Average Electricity Costs per kWh

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We all use electricity – whether you’re watching TV, blasting the air con or just boiling the kettle, you’re adding to your power bill. The cost of using electricity is generally referred to as a ‘usage charge’. These charges are measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh), with most electricity retailers charging between 25 and 40 cents per kWh, depending on your state and electricity tariff.

Usage charges can make up a significant proportion of your electricity bill, depending on how you use power, so it’s important to read your energy price fact sheet and make sure you’re receiving the best price per kWh. But what exactly is a good price? In this article, Canstar Blue breaks down the average electricity costs per kWh by state.

Electricity Prices per kWh by State

Electricity usage rates can vary from state to state, and even within different parts of the same state. There are a number of reasons for this, but for the purposes of this article it’s enough to know that the average price of electricity per kWh in Victoria won’t be the same as in New South Wales. Below we’ve listed the typical electricity usage rates across QLD, VIC, SA and NSW. This was done by calculating the average usage rates of flagship market offer contracts from six leading electricity retailers – AGL, Origin Energy, EnergyAustralia, Red Energy, Click Energy and Alinta Energy. Prices are shown in cents per kWh.

State Average Electricity Usage Rates (per kWh)
VIC 23.272c/kWh
QLD 23.545c/kWh
NSW 27.56c/kWh
SA 37.62c/kWh

Prices based on single rate electricity tariffs for selected postcodes in each state, August 2019.

As you can see, South Australians are the hardest hit when it comes to the average per kWh price of using power. And to add salt to the wounds, South Australians often miss out on big discounts and bonus perks. Households in Queensland and Victoria generally pay the lowest prices per kWh.

It’s important to realise that the price you pay per kWh is only a fraction of your electricity bill. Another, often larger contributor to your power bill, is what’s known as a fixed or supply charge – a daily fee that applies regardless of how much electricity you’ve used, if any. It’s also important to consider discounts. While some discounts are seemingly there to mask terrible rates, there are plenty of energy deals with big discounts that really do offer genuine value.

As you can see, there’s a lot to consider and calculating the cheapest electricity deal for you isn’t that simple. Fortunately, Canstar Blue has done the calculations for you. You can use the tool below to find the cheapest electricity deal in your area.

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What do kWh costs look like in real terms?

Comparing kWh costs between providers and plans is clearly a smart move, but with the extra complication of conditional discounts, working out which plan is cheapest for you is still a real challenge, especially when the way discounts are applied is not universal across the board. For instance, some providers only apply their discounts to usage rates, while other include both usage and supply charges. To help you turn typical kWh usage costs into actual cost estimates for what you can expect to pay, consider the following tables where we show some of the cheapest deals on our database for a selected postcode in each state. Use our comparison tool above for specific quotes in your area.

NSW Electricity Costs

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 costs are based on the Ausgrid network in Sydney but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. See here for further information on the Reference Price, which in this comparison assumes general energy usage of 3900kWh/year, meaning the Reference Price is $1,467/year. Use our comparison tool for a specific comparison. These are products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Brand Features Price(estimated˜)
ReAmped Logo
Basic Plan Information

ReAmped Handshake

No Conditional Discounts

19% LessThan Reference Price^^ $1,192

Go To Site
Simply Energy Logo
Basic Plan Information

Simply NRMA

No Conditional Discounts

Other Features:

  • Price includes $160 first anniversary credit
  • $60/year credit thereafter
18% LessThan Reference Price^^ $1,207 Go To Site
Powershop Logo
Basic Plan Information

Shopper Market Offer

Conditional Discounts

  • 15% less than Reference Price for purchasing the Mega Pack
EqualTo Reference Price^^ $1,247
incl. conditional discount
Go To Site
Sumo Power Logo
Basic Plan Information

Sumo Select

Conditional Discounts

  • 15% less than Reference Price for paying on time
Equal
To Reference Price^^
$1,249
incl. conditional discount
Go To Site
Energy Locals Logo
Basic Plan Information

Online Saver

Conditional Discounts

  • Price includes $84/year bonus credit for paying on time
8% LessThan Reference Price^^ $1,272
incl. conditional discount
Go To Site
EnergyAustralia Logo
Basic Plan Information

Total Plan Home

No Conditional Discounts

Other Features:

  • Fixed rates for 12 months
13% LessThan Reference Price^^ $1,280 Go to Site
View all electricity plans listed on Canstar Blue

Victoria Electricity Costs

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 costs are based on the Citipower network in Melbourne but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. See here for further information on the VDO, which in this comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year, meaning that the VDO is $1,334/year. Use our comparison tool for a specific comparison. These are products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Brand Features Price(estimated˜)
Globird Logo
Energy Fact Sheet

EasySave

No Conditional Discounts

Other Features: 

  • Direct debit, e-billing only
13% LessThan VDO› $1,162 Go to Site
Lumo Logo
Energy Fact Sheet

Lumo Value 5

Conditional Discounts

  • Further 5% less than VDO for paying on time and direct debit
7% LessThan VDO› $1,174
incl. conditional discount
Go To Site
Simply Energy Logo
Energy Fact Sheet

Simply RACV

No Conditional Discounts

Other Features:

  • Price includes $150 first anniversary credit
  • $50/year credit thereafter
11% LessThan VDO› $1,187 Go To Site
Powershop Logo
Energy Fact Sheet

Shopper Market Offer

Conditional Discounts

  • Reduces to 10% less than VDO for purchasing the Mega Pack
17% MoreThan VDO› $1,199
incl. conditional discount
Go To Site
Energy Locals LogoEnergy Fact Sheet

Online Saver

Conditional Discounts

  • Price includes $84/year bonus credit for paying on time
2% LessThan VDO› $1,217
incl. conditional discount
Go to Site
Momentum Energy Logo
Energy Fact Sheet

Smile Power Flexi

No Conditional Discounts

7% Less Than VDO› $1,238 Go To Site
View all electricity plans listed on Canstar Blue

QLD Electricity Costs

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 costs are based on the Energex network in Brisbane but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. See here for further information on the Reference Price, which in this comparison assumes general energy usage of 4600kWh/year, meaning the Reference Price is $1,570/year. Use our comparison tool for a specific comparison. These are products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Brand Features Price(estimated**)
Powershop Logo
Basic Plan Information

Shopper Market Offer

Conditional Discounts

  • Further 15% less than Reference Price for purchasing the Mega Pack
1% LessThan Reference Price^^ $1,322
incl. conditional discount
Go To Site
ReAmped Logo
Basic Plan Information

Residential Anytime

No Conditional Discounts

16% LessThan Reference Price^^ $1,323

Go To Site
Alinta Energy Logo
Basic Plan Information

No Fuss

No Conditional Discounts

14% LessThan Reference Price^^ $1,344 Go To Site
LPE Logo
Basic Plan Information

Principal Rate

No Conditional Discounts

11% LessThan Reference Price^^ $1,397

Go To Site
EnergyAustralia Logo
Basic Plan Information

Total Plan Home

No Conditional Discounts

Other Features:

  • Fixed rates for 12 months
10% Less Than Reference Price^^ $1,413 Go to Site
Simply Energy Logo
Basic Plan Information

Simply RACQ

No Conditional Discounts

Other Features:

  • Price includes $60/year credit
10% LessThan Reference Price^^ $1,414 Go To Site
View all electricity plans listed on Canstar Blue

SA Electricity Costs

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 costs are based on SA Power network in Adelaide but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. See here for further information on the Reference Price, which in this comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year, meaning the Reference Price is $1,941/year. Use our comparison tool for a specific comparison. These are products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Brand Features Price(estimated**)
Powershop Logo
Basic Plan Information

Shopper Market Offer

Conditional Discounts

  • 15% less than Reference Price for purchasing the Mega Pack
EqualTo Reference Price^^ $1,648
incl. conditional discount
Go To Site
Simply Energy Logo
Basic Plan Information

Simply RAA

No Conditional Discounts

Other Features:

  • Price includes $260 first anniversary credit
  • $60/year credit thereafter
13% LessThan Reference Price^^ $1,687 Go To Site
Alinta Energy Logo
Basic Plan Information

No Fuss

No Conditional Discounts

9% LessThan Reference Price^^ $1,771 Go To Site
Momentum Energy Logo
Basic Plan Information

Smile Power Flexi

No Conditional Discounts

9% LessThan Reference Price^^ $1,774 Go To Site
Red Energy Logo
Basic Plan Information

Easy Saver

Conditional Discounts

  • 7% less than Reference Price for paying on time
3% MoreThan Reference Price^^ $1,801
incl. conditional discount
Go To Site
Lumo Logo
Basic Plan Information

Lumo Basic

No Conditional Discounts

6% LessThan Reference Price^^ $1,832 Go To Site
View all electricity plans listed on Canstar Blue

Where do I find electricity kWh usage rates?

Energy retailers are required to publish the exact details of their electricity products in their price fact sheets. In these documents, you will find all the details you need to make an informed decision about that retailer. While energy price fact sheets can differ between providers, the details about electricity usage costs per kWh usually appear at the top of the page. The below example from an Origin Energy price fact sheet shows how usage rates per kWh are displayed.

Origin Price Fact Sheet

You will notice that there are two columns showing electricity usage costs per kWh – one excluding GST and the other including GST. Be sure to focus on the electricity usage rates that include GST as this will be what you actually pay. Don’t be too distracted by the time of use tariffs quoted above – these would only apply to you if you have a flexible pricing tariff.

Who sets electricity usage rates?

Electricity usage charges are deregulated in most states, which means energy companies like AGL and Origin set the per kWh price for electricity. Retailers don’t set prices arbitrarily however. Rather, prices largely reflect the ‘wholesale price’ of electricity. The wholesale price is what electricity providers pay generators for electricity, which retailers then on-sell to everyday customers. Wholesale prices change every 30 minutes, and because there are limitations on how and when electricity companies can change their prices, retailers try to predict how the wholesale price will behave when setting the price per kWh to charge customers. Canstar Blue has a more detailed overview of how electricity prices are set here.

How often do electricity usage rates change?

Energy Usage History

Electricity rates generally change every 12 months for most customers, though it depends on whether you’re on a “standing offer” or a “market offer”. Customers on a standard contract are guaranteed by law that their electricity charges won’t increase more than once every 12 months. On the other hand, customers on a market offer may technically have their rates adjusted at any time, provided they are given written notice in advance. Regardless, most retailers only change their market offer rates once per year. In Victoria, the price per kWh is updated around January, while the rest of the country can expect rate changes around July.

The electricity contracts we’ve just described are referred to as “variable rate plans”. That is to say, the electricity company can vary your rates. The much less common alternative is called a “fixed rate plan”. Customers on a fixed rate plan receive a guarantee that their electricity prices won’t increase for a fixed period of time – usually two years. Only a handful of retailers offer fixed rate deals, and while they may be more expensive upfront, they can potentially save you in the long term if power prices continue to climb.

How do I find the best kWh price for power?

The fact you’ve found our website means you’re already half way to finding a great deal on electricity. When comparing electricity products, it’s important not to become tunnel-visioned by big discounts or low usage rates. When looking for a new deal, you should balance a range of considerations including rates, discounts, perks and any additional contract terms. It’s also valuable to have an energy company that looks after its customers. That’s why Canstar Blue asks Australians every year how satisfied they are with their electricity company. See which retailer tops the list in your state by following the link below.

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