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Energy statistics Australia 2022

Find out how much the average household spends on energy, how Australia's energy prices compare globally, and the data on energy bill stress.

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Energy is one of our most stressful expenses, according to Finder research, and with good reason. The average household spends $1,288 on energy bills each year, and an extra $772 on gas bills according to Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker. Energy prices have steeply outpaced inflation since the mid-2000s, and further increases in 2022 will only add to household financial pressure.

We delve into how much households are paying for energy, how Australian energy prices compare globally, how many households face bill stress, and the stats around green energy.

The cost of energy

What is the average energy bill?

The average quarterly electricity bill in Australia is $322, according to Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker. That's equivalent to $1,288 per year.

Tasmanians are forking out the most on electricity, with an average quarterly spend of $381, followed by the ACT ($367) and South Australia ($354). Western Australians have the cheapest energy bills at an average of $263.

Between the generations, baby boomers are spending the least on energy ($274), while gen Z are shelling out the most ($340).

Energy bill forecast

The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) is responsible for regulating default market offer (DMO) prices, which dictate the maximum price that retailers can charge customers on default contracts.

As of July 2022, DMO prices are set to increase by as much as 18.3% in New South Wales, 12.6% in southeast Queensland, and 9.5% in South Australia.

This could raise the average quarterly energy bill in New South Wales by as much as $63. In Queensland and South Australia, the potential increases could be as high as $36 and $34.

What is the average gas bill?

Gas bills are typically cheaper than electricity, costing the average household $193 per quarter according to Finder research. That's equivalent to $772 per year.

Those from the ACT are spending the most on gas, an average of $279 per quarter. Victorians come in second place ($217), while Western Australians are spending the least on gas ($138).

Similar to electricity, gas bills are the highest among gen Z ($219), followed by millennials ($210). Baby boomers are spending the least, $157 per quarter on average.

How do energy prices in Australia compare globally?

According to analysis by the Australian Energy Council, Australian retail electricity prices are the 10th lowest in the OECD. When compared against other countries using a purchasing power exchange rate, Australian average prices per kilowatt hour are equivalent to 17.6 US cents (c/kWh), which is less than the OECD average cost of 24.2.

However, the Australian Energy Regulator has recently approved price increases of up to 18.3%, which will come into place in July 2022. Once this is reflected in the data, we could see Australia move up in the global rankings.

How have energy and gas prices changed over time?

Since 1989, electricity prices have increased by 248%, and gas prices have increased by 326%. In comparison, the Consumer Price Index, which is a measure of the price of a typical basket of consumer goods and services, increased by 129% over the same period.

The data shows electricity grew in line with overall inflation until around 2008, where prices started to increase more steeply. Gas prices tracked inflation until around 2000 before starting to steepen.

Household trends

What is the energy burden on households?

Electricity is one of Australians' most stressful expenses according to Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker. Nearly a quarter of people (23%) rank their energy bill among their top 3 stressful bills or expenses.

Only groceries (34%), rent or mortgage (33%) and petrol (31%) cause households more stress than energy.

Tasmanians (30%) and South Australians (26%) are the most likely to experience energy bill stress. This is in line with statistics showing these 2 states have the highest percentage of customers on hardship programs.

Gen X (26%) and baby boomers (25%) are the most likely to rank their energy bill as one of their most stressful expenses, compared to just 13% of gen Z.

How many households are on hardship programs?

Across the country, 1.07% of Australians were on electricity hardship programs as of December 2021, according to the Australian Energy Regulator. This is up marginally from 1.03% the year prior.

Tasmanians are the most likely to need financial assistance for their electricity bills (1.92%), followed by South Australians (1.78%).

Hardship program customers in Tasmania ($2,449) and South Australia ($2,364) also carry the most debt, with the average national debt sitting at $1,722.

The percentage of Australians in gas hardship programs is lower overall (0.69%), with South Australians the most likely to struggle (1.27%).

The average debt of gas hardship customers is $816, with those from the ACT carrying the highest average debt ($1,268).

Are Australians happy with their energy provider?

Australians are less than impressed with their energy and gas providers, according to Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker. Only 60% of customers believe they are getting good value for money in each of these services. The only services where perceived value is lower are health insurance and income protection insurance.

Despite this, only 13% of Australians have switched their electricity plan in the last 6 months. Gen Z (18%) and millennials (16%) are the most likely to have switched recently, compared to just 9% of baby boomers.

How well do Australians understand their energy bill?

When asked to rank their understanding of their energy bill, a third of Australians (34%) say they understand it perfectly. A further 41% say they understand their bill quite well, while 23% have little to no understanding of their bill.

Not surprisingly, there is a correlation between understanding your bill and how much that bill is costing you. Those who claim to understand their bill perfectly have the lowest quarterly energy bills ($303), followed by those who have a good understanding ($328).

Those who don't understand their bill at all pay on average $352 per quarter, and those who aren't sure about their level of understanding have the highest bills of all at $416 per quarter.

Energy generation and consumption

What is Australia's energy consumption?

In the 2021 financial year, Australia consumed 188.6 terawatt hours of electricity through the National Electricity Market (NEM). Of this, New South Wales (68.1 terawatt hours), Queensland (54.5 terawatt hours) and Victoria (32.2 terawatt hours) made up the majority of consumption.

Annual electricity consumption in Australia has fallen slightly in recent years. Consumption peaked in the 2009 financial year at 210.5 terawatt hours, and has decreased marginally in the years since.

How much of Australia's energy comes from renewable sources?

Nearly a quarter (24%) of Australia's energy generation comes from renewable sources, including solar (9%), wind (9%) and hydro (6%).

Over the decade to 2020, renewable energy generation in Australia has increased by 126%. Solar and wind power have been the largest drivers of this growth. Over the past 10 years, small-scale solar generation has grown by 808% and wind by 235%.

At the same time, brown coal generation has declined by 39% and black coal by 4%.

How does Australia compare globally with renewable energy?

Despite its progress, Australia remains behind many other major economies in terms of clean energy.

In Norway, 98% of electricity is generated from renewables, followed by Brazil (84%) and New Zealand (80%).

On the other end of the spectrum, renewable energy is virtually non-existent in Saudi Arabia (0.2%) and Kuwait (0.3%). Algeria (1%) and the UAE also lag behind (4%).

Are Australians prepared to pay for green energy?

In the wake of COVID-19 and the climate disasters Australia has faced over the past few years, Australians are growing more and more concerned about the environment.

Finder research found 66% of Australians are willing to pay more on their electricity bill for green power.

Gen Z are the most willing to pay more for clear energy, with 88% saying they would fork out extra for green power. This is compared to 50% of baby boomers and 59% of gen X.

Among those willing to pay extra for green power, the average person would pay $28 more per month.

The good news is that switching to green energy doesn't have to cost you more. Finder's latest Green Consumer Report found switching to green energy could actually save the average household $76 a year.

  1. Finder Consumer Sentiment Tracker
  2. Australian Energy Regulator (AER)
  3. Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO)
  4. Australian Energy Council (AEC)
  5. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)
  6. Enerdata
  7. Energy.gov.au

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