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Energy statistics Australia 2023

Find out how much energy is costing Australians and the financial burden they are causing with our energy statistics

Energy is one of our most stressful expenses, according to Finder's latest research, and with good reason. The average household spends $1376 on electricity bills each year, and $816 on gas bills according to Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker. Energy prices have steeply outpaced inflation since the mid-2000s, and further increases in July 2023 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.

What is the average energy bill?

The average quarterly electricity bill in Australia is $344 - that's equivalent to $1376 per year. This is a 7% jump from the previous year.

Tasmanians are forking out the most on electricity, with an average quarterly spend of $484, followed by the ACT ($390) and South Australia and New South Wales ($379). Western Australians have the cheapest energy bills at an average of $260.

Between the generations, baby boomers are spending the least on electricity ($276), while Millennials (Gen Y) are shelling out the most ($376).

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 May 2023, DMO prices are set to increase by as much as 21.40% in New South Wales, 21.50% in southeast Queensland, and 23.90% in South Australia.

This could raise the average quarterly energy bill in New South Wales by as much as $81. In Queensland and South Australia, the potential increases could be as high as $67 and $91.

What is the average gas bill?

Gas bills are typically lower than electricity, costing the average household $204 per quarter ($816 per year) according to Finder research. This is mostly because many households use a combination of gas and electricity. Nevertheless, the average household spend on gas has increased 5% from 2022.

Those from the ACT are spending the most on gas, an average of $310 per quarter. Tasmanians come in second place ($249), while Western Australians and Queenslanders are spending the least on gas ($155).

Similar to electricity, gas bills are the highest among Millenials ($217), followed by Gen Z and Gen X ($212). Baby boomers are spending the least, $167 per quarter on average.

Have an electricity or gas bill that's higher than the average? Compare cheap energy plans and see how much you could save.

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 announced possible price increases of up to 22.2%, which will come into place in July 2023. 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 2000, electricity prices have increased by 238%, and gas prices have increased by 319%. In comparison, the Consumer Price Index, which is a measure of the price of a typical basket of consumer goods and services, increased by 90% over the same period.

The data shows electricity and gas prices have generally grown faster than overall inflation. Prices began to diverge sharply around the global financial crisis in 2008. Gas prices increased faster than electricity prices in March 2022 following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Gas prices remain elevated at the start of 2023 with electricity prices following.

What is the energy burden on households?

Electricity is one of Australians' most stressful expenses according to Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker. A quarter of people (26%) rank their energy bill among their top 3 stressful bills or expenses.

Only groceries (38%), rent or mortgage (37%) and petrol (29%) cause households more stress than energy.

Tasmanians (29%) and South Australians (32%) are the most likely to experience energy bill stress. This is in line with statistics showing these two states have the highest percentage of customers on hardship programs.

Gen X (32%) and baby boomers (29%) are the most likely to rank their energy bill as one of their most stressful expenses, compared to just 16% of gen Z.

How many households are on hardship programs?

Across the country, Australians on electricity hardship programs have been steadily increasing since 2021. 1.22% of Australians are on electricity hardship programs. This is up from 1.07% in December 2021.

South Australians are the most likely to need financial assistance for their electricity bills (1.95%%), followed by Tasmanians (1.82%).

Hardship program customers in Tasmania ($2579) and South Australia ($2458) also carry the most debt, with the average national debt sitting at $1846.

Much like electricity the number of Australians on gas hardship programs has steadily increased in recent years. 0.83% of Australians are on gas hardship programs currently. This is up from 0.69% in December 2021. South Australians are the most likely to struggle with 1.46% of residents in the state requiring assistance.

The average debt of gas hardship customers is $587, with those from the ACT carrying the highest average debt ($1007).

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. Gas and electricity are ranked as being the least value for money out of all other services. 57% of electricity customers and 58% of gas customers reported their plans as being good value for money.

Despite this, in the last 6 months, only 14% of Australians have switched their electricity plan and only 13% have switched their gas plan. Millennials and Gen Z are the most likely to switch. 19% of Millennials have changed their electricity plan, whilst 18% of Gen Z have switched their gas plans. This is significantly higher than the 9-8% of baby boomers who have switched their energy plans.

What is Australia's energy consumption?

In the 2021 financial year, Australia consumed 265.5 terawatt hours of electricity. Of this, New South Wales (75.5 terawatt hours), Queensland (65.3 terawatt hours) and Victoria (48.9 terawatt hours) made up the majority of consumption.

Annual electricity consumption in Australia has continued to increase over the years. Consumption dipped slightly in 2013 and 2014 at 249 terawatt hours, but has increased steadily in the years since.

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

Nearly a third (30%) of Australia's energy generation comes from renewable sources, including solar (7%), wind (14%) and hydro (9%).

Despite this, more than half of Australian energy generation comes from coal. In the 12 months to May 2023, 45% of the electricity generation in Australia came from black coal, 17% came from brown coal and 7% was generated using gas.

Are Australians prepared to pay for green energy?

Finder research found that a majority of Australians are conscious about their impact on the climate. 68% of Aussies said they are concerned in some way about their carbon footprint.

Finder research found 34% of Australians are willing to pay more on their electricity bill for green power.

Gen Y are the most willing to pay more for clean energy, with 47% saying they would fork out extra for green power. This is compared to 23% of baby boomers and 29% of Gen X.

However, when it comes to how much extra they are willing to pay for green power, Gen Z were the most generous willing to pay $61 extra per month. Baby Boomers are willing to pay the least at only $25 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.

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