How is my electricity bill calculated?

Bill ($) = Energy use (kWh) x Energy price ($/kWh)

Your energy bill is driven by a range of factors.

Woman turning on light

Increased energy use. Have a look at your kWh figure. Has it gone up? In the summer, using an air conditioner contributes to a higher bill. The short, cold days of winter mean you are likely to use heaters and lights more often. New appliances may also have contributed to a spike.

Cost of electricity. The wholesale price of electricity goes up and down every day depending on demand. But when retailers buy electricity they on-sell it to customers at a set price. Most retailers change their rates only once a year.

Change in billing period. How many days are you being billed for? Check that you’re comparing bills with the same number of days.

Estimated bill? If an energy company representative was unable to access your property to read your meter, you may have received an estimated bill. If you are not happy with this reading, contact your energy provider.

Control the bill

You can reduce your energy use, check your plan, or do both. 

Reducing energy

Avoid waste. Turn off the air conditioner and the lights when you go out.

Manage your energy. Do you really need to use hot water when you do the laundry?

Be efficient. Upgrade your appliances and install good insulation.

Go alternative. Solar power has an overall lower cost over its lifetime. 

Avoiding the costs

Shop around. Look for a retailer who provides a plan suited to your situation. It can be very confusing making comparisons between the different retailers but look out for the rate per kWh, fixed supply charges and any fees. Fees may range from paying a bill late or for using a credit card.

Compare providers. Use the Federal Government site Energy Made Easy.

Opt in. Ask your retailer for a time-of-use tariff, including off-peak and smart meter based tariffs.

Improve your management. Avoid or reduce using energy during the peak periods.

Government programs. See if you’re eligible for an energy rebate, the discounted lighting program, or the appliance replacement offer.