Piggy bank on heater with glasses on.

Aussie households reveal their energy saving habits to help keep costs down

More than fourth-fifths of Aussies were switched on when it came to saving energy in the home throughout the current energy crisis, according to new data from Canstar. 

Although ongoing market volatility has and will continue to plague electricity and natural gas pricing well into the next year, a large majority of Aussie households appear well-equipped with energy reducing habits to help minimise their costs where possible. 

In the last 12 months alone, a whopping 85% of Aussies revealed they had made changes around the home in an effort to reduce their energy costs, as reported in Canstar’s 2022 Consumer Pulse Report.

The most popular energy saving habit for Aussies was frequently switching off the lights in their home (72%). This was followed by switching appliances off at the wall (54%), washing clothes in cold water (52%) and reducing shower times (46%). 

Despite rising prices and earlier pleas from some smaller providers to find a cheaper deal, only 13% of households said that they had switched providers in the last 12 months in an effort to reduce costs. 

However, one-third of Aussies did reveal that they had taken advantage of a utilities concession or rebate to help cut down on their energy costs. 

The data follows the announcement of a price cap for wholesale natural gas and coal prices from the Albanese Government as a means to reduce the impact of rising electricity and natural gas prices for households and businesses throughout 2023-2024. 

In 2022 electricity plan prices rose by about 33% on average for households in Australia, according to Canstar Blue’s database. Natural gas plan prices saw a smaller increase of only 11% across the board. 

As for quarterly bills, households reported a $16 jump on electricity bills since 2021, sitting at an average of $371 across the nation. Natural gas bills rose by about $31 in the last 12 months, seeing an average of $265 a quarter for households.

Compare Cheap Electricity Deals

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 3911kWh/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 4613kWh/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 4011kWh/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 are the other ways in which Aussie households are reducing their energy costs?

According to the latest Canstar data, the most popular habits or lifestyle changes adopted by households to help reduce electricity and/or natural gas costs in the last 12 months were as follows: 

  • Switching off lights frequently: 72%
  • Switching off appliances at the wall: 54%
  • Washing clothes in cold water: 52%
  • Reducing shower times: 46%
  • Reducing dryer usage: 37%
  • Taking advantage of a rebate or concession: 33%
  • Switching to solar: 14%
  • Switching electricity or gas providers: 13%
  • Installing a smart meter and switching to a time of use tariff: 8%
  • Upgrading energy efficiency through insulation, windows, lighting and/or blinds: 8%
  • Installing a battery to store self-generated energy, such as solar: 7%  

Worried about your energy bills in the new year? Here’s some things you can do to prepare

If you are concerned about what 2023 might hold for your energy costs then you are not alone. Among the top three financial concerns for Aussies for 2023 was the cost of electricity and natural gas, according to Canstar’s latest consumer survey. This was alongside the price of groceries and the cost of rent. 

Tara Donnelly, Canstar Blue’s Utilities Editor, said in order to stay ahead, it may help to consider your options for energy saving sooner rather than later.

“The new year is a great time to reflect on those budgets and see where you could be reducing your costs, and what better place to start than your electricity or natural gas bill,” she said.

“If you can’t remember the last time you compared prices then it is probably worth jumping online and checking out the different options in your area – you may find you’re paying much more than you need to. Particularly if you are still on a standing offer.”

Standing offers are the default, or in most states and territories, the regulated price for power. In New South Wales, south-east Queensland and South Australia, this is referred to as the Reference Price, while in Victoria, it’s called the Victorian Default Offer (VDO)

Market offers are often a cheaper alternative to these standing offers, and use discounts, whether that be in the form of cheaper usage and supply rates or conditional discounts such as paying on time, to make a more attractive deal for households. 

Simply making the switch from a standing to market offer could help Aussie households save up to $400 a year in energy costs, according to an earlier report from the Australian Energy Regulator (AER).

“In a recent Canstar survey, 55 per cent of Aussies said they were on either a fixed or variable rate market offer, which was a positive increase on the 44 per cent of households recorded in 2021,” Ms Donnelly explained. 

“In saying that, there were still about 19 per cent of respondents that said they were on a standing offer. This means that almost two in 10 households are potentially paying more than they need to for electricity.”

Finding the cheapest price, however, isn’t the only way to help reduce energy costs in the home. In some cases, it may be just as beneficial to keep an eye on the ways you are using your energy, Ms Donnelly added. 

“If you are confident you are on the best possible price for electricity in your area, then it might be time to start looking into ways to reduce or conserve your energy usage where possible,” she said. “This could be through the use of smart power boards, which can detect when an appliance is using standby power and switch it off to conserve energy, or adjusting your heating and cooling temperatures to their optimal limit to avoid extra usage.

“Understanding where your energy is being used each day and night will help to eliminate any unnecessary usage. If you have a smart meter, your provider may have a free app you can download to help you track your usage, or a home energy monitor will also do the trick.” 


Image credit: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock.com

Kelseigh Wrigley
Energy Specialist
Kelseigh Wrigley was a content producer at Canstar Blue for three years until 2024, most recently as an Energy Specialist. She holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the Queensland University of Technology.

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