Australian Home Electricity Information
'I switched to a Time Of Use tariff, as I was told my costs would be less. I just got the electricity bill. It was $200 more, with higher service fees and costs!'
Time Of Use Tariff Can Increase Costs : A growing number of Aussie householders are NOT BEING MADE AWARE of how to judge, if a 'time of use' tariff is suitable for their existing electricity usage pattern. Some clients have no idea at what time of the day the costs per kWh change. Interestingly you would have thought this should be on the electricity bill, though we have not seen it stated yet!
Monitor Your Time Of Use To Save : One accurate solution is to install an electricity monitor with a tariff comparison program, based on your home's current usage HERE. This will show you wheter you are better off on a flat rate tariff
Educated Changes : Further information is needed Australia wide, by householders on how to make the best educated choice. Nobody wants the above to happen, especially when the time of use tariff was initially marketed to help save costs. It pays to check all information on offer from any electricity retailer.
Detailed Information To Help You : This page is all about offering you as much information on Aussie home electricity. To help you understand electricity usage, costs and billing.
More information on Smart Metering, Reading Electricity Meters and Disputed Electricity Bills can be found on our HOME ELECTRICITY REDUCTION BLOG. Use our SEARCH ENGINE for specific information.
NEED HELP? Visit SERVICES for an in-home visit or POWER AUDIT for a telephone consultation.
See also these blog posts, as a starting point for a better understanding.
Residential Electricity Supply Information
What Are Volts? : Electricity is supplied to the majority of Australian homes at a voltage of 240 volts, which can vary at times due to network loading or geographical location.
What Are Watts? : Electricity is charged at a usage rate of 1000 watts per hour, known as 1 kilo watt per hour and abbreviated as 1 kWh on the electricity bill. Watts are often termed as the 'power' an appliance uses.
The watt rating being stated on most Australian appliances in the home. On a front loading washing machine for example, you may see 2200W. This would be the maximum power used, especially where the machine heats it's own water. See the illustration.
Cost Per Unit : A typical electricity provider's charge for 1 kWh of electricity, is anywhere from 25 cents to 55 cents [July 2017].
Averaged Daily Usage : In Australia a typical average household has electricity use [when averaged] from approximately 18 kWh to 25 kWh per day. This value does not include air conditioners and pools.
Aussie Home Electricity Tariffs
Tariff Types : Electricity can be billed with a few different / or mix of tariffs :
Know Your Tariff To Save : It is important to know the type of tariff you are being billed by. Otherwise you run the risk of higher costs.
How Much Power Are You Using And When? : If you are offered a different tariff you would need to know this. Without this knowledge you may find by switching tariffs you actually increase your electricity bill. For example a TOU tariff may increase your total electricity bill, when your home uses a lot of energy between 14.00 and 20.00, as electricity at this time is often charged at a premium price. For example 55 cents per kWh, compared to a lesser charge of 30 or 22 cents.
Switching Electricity Supplier : If you have switched electricity provider, you may not find the same offer on the table when attempting to switch back to your previous provider, as you are now treated as a new customer. Watch out for early termination fees from the new contract you have just terminated!
Solar Power Installations : A particular electricity retailer may want to connect you to a Time Of Use tariff. If do not wish to be on this tariff, speak to another retailer.
Residential On-Peak / Off-Peak Tariff
Different Prices For Power : Electricity can be priced at different levels, based on the demand for electricity at particular times of the day. On-Peak for high demand time, Off-Peak for less demand times.
Off-Peak Power : Electricity is cheaper at night, when there is less demand. Often connected to this cheaper electricity is the hot water system, or a booster element for a Solar Hot Water system.
What Else Can You Connect To Off-Peak? : Any suitable appliance has to be hard wired, directly to the off-peak meter. Suitable appliances being a pool pump and heating appliances.
Off-Peak Can Save You : When the pool pump is connected to peak power, it may be costing $180 per bill. This can now be reduced by 50% or more by connecting it to the off-peak! Note the pool pump would only come on during the off-peak periods. A further option, is to have it wired so you have the ability to use it during on-peak times, when needed. Talk to your electricity supplier about your off-peak options and your electrician about the wiring.
Meters : Homes connected to on-peak / off-peak tariffs, will have either two mechanical looking meters in the electricity power box, with one meter for each tariff. Or an electronic meter measuring both tariffs.
Savings With This Tariff : With the on / off peak tariff, you do not have many options to reduce electricity costs, other than by adding appliances to the off-peak or reducing on-peak electricity usage. It is this reduction in electricity usage, where householders make the most savings.
Example of Essential Energy's explanation of controlled loads.
Residential Controlled Load 1: To all residential and business premises where the premise has another primary metering point present at the same metering point as the secondary load. This secondary load being remotely controlled / switched on / off. Applicable to loads such as water heating, swimming pools, heat pumps etc. Loads must be permanently connected or on a dedicated power circuit with indicators to show when supply is available. Supply will be made available for 5 to 9 hours overnight on weekdays and extra hours on weekends except where the load is controlled by a time clock. Note: This tariff is not at available for the top boost element of a two element water heater for new connections.
Residential Controlled Load 2: To all residential and business premises where the premise has another primary metering point present at the same metering point as the secondary load. This secondary load being remotely controlled / switched on / off. Applicable to loads such as water heating, swimming pool operation, heat pumps etc. Loads must be permanently connected or on a dedicated power circuit with indicators to show when supply is available. Supply will be made available for 10 to 18 hours per day on weekdays and ALL HOURS on weekends except where the load is controlled by a time clock.
Approximate charges [cents per kWh] for these tariffs being:
Residential Peak : 30.21 cents with Daily Supply Charge : 124.00
Residential Off-Peak Load 1 : 10.00 cents with Daily Supply Charge : 13.00
Residential Off-Peak Load 2 : 16.00 cents with Daily Supply Charge : 13.00
What Is A Controlled Load? : This is a term for your off-peak I or II on your electricity bill. You will see two meter readings on your bill. First reading on-peak power, the second the off-peak power.
Residential Time of Use (TOU) Tariff
How To Know If Your On This Tariff : On your electricity bill you will see peak, shoulder and off-peak. TOU is the only tariff with shoulder. If you have lost the bill, the meter in the meter box will normally have a TOU sticker on it. Otherwise call the electricity retailer.
Extra Service Fees Installation Costs : If you're switching to a TOU meter, there may be an additional usage charges from your electricity provider. Where a new TOU meter is installed, you may have to pay the installation fee.
You may have to switch to TOU when you're considering a Solar Power installation. Firstly we would say talk to another supplier. See our GUIDES page for more information on this.
How Is The TOU Off-Peak Different? : Compared with the older on-peak / off-peak tariffs, with TOU your WHOLE household's electricity use, is charged at these different tariffs. All costs dependent on the time of day you use the electricity. If you manage this tariff well by using less peak and more shoulder and off-peak it can save you.
Understand This Tariff Well : To control your spend you need to understand the tariff inside and out. You will need to know three things :
What the different rates are ie peak, shoulder, off-peak
At what times are they are in effect
How much electricity are you using at any particular time
What Is Shoulder? : The TOU tariff has an extra time period, known as 'shoulder' . This is simply the time of day, either side of the on-peak time. It may or may not be charged at a different rate to the on-peak, depending on the area you live in. Country NSW and City areas have two different TOU plans.
Example TOU Tariff : 
- Residential Peak : 7:00 - 9:00 | 17:00 - 20:00 Weekdays : 31.07 cents per kWh.
- Residential Shoulder : 9:00 - 17:00 | 20:00 - 22:00 Weekdays : 31.07 cents per kWh.
- Residential Off-Peak : 22:00 - 7:00 Weekdays | Weekends : 15.55 cents per kWh
- Daily supply charge : 139.22 cents per day
Get our FREE TOU EXPLANATION one page summary from our GUIDES page. Easily printable making it a great fridge door note to keep you on track, in understanding your electricity costs!
Other Ways To Save : Knowing the electricity rates you are charged for at different times of the day is one thing. For better home electricity reduction to occur, you will need to find out how much electricity your appliances are using at any particular time of the day.
And this is where our SERVICES and PRODUCTS can assist you with starting your HOME ELECTRICITY REDUCTION PROGRAM.
Our ELECTRICITY MONITORING SOLUTION will easily track your electricity usage per circuit or appliance and supply costings. Importantly showing you the percentage of peak, shoulder and off-peak you are using.
Your TOU Easily Analysed : Check out our METER AND BILL ANALYSIS service.
TOU With Off-Peak For Hot Water : As all Australian States and electricity providers have their own differences, it is possible to see TOU metering, with the option of off-peak connections to various appliances, such as your hot water.
TOU Advantages Disadvantages : For some households TOU can reduce the bill, for others raise it. It really depends on when you use electricity and how much you use!
A household with a lot of power hungry appliances operating after 22:00 but before 7.00 during the week and during the day all weekend, may find there are considerable savings to be made. As long as the TOU tariff rate for the high demand times [peak] is not to great an increase in cost
For the household with no idea of electricity billing, with a high electricity usage in the peak times of the day, the electricity bill can be raised dramatically by a TOU tariff!
Young families and the elderly are not generally favoured from a TOU tariff as they can use excessive peak and little off-peak
When electricity supply metering are an issue, contact your electricity provider or STATE ELECTRICITY OMBUDSMAN.
Quantity Based Tariff
Quantity Block Tiered : All three terms mean the same. This tariff can be increasing or decreasing. An increasing quantity based tariff is shown :
This tariff is designed to offer the homeowner an incentive to conserve energy. Beware the tier levels can change without notification from your electricity retailer and this often catches people out.
See this report A HIDDEN REASON YOUR ELECTRICITY BILL RISES
Understanding The Aussie Home Electricity Bill
Rising Electricity Costs A Concern For All : We always discuss electricity bills with our clients, whether we are doing an IN-HOME ELECTRICITY AUDIT or TELEPHONE CONSULTATION, so as to educate them on how too understand the charges and the bill's layout.
Aussie Home Energy is very concerned the average householder in Australia, does not fully understand electricity charges and the electricity bill. And electricity retailers are not always forthcoming with true answers!
To fully Understand Your Electricity Bill visit our ELECTRICITY BILLING page.
BILL PAYERS OFTEN LEARN NOTHING TO SAVE ELECTRICITY!
Common Reasons For A Lack Of Understanding
- It has never been explained
- It is too complex to understand even when attempted
- There is NO NEED to understand it from the householder's point of view, where costs in the past have not increased for years!
- The householder is to busy!
- Since there is often a Pay On Time discount the best has been done!
- There is NO NEED to understand it as the householder is falsely led into a belief they can do no more! They already have the best electricity discount possible! RUBBISH!
Complex Billing Really Does Suck! : Where we say complex, we mean it is not written for the average Aussie householder to clearly understand. So the end user has no clue! In a lot of cases we would question whether the electricity retailers call centre contacts can even understand the bill!
We live in a world of automated electricity billing, where there is little human intervention.
The following electricity bill details a list of charges, that we reckon only the electricity retailer can understand. Yes we have added some simple explanations. Though still very confusing! The electricity retailers call centre was of no use, in this case!
Total Confusion With Errors : With all this confusion how is anyone expected to check the bill for correctness? And YES electricity bills do contain errors. Check out our ELECTRICITY BILLING ERRORS page if you are in doubt!
Want A Better Understanding? : Visit our ELECTRICITY BILLING page.
ELECTRICITY RETAILERS LOVE BILL PAYERS!
THEY JUST PAY THE BILL!
Electricity Usage Versus Cost Analysis
Usage Breakdown Analysis : Whilst electricity providers like to show you the usage breakdown of your electricity bill, make sure you understand how to work out the cost breakdown. The usage breakdown is often supplied by the electricity provider.
Low Usage Pat On Back Syndrome : Householders seeing a low usage figure 25% for peak electricity on a TOU tariff, could think they are doing well trying to keep costs down.
The Real Truth : When in fact the cost breakdown may show they are not doing that well on the TOU, when compared to a fixed rate tariff. Whilst we are not going to draw a direct comparison between the TOU anda fixed tariff here, we want to make you more aware you primarily need to understand the cost breakdown, to keep the bill minimised.
Example Cost Breakdown : Clearly showing you how only small increases in peak electricity usage, can make big differences to quarterly electricity bills!
The Maths : The shoulder usage is similar to the shoulder costs as a percentage and as much of this as possible should be shifted to off-peak use. The low off-peak tariff, whilst having 40% usage rating, actually costs you little at 23% of the bill. Whereas the peak electricity usage whilst low at 13%, is actually costing you 31% of the bill.
High cost peak electricity is used often by this Sydney home and we know they are trying their best to keep it reduced. Like for many householders it is difficult if not sometimes impossible to reduce / use power during this time of need.
TOU Cost Saving Tips : It is possible to save a lot off the electricity bill by reducing peak electricity usage. Converting more electricity usage from peak to shoulder and off-peak and by moving shoulder usage to off-peak, will further save you.
Electricity Bill Discount Offers
Pay On Time Discount : This is trending now [Oct 2017] and it is not hard to get 25% off both usage and service fee, after GST has been added!
Save Even More : Whilst any discount on electricity charges is part of the solution for reducing costs, it is not the end solution. If you stop here you will remain being just a BILL PAYER!
We want you to understand it is about electricity usage, billing and costs. This is the secret to being able to understand how to reduce the bill further!
Many homes with 'Pay On Time' discounts do little more in the quest to reduce the bill further!
Understand Terms And Conditions : First priority is understand the small print. You may discuss :
Contract term and early termination fees
Being able to switch back to any old tariff
What is the discount off exactly? Usage, service or both?
Is the discount applied before or after GST?
Any increases to current services charge rates
"I found your website when I decided to analyse what my electricity bill really meant. Thank you so much. Clear information and lots of it. Interestingly, I did the numbers on switching providers using one of the big switching companies, and found that the savings, with the discount, would have been about a dollar onto my current bill, and of course would have cost me more should I be one of those who don't pay on time. Invaluable public service, and I'll come to you first when I want an audit."
Sharp Electricity Rises Continue
Since we posted the following prices have continued to rise.
2011 to 2013 Forecast 60% [July 2011 18%] 28% Still To Go!
2013 to 2014 Planned 33%.
Inflation every year will add 3% to 5%
Coal contracts per ton have recently increased by 500%.
Carbon tax could be $25 per ton.
NSW households will further be billed $12 for the blowout of the recent Gross Feed applications.
Small Electricity Price Increases Make A Big Difference!
Compounded Costs : What about a small 5% increase in electricity costs over 25 years? See our 5% ELECTRICITY RISE REPORT