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Published on December 2nd, 2013 | by Giles Parkinson


Australian Households Cut Electricity Use By 23% — Graph

Originally published on RenewEconomy

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).


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About the Author

is the founding editor of, an Australian-based website that provides news and analysis on cleantech, carbon, and climate issues. Giles is based in Sydney and is watching the (slow, but quickening) transformation of Australia's energy grid with great interest.

  • Wayne Williamson

    Jeeze, I feel deficient. In doing the energy saving thing, I’ve reduce my monthly electric bill from 400 USD to 200…ok maybe less, Still at 10 cents a kilowatt that is going from 4 megawatts a month to 2 megawatts…maybe 1.5. Living in Florida, I can’t imagine using 4.4 Mwh a year. Oh and yes, I have a small business with several computers running 24/7,

  • Matt

    There have been a lot of ACs added in that time. So I wonder if roof top PV is included as the electric reduction. That is, is this count of the electric total used, or just the use provided by network generators? The first number is harder to get.

    • Ronald Brakels

      The reduction is in the amount of grid electricity used by households. So rooftop solar is supplying some, but not all, of the difference.

      • Guest Don.Brettlee

        No people just cut back on energy, most of the power station are running below 50% so that mean that Aussie are not buying electricity. Other factor could be low wages, behind payment on there accounts. In South Australia 30 million dollars in unpaid electricity accounts, including big company, home & shopping mails.

  • JamesWimberley

    EVs will presumably reverse the trend to declining household electricity use over the next decade.

    • Hubert Savelberg

      I drive a Renault Kangoo ZE, it consumes about 275 KWh per 1000 kilometers.

    • Chris Marshalk

      What Electric Vehicles?????????

      - Still waiting for Tesla Model S to hit our shores in Australia.
      - Incompetent dumb backwards thinking Abbott Government doesn’t believe in climate change, so green technology is on the back burner.
      - Zero incentives / rebates offered to Australian EV consumers (unlike in the U.S)
      - Australia is a RIPP-OFF. Expect EV cars to be TWICE as expensive.

  • Hubert Savelberg

    Is it possible to provide, as for our internationally comparision, the actual numbers of KWh used per Australian household per year, instead of just those reduction in percentages?

    • Ronald Brakels

      The average Australian household has 2.4 people and uses about 4,400 kilowatt-hours per year. Or I guess a bit less than that now.

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