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What is the average (kWh) cost of electricity in Australia?

You can expect to pay anywhere between anywhere from 26c–36c/kWh, but there are ways to secure the best price for your home.

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The average cost of electricity in Australia depends heavily depends on where you live. For example, South Australia is 10c/kWh pricier on average than Queensland. A few other factors are also considered here:

  • Whether you're on a market offer or a default standing offer
  • Which part of the state you live in (and who your energy distributor is)
  • Whether you pay a single rate or time of use tariff
  • How much power you use

We cover average rates in each state, plus help you understand your energy bills in order to secure the best power price.

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Average electricity bills in Australia

Here's how quarterly power bills compare across the country, state by state.

StateAverage power bill (quarterly)
South Australia$383.30Compare plans
New South Wales$353.80Compare plans
Victoria$319.50Compare plans
Queensland$312.70Compare plans
Western Australia$254.40Compare plans

Source: Finder Consumer Sentiment Tracker, May 2022.

Average electricity cost per kWh (state-by-state)

Each state has its own set of laws, distribution networks and more that determine the supply cost of electricity.

You don't actually get access to that rate – instead, you buy power from your provider at a (higher) rate it sets itself.

For each state, we've listed the average cost of electricity per kWh for residents of capital city areas, using data from the AER's Annual Retail Market Report 2020–2021. If you're paying as much or more for power, it might be time to switch.

StateDistributorMedian price of power
QueenslandEnergex26c/kWh
New South WalesAusgrid27c/kWh
ACTEvoenergy29c/kWh
South AustraliaSA Power Networks36c/kWh
VictoriaCitiPower28c/kWh
TasmaniaTasNetworks27c/kWh

Should I be comparing kWh costs between providers?

While usage rates per kWh are a fantastic base for your research and cost comparison, they're only part of the story.

When you buy an energy plan from a provider, there are other things that affect how much you ultimately pay, like:

  • Supply charges. The daily fee for being hooked up to the grid, regardless of energy use.
  • Discounts. Discounts are applied in a hundred different ways by providers. Some discounts may require you to meet certain conditions (like paying your bill on time). Other discounts may only apply to your usage rates, while others affect the entire bill. Yet more may be bill credits or loyalty rewards for long-term customers.
  • Tariffs. The tariff (or price structure) you choose for your plan may mean your usage rate changes over time. For example, time of use tariffs have usage rates that change based on the time of day. We go into detail on tariffs here.

For a better idea of what you'll actually end up paying, you might benefit from using an energy comparison tool like Finder's to find competitive energy plans or rates in your area.

Providers Average Annual Electricity Average Annual Gas Features Compare prices

Origin

Origin logo
$1,660
$720
  • GreenPower available
  • Solar assistance
  • Bundling
See your rates
Alinta alinta logo
$1,380
$720
  • GreenPower available
  • Solar assistance
Learn more

AGL

agl logo
$1,410
$710
  • GreenPower available
  • Solar assistance
See your rates
EnergyAustralia Energy Australia logo
$1,710
$750
  • GreenPower available
  • Solar assistance
See your rates

See more energy plans in NSW

Providers Average Electricity Price Average Gas Price Features Compare prices

AGL

agl logo
$1,154
$1,033
  • GreenPower available
  • Solar assistance
See your rates
Alinta alinta logo
$1,078
$
  • GreenPower available
  • Solar assistance
Learn more

Origin

Picture not described
$1,275
$1,237
  • GreenPower available
  • Solar assistance
  • Bundling
See your rates
Energy Australia Energy Australia logo
$1,275
$1,189
  • GreenPower available
  • Solar assistance
See your rates

See more energy plans in VIC

Providers Average Electricity Price Average Gas Price Features Compare prices
Alinta alinta logo
$1,330
$620
  • GreenPower available
  • Solar assistance
Learn more

AGL

agl logo
$1,320
$630
  • GreenPower available
  • Solar assistance
See your rates

Origin

Picture not described
$1,520
$640
  • GreenPower available
  • Solar assistance
  • Bundling
See your rates

See more energy plans in QLD

Providers Average Electricity Price Average Gas Price Features Compare prices

Origin

Picture not described
$2,020
$920
  • GreenPower available
  • Solar assistance
  • Bundling
See your rates

AGL

agl logo
$2,030
$930
  • GreenPower available
  • Solar assistance
See your rates
Alinta alinta logo
$1,860
$870
  • GreenPower available
  • Solar assistance
Learn more

See more energy plans in South Australia

Providers Average Electricity Price Average Gas Price Features Compare prices
Energy Locals energy locals logo
$2,000
Gas quote not available
  • GreenPower available
  • Solar assistance
See your rates
1st Energy 1st Energy logo
$1,890
Gas quote not available
  • GreenPower available
  • Solar assistance
See your rates
Aurora Energy aurora_logo
$2,030
Gas quote not available
  • GreenPower available
  • Solar assistance
Learn more

See more energy plans in TAS

Providers Average Electricity Price Average Gas Price Features Compare prices

Origin

Picture not described
$1,806
$812
  • GreenPower available
  • Solar assistance
  • Bundling
See your rates
ActewAGL Actewgel logo
$1,671
$1,222
  • GreenPower available
  • Solar assistance
See your rates
Energy Australia Energy Australia logo
$760
$1,570
  • GreenPower available
  • Solar assistance
See your rates
Red Energy Picture not described
$1,645
Gas quote not available
  • GreenPower available
  • Solar assistance
See your rates

See more energy plans in ACT

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How do I use my own energy bill to find my costs per kWh?

Most energy bills have 2 main parts.

The first is an executive summary of your monthly or quarterly costs, including the total power you've consumed and amount owing. The other has your usage rates and details.

To see how much you're paying per kWh, look for this second section on your bill, similar to the one below.

bill image

This section will look different depending on what kind of power tariff you have. Here's how to read the 3 main kinds:

  • Single rate. Your bill will list all your electricity consumption as "peak" usage (like in the image above). The listed peak rate is your cost per kWh.
  • Time of use. Your bill will split usage into "peak", "off-peak" and sometimes "shoulder" categories. Each one has its associated rate listed next to it, along with the amount of energy you used during that period on this bill.
  • Controlled load. If you have a power-hungry appliance on its own circuit (like a hot water heater), the special controlled load usage rate will be listed under this heading.

If your bill splits costs into "excluding GST" and "including GST", only pay attention to the latter. That's how much you will actually be paying.

When should I expect electricity prices to change?

You should expect power prices to change about once a year.

Every July, the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) reviews energy prices across Australia (excluding Victoria) and sets a new reference price – the maximum energy price it considers to be "fair" for consumers. In Victoria, a similar review happens in January.

Most retailers adjust their power prices at the same time: July (or January in Victoria) to reflect the price of power. However, they're allowed to change their prices whenever they want, as long as they give you 5 days' notice (unless you're on a fixed rate contract).

What about wholesale rates?

Wholesale rates – the amount that retailers pay for power from the grid before selling it on to you – change far more frequently.

Also known as "spot prices", these are adjusted every 5 minutes, which makes them way more volatile than regular retail rates. When the grid has lots of energy and low demand, wholesale prices drop. When generation is low but demand is high, prices can skyrocket.

As a customer, you won't normally have to worry about wholesale prices. That said, some providers like Amber Electric may give you access to wholesale prices rather than a fixed retail rate.

Are wholesale rates worth it?

Wholesale rates are frequently cheaper than retail rates, but taking advantage of them can require you to shift your energy usage to periods where prices are lower. If you consume a lot of power during a price spike, your bill may go way up.

Finally, most providers charge an ongoing membership fee for access to wholesale rates, which you need to factor into your total electricity bill. You will also have to pay the usual daily supply charges.

How can I find the best kWh rates for my household?

To find the best rates, you'll need to compare the various energy retailers available to you and see what's on offer.

When comparing providers, it's important to consider a range of factors including extra benefits and features, what kind of discounts are involved and how they deal with solar if you have it.

Finder's energy comparison tool puts all this information together into how much you might expect to pay on a given plan. If you add details from a recent energy bill, you'll get a better estimate.

More guides on Finder

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