying  for  an  Order  by  an  Adjudicator.  However  mediation  is  the  first  step  in all cases.

So,  remember:  you  have  the  power  under  the  Strata  Schemes  Management  Act  1996  (NSW)  to  effect change if problems for you are not resolved by conversation.

Welcome Emily Goodreid 

Emily  joined  us  during  August  as  a  senior  strata  manager  to  look  after  a  portfolio  of  buildings.  She  has over  7  years  of  experience,  and  until  recently,  was  responsible  for  blocks  of  over  100  units.    She  is familiar  with  the  processes  for  defects  rectification,  major  repairs  and  renovations  to  common  property, and the  Strata Schemes Management  Act 1996  (NSW).