Getting ready for #DivestmentDay

Change is difficult for nearly everyone, I had been a customer of the Commonwealth Bank for over 18 years. It was comfortable – easy to just leave things as they were.


I almost got motivated last year when Market Forces had the first divestment day, but after a quick look I decided it was all too hard as I had far too many financial bits to move around. This year I made a decision I would divest from the various mainstream financial institutions that I was using and shift to ones that better align with my personal philosophy.

When I include my super, loans, shares and various other bits I’ve shifted about $500,000 from mainstream financial institutions to ones I’m more comfortable with; note it’s more – not completely comfortable, I may yet move my super again from UniSuper to Future Super.

This is a brief overview of the process I went through in case it helps anyone else divest from their existing financial institutions; it could be a bit overwhelming if you have not shifted your finances around before.

First figure out what you need from your new institutions

What do you need from a bank / or super fund? Me, I needed the following:

  • Transaction account
  • Account for my son to continue his education on money matters
  • Credit card  – with built in travel insurance
  • Share portfolio management capability
  • Need to take cash money out of an ATM in NZ without incurring instant interest
  • House loans; at a competitive rate
  • Socially Responsible super investment (not certain I’m there on this one yet)

I started with the excellent guides at Market Forces on switching banks and investigated the possible options that would work for my finances.

For us Bendigo Bank seemed the best fit and their board making a firm commitment to not funding the fossil fuel industry was what finally convinced me to choose them as my new bank. They met all my criteria, overseas cash works via having a debit MasterCard linked to my transaction account. My super is with UniSuper at present in Socially Responsible and Global Green investment options – that is a work in progress……

Changing banks…..

This is the long part. They don’t make it very easy, the government put “easy switching” in place but that only applies to direct debits from your account – not transactions on your credit card. Where you have a monthly bill for insurance, for example, that is charged directly to the credit card this you have to change yourself.

I’m fairly organised and could lay my hands on the last 12 months of statements to check what had been paid as direct debit, what was direct on the credit card, what was from scheduled BPay and what was set up as BPay direct.

First step

Open your all your new accounts at your low carbon bank of choice, easy bit done!

Second step

Get them to aid in submitting the change of direct debit – or find the change of account form on your suppliers website and submit it.

I had the interesting experience that one of my suppliers wanted a followup “real dead tree copy” of their own change of DD form after they had received the “govt” one, or “the payment may revert to the original account”. My advice here would be do it yourself once is likely to end up being simplest.

BPay is easy, copy all the details from one banks online site to the other (or re input as the bills come in).

BPay direct if you have it set up is harder – you must de-register the connection from your current bank before attempting to set it up with the new bank or it will be rejected and fail.

All those people who charge your credit card monthly for insurance (and stuff) and annually for website hosting etc depending on your finances. Google is your friend for finding their contact details – I found most of them very helpful, it’s effectively updating your credit card details which can occur due to fraud or lost cards, not just changing banks. It’s normal and they are used to it. Look for online options with your providers as well – my internet service provider for example lets you change the card online, as does World Vision and Get Up.

To help here’s a list of things I encountered that needed either accounts or credit card details changed:

  • Pay, talk to your work and change where it goes – I could do mine online myself, you may not be so lucky
  • Super payments – does your work sort that out or do you have to do something?
  • House, investment or personal loans – you may need to change default payment and redraw details
  • Insurance, car, house, boat, life, medical, pet, income protection etc
  • Do you have shares? where do the dividend payments go?
  • MediBank refunds, have you got your bank account registered? You can change this online through MyGov.
  • Do you have subscriptions paper, news, music services (Pandora, Rdio), foxtel…..
  • Online shopping iTunes, Amazon, and PayPal
  • Internet services ISP, web hosting, image hosting, gaming accounts
  • Do you donate to charity and do they bill your credit card? Mine do.
  • Do you have investment property and pay land tax, rates, collect rent?
  • Are you living in a city with toll roads and do you have an account?
  • Look through your statement for the last 12 months and see what goes out regularly you may find stuff you can stop that you’d forgotten you pay for 😀

If you are moving shares as I did they all seem to have a nice form that allows you to move your CHESS sponsored shares from one provider to another in a single transaction. I took the opportunity to shift some issuer sponsored shares to CHESS as well to tidy things up while I was at it.

Third Step

Don’t close your old accounts yet, I waited over a month and left some money in the old account “just in case”; proved wise as that is when I found that the government form isn’t perfect and it can be better to do the change yourself. I also had a glitch with one insurance company where 2 out of the 3 payments changed but their system had a “moment” and left one pointing at the old credit card.

Fourth step

Close your accounts and make sure the bank you depart from and the one you arrive at know why – be public about it! Good form letters here at Market Forces.

My customised one to CBA here.

In conclusion

I was very public about my closing of accounts in Brisbane today, it felt empowering to know that I’ve made a small difference by changing how I direct my money.

It’s all about the money really for those of us in Australia. When there is complete policy and action failure by all levels of government there is very little else we have left to use as a lever to move our society in the direction of a low carbon future.

I know I’d like to leave the world in a fit state for my son and future generations so I’m trying to do my small bit to assist.

Hope some of you out there find this useful.

Regards Brian




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Demand Side Energy Management – My Swimming Pool’s Journey

Up front: savings in energy likely to be over 1 kW; was 1.7 kW to run the 2 x pumps, now likely to be 530 W and possibly as low as 365 W for both.


Let me explain what I’ve worked through and how I’ve done it – all off the shelf but you obviously need to look at your own setup and do your own calculations.

Anyone that owns a pool knows that it is high on the list after the air conditioner in eating energy; I also happen to have 3kW of solar on the roof and it dawned on me a while back that when the pool filter and heating pump’s are running during daylight hours I’m not exporting power at all and only reducing my consumption.

So here is my pool plumbing basic diagram, I’ve left off controllers and non return valves in the interests of simplicity

.Pool Schematic


When normally filtering one pump is running and when there is sufficient heat and the pool needs heating the solar controller kicks in and circulates the the water through the collector on the roof.

I got out the trusty power meter and measured the 2 pumps before the change to see what difference it would make


So you can see from above that the main pump was drawing 875 W and the boost pump 821 W, I plugged them both in and got confirmation of about 1700 Watts to be filtering and heating my pool.

So what did I do? I’ve been fine tuning the system for a while and have recently updated to the Viron eQulibrium salt water chlorinator. It was time to go the whole way and add the chlorine sensor and the P320 pump to let it run in full auto mode and manage my pool for me.

I’ve also had a bee in my bonnet about the solar boost pump, the flow to the roof was managed in classic HVAC style, oversize the pump and then throttle the flow to what was needed. This meant that the pump consumes full power to give less than full flow – my engineering brain was somewhat offended by this.

My research turned up a couple of options, the one I’ve used is an Invertek Pool Pump Energy saver based on their E2 range, you may need to hunt around to find one. Mine came from Ideal Electrical; the other option I turned up was from Future Wave Energy which does pretty much the same thing.

I wanted to fiddle with mine, and possibly in the future add sensors so I went the Invertek as it has that capability.

So I changed the CX240 for the P320 and put the Invertek drive between my solar controller and the pump and lit everything up.


The way the system works is the eQulibrium controller on the right is in charge, it starts the main pump at high speed for purge and after a couple of minutes drops it back to medium (driving the kreepy krauly), once it has turned over the pool 1.5 times it drops to low and samples the water with the pH and chlorine sensors and will wind up to medium and add acid and make chlorine if required.

The solar controller in the middle measures the pool and roof temp and decides if we need heat, it then fires up the invertek which runs the existing CX180 drive at the correct speed for the solar heating – thanks to the guys at the suppliers of my solar system who were happy to tell me how to tune the flow needed.

So the numbers – first the P320 in High, Med, and Low at the settings I need for my pool:


Now the boost will be working alongside the Medium or Low speeds so here are those. First the medium set up,  yes I edited on the Hz to the drive image, but we have medium P320 and Boost at 32 Hz is 1.9 A giving 536 Watts total compared to 1700 watts original for filter and boost.

If you look back up the top you will see the usual filter only was over 800 Watts so the solar boost is more than free 😀


and the low speed numbers giving 365 W once the pool has turned over 1.5 times but still needs heating.


We wouldn’t be complete without a comparison table so here goes:


So, it’s been a bit of a journey, hopefully the above is of use to some of you out there in helping to minimise the energy demand of your swimming pool.

Once you start understanding the most efficient way to run the pump is adjusting the pump and not the water it’s amazing what you can do for your energy efficiency!