How does your energy use compare?

No one likes to admit they’re trying to keep up with the Jones’, but have you ever wondered how your electricity usage compares to the neighbours in your area? 

If you’re an inquisitive neighbour type, or maybe just a tad competitive, there is a way to find out (or at least get a good estimate) and it doesn’t involve sneakily reading their energy bills!

To start with, it’s essential to understand that many factors can influence how much electricity a home consumes and how much it costs.

Importantly, the size of the home, its location, how hot or cold it gets, if the household uses gas cooking and heating, and whether air-conditioning, big screen televisions or pools are used frequently, all play a part. Not to mention the size, age, time of use and efficiency of appliances are all factors that play a part in the amount of energy consumed in a home. 

When do we use our energy?

Australians use the most electricity between four and eight pm when most people are at home, cooking dinner, watching the television and using their heating or air-conditioning. This is when having adequate peaking electricity generation is critical.

Unsurprisingly, we consume the least amount of electricity during the night, because most people are asleep. This is when only a steady supply of baseload generation is necessary.

So, how do you compare?

A typical household’s annual electricity costs are between $1,500 and $2,500.This equates to between four and seven dollars per day. Your energy bill will have a breakdown of your daily usage on it so you can check how you compare to these averages.

For tips on how to read your bill and get the most out of it, we’ve got some tips here.

You can also see how you’re tracking with your electricity usage compared to similar households in your area by using this simple Energy Made Easy electricity calculator.

Some ways to get ahead

If you want to reduce your electricity consumption and lead the way in your neighbourhood, you could try these tips.

1

Closely manage your energy use. For example, the average household could save as much as five percent on its bill simply by turning off small appliances at the power point instead of leaving them connected or using standby power.2 It’s a simple switch for a substantial potential saving.

2

Find out whether you can choose time-of-use pricing. Savings could be made from shifting electricity use to low-demand and cheaper times of the day, such as running dishwashers, washing machines or clothes dryers during off-peak hours, depending on how and when you use your energy.

3

Not only can outdoor lights be annoying for your neighbours if they’re shining all night, they’re also adding to your energy bill. Get a sensor light instead, and make sure you install an LED globe or go for a solar option for maximum energy saving opportunities. 

4

If you’re the outdoors kind, set an example for your neighbourhood by avoiding things like electric powered leaf blowers and give the old fashioned rake a go instead. It will give you a good workout and help keep those energy costs under control at the same time. 

5

A smart meter could also help you with savings on your bill. They provide digital data of energy consumption and costs in near real-time, making it much easier for households to see how and when they consume energy.

References

  1. This is based on an assumption that consumers pay around 30 cents per kilowatt-hour. For an annual consumption of 5 megawatt-hours a year, this equates to $1,500 a year. For an annual consumption of 9 megawatt-hours a year, this equates to $2,700. However, note that as per the Australian Energy Market Commission report, Electricity price trends final report. Possible future retail electricity price movements: 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2015,(AEMC 2013):“The lack of a universally accepted method of calculating consumption levels across jurisdictions introduces inconsistencies in how the representative consumer is determined. These inconsistencies make price comparisons between different jurisdictions difficult.”
  2. Origin Energy, Energy efficiency tips

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