44% of Aussies are willing to reduce energy use even without incentives

A new study revealed attitudes towards household energy use has changed among Aussies since the beginning of the pandemic.

The survey conducted by Energy Consumers Australia found COVID-19 played a major part in shaping consumer behaviour, with more than two fifths of respondents reporting they’re keen to reduce their power use. Surprisingly, many of which (44%) said they’d do so even without a financial incentive.

These findings highlight a shift in how and when Australians consume energy, particularly during peak demand periods, Energy Consumers Australia Chief Executive Lynne Gallagher explained.

“This suggests that there is a latent willingness in the majority of households to moderate their energy use during times of system stress,” she said. “Tapping into this reservoir of goodwill in ways that do not negatively impact consumers should be a key goal for energy system leaders and decision makers.”

Households in the nation’s capital were the most willing (54%) to reduce their energy usage without compensation, followed by Queenslanders (50%) and New South Wales (45%).

Only 30 per cent stated they would need to be financially rewarded for their efforts to cut back on power use.

Despite this eagerness to cut back, many reported that they’re concerned about ploughing through more power in the next five to 10 years. The biggest energy woes for consumers were revealed as cooling (24%), heating (17%) and air conditioning used to keep a pet comfortable or healthy (29%).

In fact, two in five respondents already noted an increase in their heating and cooling use since the start of the pandemic.

“We can see just how much COVID-19 has changed our energy behaviour as a nation, from the food we eat and how we store it to our use of heating and cooling and the appliances we are buying and intending to buy,” Ms Gallagher added.

30 per cent of households reported they purchased a large appliance in the past 12 months, while a third of respondents said they now own more than two fridges or freezers.

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Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Ausgrid network in Sydney but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 3900kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Citipower network in Melbourne but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Energex network in Brisbane but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4600kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the SA Power network in Adelaide but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

What do Aussies use the most energy on?

The national survey also highlighted some trends relating to household appliances as well as which devices can potentially help customers decrease energy costs around the home.

Ms Gallagher said: “Understanding when and how consumers are using energy is key to exploring how we can design a modern energy system that does not cause them inconvenience or frustration.

“It can allow those who run the system to provide customers with choices and rewards for using energy in different ways — helping us transition to a clean energy system that is affordable for everyone because it avoids unnecessary infrastructure investment.”

The survey concluded the following;

  • Air conditioners were more commonly used (36%) during the afternoon or evening from 3pm to 8pm.
  • The most popular time to run a pool pump was from 9am to 3pm (40%)
  • Washing machines, dishwashers, dryers and other large appliances were typically run throughout the day (35%)
  • Aussies felt it was easier to change the time they use their pool pump as opposed to changing air conditioner use
  • The majority (63%) believe it would be very easy or easy to change the time they use their large appliances to one when electricity demand is low

Although there’s a clear interest in changing habits, the execution of these behavioural changes may meet some challenges as just over half of respondents (51%) still do not own a smart meter, limiting their access to flexible pricing tariffs and energy usage monitoring tools.

Are Aussies as eager to electrify homes and vehicles as projected?

Despite projections for an electric uptake in Australia over the next few years, it appears that many households are still on the fence when it comes to ditching gas for their homes and vehicles.

Only 9 per cent of households have seriously considered cancelling their gas supply and running on electric only, with the vast majority still using gas stove tops (81%).

The interest in home solar battery systems had increased though, with 21 per cent saying they would consider buying one in future. A small portion of motorists also noted that they would think about ditching petrol for an electric vehicle (EV) in future (18%).

As for the latest tech gadgets such as smart thermostats and home energy monitoring systems, only a small portion (15%) of households were interested in this kind of technology to help manage energy bills.


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