High electricity bills? Calculate your household's electricity use
Calculating your energy use arms you with the knowledge to control your energy usage and costs, and allows you to identify areas of high energy consumption. With the right tools you can manage your household’s energy costs and usage to make the right choices for your family.
In 2020, the average household electricity usage in Australia was 6,643 kWh per year. With most people around Australia paying between 20-55c per kWh - reducing your household energy consumption could slash your electricity bill by hundreds of dollars each year.
Doing all the calculations and sums to work out your household’s energy consumption and costs can be complicated and time consuming. It is best to set aside a quiet afternoon without distractions get this job done.
It is also worth noting that you will want to do this calculation during summer, winter and one of either autumn or spring so that you can understand the impact that seasons have on your electricity consumption.
So how can you calculate your energy use?
Home Energy Audit
Consider doing a Home Energy Audit. There are free audit kits in most capital cities.
A home energy toolkit has tools and helpful information so you can do it yourself. Find out how energy is being used in your home to better control your usage and make savings on your power bill.
You can use the guide/manual to explore your energy usage in more detail. You can measure your appliances’ energy use, running costs and even their greenhouse emissions.
Most home energy toolkits contain:
- Appliance meter
- Measures appliance energy use, stand-by power, cost and greenhouse gas emissions
- Infrared thermometer
- Measure the temperature of your hot water and pinpoint hot and cold spots in a room
- Spirit thermometer
- Measure room and fridge and freezer temperatures
- Identify which direction your home faces to make the most of free heating from the sun
- Used to calculate the water flow rate from your showers and taps
- Information, pictures and diagrams to help you carry out your audit
Compare your consumption
Calculate how much electricity you use compared to other similar households in your area using this simple tool.
Compare what the average electricity consumption is in your area with the consumption listed on your electricity bill to see how your household compares. However, this is just a rough estimate.
Manual calculations using your meter
You can do manual calculations using your meter and previous electricity bills to work out your energy consumption. Your electricity meter reading shows you the total amount of electricity used over the life of your meter.
You can determine how much electricity has been used over a period of time by subtracting a previous meter reading from your current meter reading.
Electricity meters measure your energy use in kWh, which is the same as your bill.
- [ the difference between readings] = kWh of electricity used.
Multiplying the amount of electricity used in your home by the tariff on your bill will give you an indication of your energy costs.
- [difference between readings] x [tariff on your bill ] = kWh of electricity used
Use regular meter readings daily or weekly to keep track of how much energy you are using to see the impact of the changes you are making.
A simple way to record your readings is with an electricity meter diary which can reflect any changes you do to your energy consumption over time.
You can use our example below to create your own.
You can also estimate the running costs of current appliances or compare new appliances to make an informed purchase. Did you know appliances contribute up to 40 per cent of your electricity bill?
Look for energy efficiency ratings when upgrading your appliances – the more stars the better! The energy rating label gives you all the information you need to help you choose a more energy efficient appliance.
Get the Energy Calculator App for your smartphone to help you buy better energy efficient appliances.