In the past 10 years, the average household’s electricity use has risen by about 30 per cent.It is your fault your electricity bill is expensive.
That is the message from Energex and a range of data that shows 25 per cent of Australians buy a new television each year and collectively spend millions of dollars annually to charge their phones and laptops.
The data also shows, on average, households in regional Queensland have three air conditioners installed.
Energy retailer Origin last week incurred the wrath of Premier Campbell Newman after the company unveiled plans to charge about half of its customers about an extra $400 a year on their electricity bills.
Mr Newman ordered letters be sent to government departments telling them to switch electricity providers, a move that would cost Origin about $27 million in government contracts.
But Origin corporate affairs executive general manager Phil Craig said the biggest part of a customer’s bill was network costs, which were set by Energex.
An Energex spokeswoman yesterday said the network costs were driven up by the need to build more infrastructure to support Queensland’s insatiable appetite for electricity.
The latest figures show in the past 10 years, the average household’s electricity use had risen by about 30 per cent.
The network was being built to cope with “peak demand” times, which was typically a handful of summer days in which almost every household turns on the air conditioning.
In order for the network to cope on those few days, it had to be upgraded and the cost was passed on to the consumer.
But it was not just the few hot summer days that could overwhelm the network; every day there was peak energy usage between 4pm and 8pm as people turned on their flat screen televisions and charged their smart phones and laptops.
“There has been a significant surge in the number of homes across Queensland with large screen televisions which are now in 86 per cent of homes,” the Energex spokeswoman said.
“The survey also found that 41 per cent of homes now had two or more LCD, LED or plasma televisions, while many home owners identified that their TVs were on ‘all of the time’.”
The Energy Use in the Australian Residential Sector report, published by the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, tracked energy use of Australian households every year since 1986 and forecast energy usage for every year up to 2020.
The report pointed to personal computers and larger televisions as the major contributors to growing electricity bills, with a whopping 25 per cent of people buying a new television every year.
The report found the amount of energy the average household was consuming through a television had quadrupled between 1986 and 2005 and was projected to triple between 2005 and 2020.
The other major driver of household energy use has been the rise in personal computers, laptops, smart phones and tablets.
In 1986, the energy consumption for these types of products was so low the report said it was too “negligible” to rate.
By 2005, Australians’ energy use through IT devices was 8 pilojules – or 2,222,222,222.224 kilowatt hours – and that was expected to almost double again by 2020.
It was not just new technologies pushing up people’s electricity bills – the use of energy for lighting doubled between 1986 and 2010, despite the introduction of energy saving light bulbs.
The report attributed the rise in the use of lights to houses becoming larger over the past couple of decades.
And then there is the serial offender when it comes to high electricity bills in Queensland – the air conditioner.
“Queenslanders’ love affair with the air-conditioner shows little signs of ending,” the Energex spokeswoman said.
“In fact survey forecasts that by 2017 there will be 2.4 million air-conditioners in southeast Queensland – up from the current 1.64 million – and 1.6 million air cons in regional Queensland, rising from the current 1.15 million.
“The data shows that while southeast Queensland homes have an average of two air-conditioners, in regional Queensland more than half of homes have three or more systems.”
The Australian Energy Regulator’s latest electricity bills benchmarks for residential customers report showed the average Queensland one-person household used 4030 kWh per year, a two person household 5331 kWh, a household of three 6633 kWh and a household of four used 7934 kWh.
The report showed the running of a swimming pool almost doubled the energy usage of any household.
Origin’s winter data for Queensland last year showed a swimming pool cost about $73 per quarter to run in peak times and $42 per quarter to run in off-peak times.
It also broke down the costs of other household appliances for the winter months with a clothes dryer used once a week costing $15 per quarter.
Origin estimated people would use a heater for a small room for 65 days out of every quarter at a cost of $164 to their bill. To heat an average lounge room for 65 days it cost $263.
A 42-inch plasma television, which was used for five hours per day, cost $34 per quarter.
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