Energy costs taking their toll

How much do you think you spend on electricity every week or month? Of course, this will depend on a number of factors, such as if you are supporting a family, if you have appliances or machines that use a lot of energy and how often you are at home.

However, there are some common factors that unite us all together, such as the need for warmth and cooling, hot water and lighting. Because everyone in a home needs these features, rising electricity and gas prices have an effect on the majority of Australians - even those with comparatively small energy needs are paying a lot more than they used to.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released a statement on September 24, which revealed that in 2013 the average Australian household spent $39 per week on electricity and gas and $60 per week on fuel for driving. That's $99 a week on some form of energy.

Stephanie Cornes from the ABS said that energy costs represent around five per cent of the average gross weekly household income, though it could range from ten per cent to three per cent depending on how high or low a given household's income was. 

Climate was also a significant influencer in energy costs.

"Households in the coldest climate zone - the ACT, Tasmania and parts of Victoria and NSW - had the highest overall costs, spending $47 per week on energy within their homes," said Ms Cornes.

"By contrast, households in warm temperate regions, like Perth and parts of Sydney, had the lowest overall costs, spending $36 per week on energy."

It was also found that households using solar electricity or hot water systems made significant financial savings, spending around $6 less on energy than those without.

"Owner households have different options to help manage their household energy costs. They reported higher rates of energy efficient characteristics within their home, such as solar systems, window treatments and gas hot water systems," said Ms Lorne.

Interestingly, households that had a mortgage to pay had higher overall energy costs, spending around $123 on energy a week.

Those who were living in family households were more likely to install energy efficient light bulbs and use cold water in the washing machine than single individuals.

This may be due to awareness that a family has more potential to use a lot of energy so needs to cut back, while a single person's energy usage wouldn't stretch so high.

Posted by Callum Fleming