By: TONY ALLSOP, Photography by: TONY ALLSOP

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Tony Allsop asks if caravanners who seemingly use a lot (or too much) electricity should have to pay more.


Recently we have been told by several park managers of their concerns about increasing electricity usage by RVers. We’ve even heard reports of portable meters being used to measure usage; one park owner told us caravanners use $8 a day in his park, while another told us it was over $7. This is more power than we use at home to run our whole house.

Part of the problem is the poor insulation in some caravans, evidenced by very cold floors in winter. This means much more power is required for heating and cooling. However, RVs nowadays come equipped with all manner of electrical appliances, from bigger air cons to washing machines. Bigger vans and slide-outs equal more lights and electrical gadgets, such as wine coolers, electric stove rings, water pumps, and many other things. In days gone by a van may just have had lights, a hand water pump, no air con and all gas stove. There were no microwaves or other electrical appliances.

When we’re at a park it is not uncommon to see air conditioners run continuously with windows (and sometimes doors) open, even when the occupants are sitting outside. Do they not know to shut all windows so they run efficiently, or are they just out to use as much electricity as possible, seeing they are paying for it? In this case the poor air con is working its heart out in a hot climate, cycling all the time, on and off. This does no one any good.

My point here is that some park owners are considering putting their prices up to cover extra electricity costs or installing meters on each site and charging separately for power. At least with meters, those who use excessive amounts of power would be the ones to pay. This would be especially true for those RVers who occasionally tend to go into parks for a night only and do all their washing using their own machine, charging their batteries while they’re at it.

We have noticed an increasing disparity in the cost of powered and un-powered sites in recent years due to increasing electricity prices. Perhaps the provision of more un-powered sites with running water to each site would suit a significant number of RVers and would avoid the need for increased site fees to cover power or meters.

In our case we do not require much power, as all our lights are flouro and run directly off the van battery, which is charged as we move between towns. Our TV is also 12v/240v, and we have a fully gas stove/grill plus a three-way fridge. Our radio/CD player also runs direct from our van battery. We have a foot water pump rather than an electric one, and the usual town water tap. It is handy, though, to be able to use the microwave, fridge and TV on 240v when on a powered site.

YOUR SAY: Do you use much power? Should travellers who use excessive power have to pay for their share? How do you feel about paying separately for power?