Almost two in five Aussies encounter winter energy bill shock

New Canstar Blue research found that almost two-fifths of Aussies are slugged with higher energy bills in winter, adding an extra $139 on average to quarterly power costs.

Unsurprisingly it was those in cooler parts of the country who were more likely to experience seasonal price increases, with 83 per cent of Tasmanians and 71 per cent of Canberrans reporting they pay more for energy over winter and summer. It was a different story in South Australia and Queensland where only 30 per cent and 23 per cent of consumers, respectively, reported higher seasonal bills.

These findings coincide with periodic increases to household energy usage across each state and territory. The nationwide survey also uncovered that winter heating (71%) was the biggest household power guzzler, followed by the clothes dryer (16%), spa (2%) and hot water system (2%).

Despite bill stress coming at a time where many people are at home using more energy, only a small portion (13%) were willing to change their usage habits to lower household costs.

Recent data from bidmysolar supplemented these findings and revealed that Sydneysiders were among the worst at keeping their electricity bills down. The ‘solar search engine’ reported that more than a third (35%) of customers in Sydney left the lights on in rooms they weren’t using, while 39 per cent used air conditioning or heating when it wasn’t completely necessary. Plus, only 22 per cent had installed solar. In contrast, more than three quarters (78%) of consumers in Adelaide only switched the lights on in rooms they were using, while 40 per cent had installed solar at their premises.

So, who dreads seasonal energy bills the most leading in Australia? We asked 2,300 bill-paying customers to find out.

  • Tasmania: 29%
  • ACT: 25%
  • Victoria: 25%
  • New South Wales: 17%
  • South Australia: 14%
  • Western Australia: 13%
  • Queensland: 7%

Compare Energy Prices

If your bills are rising, it could be time to compare the latest energy deals and prices from a range of providers. Check out some of the cheapest electricity plans below or use our free comparison tool for specific quotes in your area.

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.

Who pays more for energy in winter?

As you can see below, location plays a big part in whether or not customers expect to pay more in winter.

State or Territory Percentage of customers reporting higher energy bills in winter
TAS 83%
ACT 71%
VIC 48%
NSW 37%
WA 32%
SA 30%
QLD 23%

Source: Canstar Blue research, May 2021 – Seasonal Energy Analysis. 2,300 survey respondents.

More bill-payers in frostier regions of Australia reported higher energy bills in winter, which is understandable given how much temperatures can drop in Tasmania and the nation’s capital. Households in warmer climates like Queensland were less likely to see larger bills over this period.

How much do energy bills increase in winter?

While Australian energy bills skyrocketed on average by $139 in winter, Canberrans, Tasmanians and South Australians reported much higher increases to their bills.

Winter energy bills by state graph

Again, it’s the warmer climate zones that stated lower average increases to bills, while most of the southern states recorded much higher added costs to their winter bills.

How to lower your winter energy bill

Other notable findings from Canstar Blue’s survey included some interesting ways Aussie consumers are saving on power once the mercury drops. Here’s what our respondents said:

  • 77% wear extra layers of clothing to avoid using the heater in winter
  • 72% dry clothes on a clothesline rather than using a clothes dryer
  • 65% open blinds or curtains to let more sunlight in during winter to heat their home
  • 44% clean the filter on their air conditioner or heater to ensure it’s running optimally
  • 23% cover hard floors with rugs for more warmth in winter

Source: Bidmysolar research, May 2021 – conducted by PureProfile. 2,010 survey respondents. 

Image credit: New Africa/Shutterstock.com

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