Are Australians using less electricity?

Switching off the lights could help australians reduce their electricity bills 171 73724 0 14092159 300

A report recently issued by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows Aussies have decreased their electricity usage in the past four years, but electricity prices have risen significantly during this period.

According to the report, Australians now use four per cent less electricity than they did in 2010, but its value has increased by 43 per cent over that period, to the value of around $4 billion, according to ABS spokesman Peter Williams.

He said households were responsible for around 24 per cent of all electricity and responsible for around 40 per cent of the total value of electricity use.

Less coal is being used to keep Australian houses warm, dry and lit and their occupants entertained, but this product is becoming more costly.

"The quantity of coal used to produce electricity decreased by two per cent or 22 petajoules but the total value of the coal used in the production of electricity increased by six per cent or $93 million," Mr Williams said.

Now, much of the coal that is produced in Australia is being shipped overseas, with export levels of this resource increasing by 5 per cent up to 9,672 petajoules, an increase of 457 petajoules.

"Over the same period the total value increased by nine per cent or $4 billion to $52 billion," he said.

The ABS report revealed that Australia is one of the biggest exporters of coal in the world, with $48 billion worth of this material exported in 2011-12, or 8,516 petajoules. This equates to 60 per cent of the total value of energy products exported by the Lucky Country.

What can consumers do to lower their electricity prices?

There are certain measures households can take to reduce their electricity use, bringing down their prices.

Switch off at the wall

One of the easiest ways to reduce electricity consumption is to switch devices off at the wall when they are not in use. Things like mobile phone and computer chargers, microwaves and TVs all use power when they are plugged in on stand-by mode.

Select energy efficient devices

When replacing older outdated equipment, it is best to look for the Energy Star rating and choose the relevant appliance that uses the least amount of electricity and water in order to reduce costs.

If certain appliances have energy saving modes, see if you can use these, as they may reduce your electricity requirements.

Use appliances efficiently

Rather than using the dishwasher when it is half full or washing a few T-shirts on their own, it is best to run a full load as this will use the least amount of power possible.

Cut out unnecessary usage

On a fine and sunny day, it is better to place your washing outside, rather than use the dryer for the same purpose, as the sun won't cost you a cent. If you really don't need to switch it on, don't.

This also goes for your heater, air conditioner and lights. Often you may be able to keep warm by putting on an extra layer, or cool down by opening a window to let a cool breeze into the house. Opting to try these methods first before flicking on an electrical device could help you reduce your bills.

Run an electricity comparison

A simple way to save money is to compare your costs. A different electricity company may be able to offer you a more attractive deal based on your usage. A lower bill may not require you to dramatically change your household habits.

Posted by Liam Tunney.