Power Consumption


Related Pages:

Working out Power Consumption
Our Household Power Summary

Hot Water


  Consumption Tables

The cost of electricity

In monetary terms, the cost of electricity is quite cheap. Prices vary between retailers (suppliers) but is generally around 11 to 14 cents per kWh for domestic customers in mainland Australia. Looking at this another way, 1 cent will purchase around 80 Wh of electricity at these prices. Some retailers also offer Off Peak electricity, which is mainly used to heat water, at a reduced tariff.

In environmental terms, 1 kWh of electricity generated at a coal fired power station releases around 1 kg of Carbon-Dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. Over 90% of the electricity generated in NSW is derived from coal.

Note: I generally refer to power consumption in terms of the measured power consumed (ie in W, Wh & kWh) rather than in economic or environmental terms, as some other sites do. Once the actual power consumption is known though, it is a simple task to convert to either of the others.

The main users of electricity

The 'average' household in Australia supposedly uses around 15 to 20 kWh of electricity per day. This figure can vary widely depending on season, location, number of people in the house, whether you use gas or some other resource for any of your water heating, cooking or space heating requirements, thermal properties of the house etc. Often this figure can be reduced significantly once it is understand where and why we use electricity, and make decisions based on this information. The Household Power Summary page shows a table of average daily production and usage of electricity in our house.

The following list highlights the major users of electricity in an all-electricity household.


Associated Pages on this site

1. Hot Water System General Info - 'Getting into Hot Water'  
2. Space Heating & Cooling    
3. Refrigerators & Freezers General Info - Fridges  
4. Other Appliances   Power Consumption Comparisons
5. Lighting General Info - 'Enlightenment' Power Consumption Comparisons


Working out power consumption

Power consumption can be derived both for individual appliances and for the household as a whole.

Individual Appliances: See the Working out Power Consumption page.
Household: Most household electricity meters can be read by the householder. By taking regularly readings of the accumulated kWh and having some idea of when high consumption appliances like heaters, stoves and air-conditioners were operating, it should be possible to work out where a lot of the electricity consumed is going.
These accumulated kWh readings are what the regular electricity bills are based on. On the bill you will normally find previous and current meter readings, and the dates the measurements were taken. An average for that billing period can then be determined. A number of retailers already calculate these averages and display this in graphical format on their bills. The main disadvantage with this method is that the bills tend to be over a fairly long period - typically 1 to 3 months. To get any meaningful data it would be more useful to record the meter reading daily or weekly yourself. See the section on reading electricity meters for more info.

Last Updated: 06/02/03