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

Depending on where in Australia you live, the average lies between 22.88c and 35.38c/kWh, but we know how to find the lowest price.

What you need to know

Energy prices are calculated based on a range of factors including:

  • The state you reside in and which energy distributor services your area
  • Which tariff you're on, for example single rate or time of use
  • How much power you use

Good to know: Home energy use is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh). It's the combination of how many kilowatts (kW = 1,000 watts) you use in 1 hour.

Average electricity costs per kWh (by state)

Like most infrastructure, each state or territory is responsible for its own set of laws and regulations to determine the supply cost of electricity. This means prices differ depending on where in the country you live.

After energy is generated and distributed, it's down to energy providers to sell the plans on to you and get your connection set up.

If you're paying much more for power compared to the prices in the table, it could be time to compare energy providers and switch.

Why is electricity so much more expensive in some states than others?

South Australian residents may be frustrated seeing that residents in Victoria are paying 14.64c/kWh less for their electricity on average. Fortunately, the SA government does offer concessions to help alleviate the cost of electricity bills.

Differences in power bills are due to a range of factors that take place before you get your energy bill in the mail, including:

  • Generation costs. Renewable energy sources like wind and solar tend to have lower running costs; however, they often can't cover demand on their own. This means many states use more expensive coal and gas plants to meet energy needs. In South Australia in particular, there's a heavy dependence on wind power followed by gas, which is more expensive than black or brown coal.
  • Network costs. Each distributor is responsible for maintaining the poles and wires to keep a constant supply of power to homes and businesses. Network charges can account for up to half of your energy bill.
  • Retail mark-ups. In order to make money, retailers set their own mark-up on energy plans (in line with regulations).

Finder survey: How many Australians are stressed by their electricity bill?

Response
No63.41%
Yes36.59%
Source: Finder survey by Pure Profile of 1145 Australians, December 2023

Should I be comparing kWh costs between providers?

Yes, but only to a degree. Your kWh usage costs are going to make up the bulk of the cost of your electricity bill but they're only one part of the picture.

Your bill is also affected by:

  • Supply charges. A daily fee for being connected to the grid.
  • Tariff type. If you're on a single rate your kWh usage costs are going to be the same no matter the time of the day you're using power. But on a time of use tariff you'll have different prices during peak, off-peak and shoulder periods.
  • Bill credit. Some energy providers offer sign-up deals which can include bill credits. These are sometimes applied on your first or second bill, or be split across a period of time.

Take a look at our comparison table for an idea of what providers are offering. If you want a quote customised to your specific usage and location, you can use our energy comparison tool.

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

Most people's energy bills are just 2–3 pages. The main part to look for if you want to find your costs per kWh is the section detailing your charges.

It could be called "Total electricity charges" or "New charges and credits" and is sometimes in a section called "How we've worked out your bill".

The kWh cost itself will be in the column listing the "price" or "charge". "Units" will show how much energy you used which is multiplied by the price/charge to find the total "amount".

See 2 examples below:

Electricity Bill 1

Electricity Bill 2

The areas marked out in red show the price in cents per kWh.

Your charges will be listed differently depending on which tariff type you have. Here's how to read the main 4 types of charges:

  • Supply charge. May also be noted as a "daily charge". This is the charge you pay per day for having your power connected. It's usually the highest charge on your bill and it will be listed regardless of your tariff type.
  • Single rate. Your bill will list all your electricity consumption as "peak usage". The listed peak rate is your cents per kWh cost.
  • Time of use. Your bill will list all of your electricity consumption under 3 separate charges. These will be "peak", "off-peak" and "shoulder". Each has its own kWh charge.
  • Controlled load. You'll only see this charge if you have a power-heavy appliance (hot water system, pool heating system) that requires its own circuit. It will appear in addition to your single rate or time of use charges if you have a controlled load.

How often do electricity usage prices change?

Electricity prices should change around once a year.

Each year on 1 July the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) and other state regulators set new reference prices or electricity pricing orders that determine the maximum energy price they consider to be "fair" for consumers.

The AER regulates states that are part of the National Electricity Market (NEM) which includes New South Wales, South-East Queensland, Tasmania, Australian Capital Territory and South Australia. All other regions are regulated by their own state bodies.

Most energy retailers change their power prices roughly around the same time, and usually after 1 July. Though depending on the provider, they may stagger the change between July and September.

They can change the price whenever they wish so long as they give you 5 days' notice, unless you're on a fixed rate plan which locks in your rate for a period of time.

If you think you're paying too much, it could be time to switch energy providers.

What is the average price of electricity between providers?

We've calculated the average kWh price of the following 6 providers:

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

If your bill is higher than the average or you just want the cheapest kWh rates for your household, it's a good idea to compare energy plans and see what's on offer.

Outside of price you'll want to consider:

  • Discounts and extra benefits. Does the provider offer sign-up deals or perks as part of a loyalty program?
  • Customer service and features. Consider a wide range of online reviews, customer support options and whether there's an app to manage your plan.
  • Solar feed-in tariff. If you have solar you want to make sure you're getting the best deal possible.

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