Graph of the Day: Oz households slash electricity use by 23% | RenewEconomy

Graph of the Day: Oz households slash electricity use by 23%

Australian households have cut electricity consumption by nearly a quarter in the past decade – thanks to solar, efficient appliances and bill shock.


The Australian Bureau of Statistics might not win first prize in a graphics competition, but they do have some compelling data.

One piece that leaped out at us yesterday was this graph about the amount of electricity use per household in Australia over the last 10 years: according to the ABS, it has fallen a whopping 23 per cent.

There might be a bunch of reasons for that – more energy efficient devices that more than offset an increase in the number of said devices, better awareness of energy conservation, and more recently the big push into domestic household consumption. Even with the increase in population, total electricity use fell by 9 per cent. Even gas consumption per household fell by 15 per cent.

Both electricity (93 per cent) and gas (74 per cent) have experienced huge increases in prices over the last decade – something that Environment Minister Greg Hunt may wish to avoid next time he claims that there is no link between rising prices and declining energy use.

Just over the last three years, Australian households are using 12 per cent less electricity than they were three years ago, but they are using four per cent more energy overall – that is if gas, petrol, diesel, LPG, solar and wood are also included.

Household energy use accounted for 1,041 PJ, or 25 per cent of total domestic energy use in the country. The biggest energy item consumed was petrol (47 per cent), followed by electricity (20 per cent) and natural gas (15 per cent).

chart households


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  1. DogzOwn 7 years ago

    So will this increase electricity prices even more steeply?

  2. Tom Osborn 7 years ago

    Like petrol consumption and automotive sales. Driver behaviour (journeys) didn’t change much with price rises in past decade or so, but decisions on the next vehicle changed a lot. Electricity consumers slowly change behaviours, but every new purchase is for more efficient substitutes. Behaviour seems to be getting some momentum too.

    Utilities ramping prices due to poor infrastructure planning is a major component of elec price rises, which co-incidentally feeds into this overall reduction per household.

    Greg Hunt may not be completely out of his depth when this all needs to be explained, but I expect he will appear incoherent or mixed up when he has to explain things like why the unit price doesn’t drop much when/if the Direct Action mechanism is brought in. I even expect he will feel personally conflicted when making this kind of explanation. T.

  3. Lindsay Wilson 7 years ago

    I think average household size is down from 2.6 to 2.3 over the period. A lot of that decline is the rise of small single person dwellings in blocks. Probably part of the mix too

  4. patb2009 7 years ago

    i suspect there is a lot of small scale electricity sneaking in under the radar.

  5. Dave Kimble 7 years ago

    The cost of household electricity line is not far off an exponential +2% per year.

    The number of households line is straight and equivalent to +2% per year – I doubt this is accurate since it probably relies on census data taken every 5/10(?) years

    and annualised, then projected forward as if the future will be the same as the past. This is reported by the media as fact, not a statistical prediction.

    Until 2010-11, household electricity use had been constant, so electricity use per household had been running at -2% per year. This can be explained by more efficient equipment and cooking with gas.

    Then when the 2009-10 and 2010-11 price rises fed through into 2010-11 and 2011-12 usage, overall household usage fell 4% per year, so the usage per household fell 6% per year.

    But the grid was still reaching maximum capacity at times, so industrial use must have been growing (presumably due to the mining boom).

    So the price rises (largely due to grid upgrades) have been shouldered by households, while the increase in demand has been from the miners. So households have been paying an unfair share, in effect subsidising the miners.

    So what’s new ?

    Governments always fall over themselves to be wined and dined by mining lobbyists, and care little about how this effects people.

  6. nicephotog 7 years ago

    Um, actually, while there will never be an R and D success its thought in Energy efficient teenagers and children and neither their carbon efficiency, Since 2003 after the first multi media codecs and CPUs were improved , both audio and video tape players were being thrown out progressively and so too have tube devices such as monitors and television sets, but finally also regional areas outside of citys in the past four or five years now have switched from tube TV 640×480 to Digital broadcast LCD types and the old type transmitters no longer service the tube signals. TV’s are around 1Kw continuous current draw and power electric motor tape systems 200w-500w continuous so around 4kwh to 6kwh has dropped off p/household p/day, and as much with all institutions that used CCTV or training videos. Old and others whom ran TV’s all day now use digital systems and DVD not tube and tape motor. LCD first started to take off around 2003 and digital TV a few years later.

  7. nicephotog 7 years ago

    Just to add a bit more to the other comment here, Grid tie systems are the most rude by them but for the requirements of an off grid system in a suburban area making it difficult to sensibly install because of space and noise and area size(some 5Kw panels and 5kw wind turbine minimum for an Australian house of which the minimum possible in any form valid by self importation management(broking) is around $23K-25K self installed because of sealed batteries and transport and GST, tariff, exchange rates). The Grid tied systems were to be the devices buffering price and network loading but up go the prices because usage is less and profit is down.

  8. nicephotog 7 years ago

    Here’s the proof grid tie is a rip off,
    …”Solar Citizens claims a recent report by one of the major regulators of electricity pricing in Australia recommends charging a higher tariff for homes that have installed solar, but who also want to connect to the grid.”…

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