What makes up my power bill costs?
Understanding what costs make up your bill can help you work out an energy-saving plan.
Average energy use in an Australian home – includes electricity and gas (Source: Baseline Energy Estimates 2008, DEWHA).
How do I read my power bill?
Power bills vary depending upon the retailer that you have chosen. Look for the detailed charges section, which is usually found on the reverse side of your bill. There you can locate the usage summary of kWh. If youíre still having trouble finding the average kWh usage, call your energy retailer for help.
Having a better understanding of what makes up your overall power bill can also help you make savings.
Why is my power bill so high?
There are some things that can drive up your power bill. These include:
- Local climate: Victoria can be very hot, and very cold.
- House size: More Victorians are living in larger houses and these are more expensive to heat, light and cool.
- Design of your home: Some houses do not take advantage of natural heating and cooling opportunities, so you can end up using more power.
- Appliances: The more appliances you have, and the more you use them, the higher your power bill will be.
- Habits and lifestyles: This means how much heating, cooling, washing, showering, cooking and clothes washing is done in your house.
- Cost of power: This has gone up significantly over the last five years due to increases in costs including infrastructure maintenance.
- Impact of the carbon tax: The carbon tax is estimated to add 10 per cent to power bills.
Monitor your usage
If you have a Smart Meter, you may be able to access web portals. These devices make the real-time data captured by Smart Meters readily available to households and businesses, empowering consumers with the information they need to better manage their electricity bills. See: Smart Meter compatible web portals
Why has my bill suddenly gone up this year?
If your bill has gone up unexpectedly then here are a few clues to investigate:
- A new appliance may be consuming more power than you expected.
- More people may be living in your house, or people are spending more time at home.
- Habits in the household may have changed, for example using the clothes dryer more in winter.
- The weather may have been different this year - colder or hotter - resulting in more use of heating and cooling.
What if I think my bill is wrong?
If you feel that the bill is wrong, contact your electricity retailer.
The bill may be an estimate, not an actual reading of your meter. The word ‘estimated’ or the letter ‘e’ beside the consumption shown on your bill means that the bill was an estimate based on previous consumption. Electricity meters are generally reliable, and faults are uncommon. You can ask your electricity retailer for a manual meter reading.
If you are dissatisfied with your retailer’s response, contact the Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria.
What exactly does it all mean?
If you want to understand exactly what is on your individual bill you will need to visit your energy retailer’s website, but a few general rules apply.
- Average cost per day: This is how much you pay each day on average for energy.
- Average daily usage: This is how much power you use each day on average. It is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh).
- What is a kWh? Electricity is measured in kilowatt hours. A kilowatt (kW) is 1,000 watts of electrical power. For example if you run a 1,000 watt heater for one hour, it will use 1 kWh.
- Charge/kWh: Electricity is priced in cents per kilowatt hour, for example 22.56c per kWh. So if you use 20 kWh each day, it would cost $4.51 each day.
- Peak and Off-Peak: There can be different charges for peak and off-peak use.