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Average Electricity Costs in Canberra

Electricity is crucial to homes and businesses throughout the Canberra region, but it doesn’t come cheap. There are usage fees, which can escalate in winter, as well as ongoing service charges for connections, access and maintenance.

With the growing costs of electricity and the high cost of living in the ACT, it pays to understand your electricity bill so you can control your use and find an electricity provider that suits your needs.

As electricity experts, we’re here to help cover how electrical supply works in Canberra as well as the ACT pricing structure so you know what to look for when changing providers or auditing your power bill.

ACT Electricity Tariffs

There are a number of factors that affect electricity usage and tariffs, particularly in the ACT, where the electricity market has recently been deregulated. This means that there are a number of new energy supply companies to choose from creating a more competitive market, however, the government still retains the power to set price caps using a Default Market Offer (DMO). 

While energy providers have some flexibility under this agreement, rates are typically fixed for six months and there won’t be as many discounts on offer as in a regulated market.

For some homes a block rate tariff can also be applied, provided that customers have the correct meter installed. If block rates are available there will be certain times of the day or amounts of energy used which can fall into “peak”, “demand” or “single” rate on your bill. This can enable customers to tap into different prices and have more control over their energy bills.

The cooler Canberra climate is probably one of the biggest factors that influence average electricity costs in the ACT. Canberra has the second highest annual energy use after Tasmania, due to the high volume of heat needed to warm homes, not just for the winter but over spring and autumn as well.

Table comparing average energy use per season and yearly total across Australia. The data is for an average two-person home using a single-rate tariff.

RegionSummerAutumnWinterSpringAnnual
TAS1,5362,0492,9152,1198,619
ACT1,2581,5502,1681,4316,407
NSW1,3901,3301,6801,2625,662
QLD1,5371,3941,3261,2775,534
SA1,1811,1901,4651,1144,950
VIC10671,0641,4531,0304,614

Data taken from Finder research

Larger energy bills can also be expected with more people using home facilities, particularly during peak rate periods. A two-person home will have an average annual energy use of 6,107 kWh annually while a 5-person home will be as much as 10,150 kWh per year.

Table showing average annual energy use per number of people living in a home in the ACT. 

Number of residentsTotal yearly kWh used
14,360
26,107
37,722
49,542
510,150

See the full data source at Finder.com.au

Other factors that can influence the amount of electricity a household uses include: 

  • How big your home is
  • The local climate
  • Solar energy use
  • The type of heating and cooling systems you have 
  • The type of hot water system you have
  • If there are any hot tubs or swimming pool pumps

If you have a number of big power items in your home, like pool pumps, tumble driers or an electric vehicle charger you can consider switching these to a controlled load. This is a separately metered electrical supply tuned to use off-peak rates.

Understanding your power bills

While power bills are not something most of us enjoy receiving, they do contain some handy information to help you make informed choices about your electricity provider comparisons to other ACT suppliers. 

Understanding your power bill can be tricky as there is a lot of data, but overall the base information is your daily power usage and the service charge.

Your daily usage is the average of your power consumption for that billing period. It will be shown in cents per kWh. This might be shown in multiple sections with different rates per kWh shown alongside if your tariffs are broken over different types i.e peak, off-peak and controlled loads. 

The supply charge you have is a fixed price no matter how much energy you consume. 

Both the rates of use (Kwh) and the charge rates are handy to use when comparing prices to other providers.

As well as your supply charge, your bill will show you a comparison of your use to others in your area. To get an accurate measure of where you sit in terms of average electricity use, read the rates for users who have similar household numbers to you.

If you don’t know where to start you can try an energy monitor to track your electricity usage and learn how much power you are using as well as when you use it. All you need is a smart meter or meter attachment to get started. 

Electricity Costs 

The exact cost of electricity per kWh is constantly evolving particularly in current circumstances where a number of reforms have passed surrounding ACT energy, in particular a push towards fully renewable energy. If you have been with the same energy provider for some time (i.e. ActewAGL) it might be worth checking to see how they compare in this new and more competitive market.

For example, as of November 2023, EnergyAustralia offered no discounts or sign-up specials and had prices equal to the Government reference price, making a standard energy bill for a 2-person home $2,155 for the year.

Compare that to the best offer with Origin Energy, who had prices 30% less than the reference cap, bringing the same 2-person dwelling annual energy bill down to $1,506.

The table below is a guide only as usage and tariffs change and may differ from suburb to suburb. Average energy use in Canberra is taken from a 2-person home using standard residential connections and 6,100kWh of energy per year.

ACT Electricity ProviderDifference from Reference PriceAnnual Price Estimate using 6,100 kWh per year
Origin Energy30% Less $1,506
Red Energy23% Less $1,658
ActewAGL16% Less $1,812
CovaU12% Less $1,834
Amber Electric11% Less $1,870
Nectr5% Less $1,995
Energy Locals6% Less $2,031
EnergyAustraliaEqual$2,155

Data from Canstar Blue November 2023. Final figures show basic plans and factors in customers being eligible for any conditional discounts offered such as $50 off when you refer a friend.

Where Canberra gets its electricity

Canberra’s entire electricity supply is purchased from renewable sources including solar, wind and hydro-power stations throughout NSW and SA, in particular the giant Hornsdale Wind Farm in South Australia. 

To achieve this, the ACT government offers attractive contracts to their suppliers, going above the standard market price to lock in supply, with payments to renewable suppliers.

How to save money on electricity

A study conducted by Monash University in December 2023 showed that the biggest changes can be made in homes built before 2003. Energy improvements can be made by insulating ceilings, floors and walls, installing black-out curtains or roller shutters, using electric heat pumps and investing in double-glazing. 

Other suggestions were to replace gas cooking and hot water with electric appliances and adding rooftop solar panels. Canberra has now stopped all new gas connections (effective 08 December 2023) saving an average four-person household as much as $2,500 a year in energy bills.

Other ways you can save on energy bills are to:

Install energy-efficient lighting

Changing to energy-efficient light bulbs is a highly effective way to reduce your energy consumption. Although they cost a little more upfront, the $4 price tag is nothing compared to the additional $250 that halogen bulbs can cost you over a year.

Dress for the conditions

Many households aim to maintain an indoor temperature between 22 and 24  all year long, which puts a lot of pressure on your heating and cooling systems. Set your heating low, between 18 and 20 degrees and wear a jumper indoors in cooler months. Through summer set your cooling high, around 25 or 26 degrees.

Lock the weather out

Installing or updating the insulation batts in your roof is a cost-effective and easy way to regulate your indoor temperature, saving as much as 45% on your power usage. Close your curtains and shutters to keep the sun and chill off windows and use draft stoppers to keep out cold.

Set your whitegoods to a comfortable zone

Set your freezer and fridge for mid-range rather than the coldest setting. With your TV check the brightness setting and make sure it’s not on maximum power-draining levels.

Switch on eco

Most modern appliances like washing machines and dishwashers come with eco settings that can help reduce your power bills with regular use. When washing clothes use the right water setting for the volume of clothes and wash in cold water as often as possible. 

Turn appliances off at the wall

The small act of turning off powerpoints or unplugging items that are not in use, like TVs, computers, microwaves and chargers can save as much as $100 a year. While it might be tricky to remember to do, smart power boards can help by cutting standby power. 

Go solar

Solar panels on your roof can help reduce your average power bills in Canberra as well as your carbon footprint. You can choose to send any unused power back to the main grid to help cover the costs of your solar investment.

Look for the best deal

If reducing your electricity usage doesn’t help you can also look at providers to see if a better deal is available. You can take advantage of the federal government’s Energy Made Easy website to easily compare prices between electricity providers.

Canberra is in a unique position with electricity, having 100% sustainable power sources.

When it comes to your electricity usage, there is probably more you have control of than you realise, even a small effort can help reduce your power usage and the right provider can offer a deal to match your user patterns. Ebbs and flow of the market will continue to have an impact on electricity tariffs, no matter who your provider is, with some companies doing more work than others to make their electricity provision attractive to new customers.

If you have further questions about how electricity billing works in the ACT, or if you need any assistance in boosting your home’s energy efficiency, Complete Electrical are your local Canberra electricians for reliable and trustworthy service.


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