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)
QLD 27.6246c/kWh
VIC 28.2461c/kWh
NSW 33.1118c/kWh
SA 42.8816c/kWh

Prices based on single rate electricity tariffs for selected postcodes in each state, August 2018.
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.

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 the cheapest published deals from the retailers currently on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These costs are based on a typical three-person household living on the Ausgrid network in Sydney, but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of price. Use our comparison tool above for a specific comparison in your area. These are sponsored products.

Brand Features Benefit Period Annual Cost**
Alinta Energy Logo

Basic Plan Information

Fair Deal 27

  • 27% pay on time discount off usage charges
2 YearsBenefit Period $1,514.71Annual Cost** Go To Site
Momentum Energy Logo
Basic Plan Information

SmilePower Flexi

  • No conditional discounts
OngoingBenefit Period $1,519.12Annual Cost** Go To Site
Simply Energy Logo
Basic Plan Information

Simply NRMA Plus

  • 21% pay on time discount off usage charges for eligible NRMA members
2 YearsBenefit Period $1,528.93Annual Cost** Go To Site
Powershop Logo
Basic Plan Information

Mega Pack

  • Pre-Paid approx 3 months of power
  • 15% discount when product conditions are met
OngoingBenefit Period $1,549.70Annual Cost** Go To Site
Energy Locals Logo
Basic Plan Information

Simple Saver

  • No conditional discount
OngoingBenefit Period $1,550.92Annual Cost** Go To Site
Dodo Power & Gas Logo
Basic Plan Information

Market Offer

  • 30% pay on time discount off usage charges
OngoingBenefit Period $1,563.00Annual Cost** Go To Site
View all electricity plans listed on Canstar Blue

Victoria Electricity Costs

Here are the cheapest published deals from the retailers currently on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These costs are based on a typical three-person household living on the Citipower network in Melbourne, but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of price. Use our comparison tool above for a specific comparison in your area. These are sponsored products.

Brand Features Benefit Period Annual Cost**
Simply Energy Logo

Simply RACV Plus

  • 45% pay on time discount off usage charges for eligible RACV members
2 YearsBenefit Period $1,039.44Annual Cost** Go To Site
Dodo Power & Gas Logo

Market Offer

  • 40% pay on time discount off usage charges
OngoingBenefit Period $1,124.43Annual Cost** Go To Site
Alinta Energy Logo

Fair Saver 35

  • 35% guaranteed discount off usage charges
2 YearsBenefit Period $1,133.24Annual Cost** Go To Site
Click Logo

Click Garnet

  • 27% discount off usage & supply charges for paying on time
OngoingBenefit Period $1,149.06Annual Cost^^ Go To Site
Powershop Logo

Mega Pack

  • Pre-Paid approx 3 months of power
  • 23.2% discount when product conditions are met
OngoingBenefit Period $1,178.41Annual Cost** Go To Site
Red Energy Logo

Living Energy Saver

  • 10% pay on time discount off entire bill
OngoingBenefit Period $1,222.17Annual Cost** Go To Site
View all electricity plans listed on Canstar Blue

QLD Electricity Costs

Here are the cheapest published deals from the retailers currently on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These costs are based on a typical three-person household living on the Energex network in Brisbane, but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of price. Use our comparison tool above for a specific comparison in your area. These are sponsored products.

Brand Features Benefit Period Annual Cost**
Alinta Energy Logo

Basic Plan Information

HomeSaver Plus

  • 28% pay on time discount off usage charges
2 YearsBenefit Period $1,411.50Annual Cost** Go To Site
Powershop Logo
Basic Plan Information

Mega Pack

  • Pre-Paid approx 3 months of power
  • 15% discount when product conditions are met
OngoingBenefit Period $1,412.12Annual Cost** Go To Site
Click Logo
Basic Plan Information

Click Amethyst

  • 27% discount off usage & supply charges for paying on time
OngoingBenefit Period $1,428.89Annual Cost^^ Go To Site
Simply Energy Logo
Basic Plan Information

Simply RACQ Plus

  • 21% pay on time discount off usage charges for eligible RACQ members
2 YearsBenefit Period $1,481.41Annual Cost** Go To Site
Energy Locals Logo
Basic Plan Information

Simple Saver

  • No conditional discount
OngoingBenefit Period $1,502.35Annual Cost** Go To Site
Dodo Power & Gas Logo
Basic Plan Information

Market Offer

  • 25% pay on time discount off usage charges
OngoingBenefit Period $1,554.44Annual Cost** Go To Site
View all electricity plans listed on Canstar Blue

SA Electricity Costs

Here are the cheapest published deals from the retailers currently on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These costs are based on a typical three-person household living on the SA Power network in Adelaide, but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of price. Use our comparison tool above for a specific comparison in your area. These are sponsored products.

Brand Features Benefit Period Annual Cost**
Energy Locals Logo
Basic Plan Information

Simple Saver

  • No conditional discount
OngoingBenefit Period $2,041.39Annual Cost^^ Go To Site
Simply Energy Logo
Basic Plan Information

Simply RAA Plus

  • 21% pay on time discount off usage charges for eligible RAA members
2 YearsBenefit Period $2,070.72Annual Cost** Go To Site
Momentum Energy Logo
Basic Plan Information

SmilePower Flexi

  • No conditional discounts
OngoingBenefit Period $2,101.51Annual Cost** Go To Site
Alinta Energy Logo

Basic Plan Information

Fair Deal 25

  • 25% pay on time discount off usage charges
2 YearsBenefit Period $2,132.13Annual Cost** Go To Site
Dodo Power & Gas Logo
Basic Plan Information

Market Offer

  • 25% pay on time discount off usage charges
OngoingBenefit Period $2,166.36Annual Cost** Go To Site
Red Energy Logo
Basic Plan Information

Easy Saver 10%

  • 10% pay on time discount off entire bill
OngoingBenefit Period $2,247.56Annual Cost** 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.

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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.

Compare Electricity Providers

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