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How much electricity does the average Australian household use?

How much electricity a home uses is a simple question, but a complicated answer. Variances in occupants, activities, usage and geographical region can have significant impacts on usage and can make it hard to pin down an across the board average.

Luckily, we have some very thorough reports detailing what electrical usage in each state in Australia looks like. This information comes from a report conducted by ACIL Allen at the commission of the AER (Australian Energy Regulator). The report surveyed customers about their usage and obtained energy consumption data directly from ‘electricity and gas distribution network service providers’ for those customers to match and compare the data.

State by state, the average power consumption* is around:
QLD – 4,500
NSW – 5,000
ACT – 6,000
VIC – 5,000
TAS – 8,000
SA – 4,500
NT – 14,000**
National average = 5,500 kWh/annum***

* (All figures are kWh/annum)
** (Northern Territory had a smaller sample size with more high power users than other states, contributing to a much higher than normal average.)
***(This average excludes NT due to their skewed average. The nation average including NT is 6,500 kWh/annum).

So, what’s the average power consumption of your home?

Before we can find an accurate average for the electrical usage of your home in particular, we’re going to need to define some concepts.

Average or peak?

The average power of your household is often confusing to define because of regular periods of low power use and high power use.

As an analogy, think of your body. You might sleep all night before waking up and spending the day doing chores, getting work done, exercising, talking to people, and so on before going to sleep again. During this day, you’re regularly eating and drinking to fill your body with energy to complete all these activities, even though one activity won’t require the same amount of energy as another. Your body won’t need to spend as much energy lying in bed sleeping as when you go for a run, just as driving to work won’t burn as much fuel as crunch time on that work project. Your body naturally has periods of both high and low energy consumption, and your house hold is no different.

When you go off to work and leave the house empty with no lights or applications running, it probably isn’t going to need much power. Sure, you may have a few appliances on standby, but that blinking light on the front of the telly isn’t going to blow out the power bill.

Now consider when you come home after a long day. There might be lights, air conditioners, televisions, speakers, microwaves, phone chargers, and computers all functioning at the same time and all needing electricity to function.

These up and down periods can result in vastly different averages depending on when you monitor and record your power usage. Because of this, it is important to use a long period of time to gather the data for your average power usage, and not just look at the meter briefly.

Because of this, power bills offer fantastic data to record your average power usage.

Find your latest power bill and look for the figure stating something like “Kilowatt Hours/ kWh Used” and look at the time period. Your bill will usually show the daily average but may show monthly average instead. If your bill shows daily average, simply multiply that number by 30 to get your monthly average. After that, multiply your monthly average by 12 to discover where your household sits in relation to the state and national averages.

If you want to know your hourly average so you have more moment-by-moment specifics for the power you’re using, that’s easy too. Simply take your daily average (or your monthly average divided by 30) and divide that figure again by 24.

Knowing this information can help you make informed decisions about your power usage and what electricity providers you should be with. But that’s not all the information available to you. Compare and Connect offers a comparison tool that allows you to see side-by-side comparisons of the electricity deals offered by a wide range of service providers. If you want to know more about your power bill and all the options available for you to save money, try Compare and Connect. 

Keith Brouder 19 Nov 2019