Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
chrisg

Electricity costs in Australia

Recommended Posts

Wow...

 

I've only just had to recently work out the cost of running various appliances at the rather high costs we pay for power these days in Australia for the first time in a number of years.

 

First I had some ridiculously high bills in W.A. as in veered from $300ish for one bill to not much under a thousand the next. We were absolutely certain we had not changed our usage habits at all, novery little aircon, very little heating and it sort of balanced out across the year anyway.

 

Called the power company and asked for a meter reading, whole other story but the meter was within tolerances. The company started saying we had an appliance using huge amounts. Um no, but to prove it I went around the house and clamp metered everything, bar the lights which were a constant anyway and low consumption stuff. Obtained the specs on everything, all well within tolerance after some basic arithmetic. They wanted us to turn everything off and then turn on one at a time and watch the meter. Bloody Heath Robinson, my way is more accurate and industry standard but the power company is a billing animal,  accountants, would not know electricity unless it gave them a shock. The poles and wires are a separate company.

 

In the end I came up with a rather huge difference between what our stuff was using and what the meter was recording.

 

The house was a bit of a disaster zone really but to my surprise a sparkie mate told me older places can have bloody large losses in the wiring.

 

Well, it's either that or someone was stealing power off us - the meter is about 100 metres from the house, under current building code illegal, but probably not when it was built but the point being it would be readily accessible to some nefarious person. Transmission losses on old power cable is probably not pretty but it's a constant, so the suspect is the property itself. Rather bizarre, I've placed it with the ombudsman, we'll see I guess, might have to go to court.

 

Then I move to S.A. and am temporarily looking after my mother. just after I arrived she had to go onto 24/7 oxygen at home.

 

Today she received her power bill, almost exactly matching the time since she started with the oxygen.

 

Practically needed pure oxy for her when she saw the bill, much higher than usual.

 

I thought, what am I using ? Well a lappie and a phone charger in the end, she has lights on everywhere because of macro-degeneration to help her see and both her cooking and hot water are electricity but they have been for years. We don't cook any longer for two than one and my showers had better not be costing hundreds of dollars. In fact that was sort of a swap anyway, she has to wash using some special soap stuff mostly, can't always stand up long enough, or even sit, in a shower. (Yes, I know she should be in care, persuading her that is the prognosis is not easy.) So the amount of hot water used has not changed much.

 

The remaining thing had to be the mains oxygen concentrator, she has a portable one as well but the mains one is on 24/7 with only short periods off when she goes out with the portable.

 

Look up its specs, grab her bill to get the kw/h cost, 38 cents, bloody expensive but S.A. is about the most expensive place on earth for power.

 

Run the numbers - the thing costs about $297 per quarter to run.

 

No wonder her bill went up.

 

Geez... the benevolent government gives her $170 per annum towards power for the thing...

 

She is on a high care package, government initiative to keep people in their homes longer, it's quite generous but gets burned through on carers (not me, there is some government benefit I could claim, haven't bothered yet) and other bits and pieces. I think there is enough to cover this power gouge as well though - better be otherwise she might as well move to hospital and breathe their oxygen.

 

I do recall when power bills in this country were down in the noise, just paid it, not any more.

 

Cheers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The first fuckover was when they introduced the connection charge.  Back 25 years ago I had gas heating and water so the electrical was generally a $60 per quarter affair with the gas being 2-4 times that depending on the season.

 

The second fuckover was the GST.  Sure, better than the debacle that was sales tax but not exactly fair putting it onto an essential service that was previously not attracting it.

 

The third fuckover is the price hikes which have been well over CPI for more than the last 5 years, and longer for some.  The price here has practically doubled in the last few years.

It wasn't so long ago that I was paying under $200, then it became $320ish and now the usual is over $400 per quarter.  OK, I like to be comfortable and run AC and heater to make sure that's the case.

 

The price here per kWh isn't as bad as much of Aus but a big part is that there was a price negotiation that kept it low for longer than many areas.

 

Got a few old bills here - I had offpeak water until about 3 years ago when it blew and was replaced by a conventional system.

Top rate per kWh over the years - 2007 12.1 cents, 2009 12.9 cents, 2014 19.164 cents, 2017 19.78 cents, 2018 22.76 cents

 

The lower rate has generally risen even more - in the "good ol days" like 10 years ago you'd have an offpeak of well under 10 cents but that's ancient history now.

 

The next fuckover - smart meters but they're not here yet.  From what I've heard some places have peak rates over 40 cents per kWh.

 

But Oxygen... you just have to wonder, would it be cheaper to just get it delivered in bottles?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sure am happy I sprung for the pv last year. Last quarter's bill was $6!

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is the primary reason we installed and thrice upgraded our solar system -  and 11.5 kW system just to try and minimise our huge  power bills.  A system that large seems ridiculous at frist glance - but not economically.  Have six people at home, and plenty of cooking and washing and a never ideally insulated weatherboard house with large ducted air conditioners and a pool and one is poised for annual bills over $4,000.  So if you can correctly sized solar can save you a packet!

 

Cheers to everyone still here - it's sure been a while!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I understand it correctly for those of us without solar  have to pay for the people that do because the electricity companies are, by law, allowed to charge whatever it takes to make a return on their network. That's probably somewhat simplified but I think it's going to get hard for those without solar in the near future. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The network charge is whatever fantasy number they make out it to be, I think the actual usage is secondary when it comes to actual bill these days. For some providers, the network charge can be 50% of your bill.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One from a few years ago says $68 for 90 days.  So add in GST and the 2 things combined is almost 1/3rd of the total.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey G'Day  🙂

 

Living in rentals the past few years no real option for solar, owners don't see the point.

 

They might soon at mother's place, owned by Anglicare, gets her water for nix to encourage looking after the garden for example but private owners tend to be skinflints.

 

Cheers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, fliptopia said:

If I understand it correctly for those of us without solar  have to pay for the people that do because the electricity companies are, by law, allowed to charge whatever it takes to make a return on their network. 

 

That's a fine story, but then consider the other side: why should someone pay for a service they don't use?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Solar in most cases does use the infrastructure, by pumping out into the local part of the grid.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
56 minutes ago, Rybags said:

Solar in most cases does use the infrastructure, by pumping out into the local part of the grid.

 

True.  Because they pay us for the juice.  If there were no feed-in tariff, there would be more off-grid installations - which would make things worse for people not on solar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Cybes said:

 

That's a fine story, but then consider the other side: why should someone pay for a service they don't use?

Drop roads and health and schools into that and you'd have almost the perfect Libertarian response 😆

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Cybes said:

 

That's a fine story, but then consider the other side: why should someone pay for a service they don't use?

 

Which is a valid point of view but you still have to look after the people who can't afford to pay for the entire network when everyone who can afford to leave just ups and goes. It's like if helicopters became affordable (and flyable) by a lot of people and the remainder had to pick up the tab for all the roads. 

 

Originally there was a subsidy for low income earners but I don't know if it still exists and if it does I doubt it is keeping up with the inflation of prices. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is off-grid even an option in urban areas?  From what I've heard, a blackout is a blackout for a solar battery backed system as well because the unit has to sync to the incoming AC phase and if it's not there it shuts off.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Heh

 

As usual the left hand does not know what the right is doing.

 

My mother is on a level 4 care package which is sort of one side of a full time care situation, in a facility or with full-time in-house nursing - that or call the undertaker I guess.

 

The package covers the cost of her oxy concentrator but the package is administered by the care agency, a private concern who don't really seem to know much and don't know if it covers the implicit power.

 

It may not but the DHS site has a schedule of payments for in-home oxygen. Question that the site does not make clear is if that amount is part of level 4 or in addition.

 

More talking to robots I guess....

 

The government is trying very hard to keep people at home and out of the over-crowded hospitals -laudable in a way but they don't seem to have it coordinated, instead it is part-administered by all and sundry. Keeping people employed I guess.

 

The amount of money being spent to keep her alive is rather large, can only presume it is less than putting her into a home.

 

Cheers

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Nich... said:

Drop roads and health and schools into that and you'd have almost the perfect Libertarian response 😆

 

The examples of those I have to pay for are non-profit government organs, paid for by tax.  If you want to renationalise the grid and move infrastructure maintenance to tax, I'll gladly chip in for it.  Propping up a bunch of shareholders, though, can go get fuxked.

 

1 hour ago, fliptopia said:

It's like if helicopters became affordable (and flyable) by a lot of people and the remainder had to pick up the tab for all the roads. 

 

As above, roads are usable by everyone, funded by everyone, and the finances directed solely to the furtherance thereof.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, Cybes said:

 

As above, roads are usable by everyone, funded by everyone, and the finances directed solely to the furtherance thereof.

 

But if the helicopter or teleportation machine for ridiculous argument's sake means many aren't using roads and don't want to pay for them then the remainder has to pay for them. 

 

People with solar generally can still use the grid in the event of component break down or damage. Are they not paying for the backup service? 

 

I get what you say about not lining the pockets of shareholders. Maybe some sort of buy out of the power network is one solution but I don't see it happening. Regardless of what the solution is though, people on low incomes who can't afford solar yet will be/are paying for the power network/generation when so many people with the means to buy solar reduce/stop paying power bills. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Rybags said:

Is off-grid even an option in urban areas?  From what I've heard, a blackout is a blackout for a solar battery backed system as well because the unit has to sync to the incoming AC phase and if it's not there it shuts off.

Yeah when the grid dies,grid connected solar also goes black so any line work can be done safely.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's one consideration but my thought was that the primary reason was that it has to sync to an attached phase.  IMO it somewhat devalues the point of having it - why not operate autonomously with no grid feed unless there's one incoming?  The phase thing, generally the grid does correction on the fly so no reason a solar inverter shouldn't just do the same.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I went solar a couple of years back.
Gone from $1300 quarterly bills to around $50-$300 depending which season.
Got a pool. No plumbed gas so the downstairs rooms electricity to keep warm in winter. Fireplace upstairs.

 

 

Solar rules, man.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, twinair said:

I went solar a couple of years back.
Gone from $1300 quarterly bills to around $50-$300 depending which season.
Got a pool. No plumbed gas so the downstairs rooms electricity to keep warm in winter. Fireplace upstairs.

 

 

Solar rules, man.

 

this always interests me

 

i live in a house of 3 adults and a man-child almost there

 

electricity here averages $400 per quarter; the only additional cost is gas for water heating, which is another $200, half of which is connection fees

 

when the system carks, it will be solar hot water i think, with electric on-demand back up

 

i am incredulous that people can use $1300 electricity a quarter - although we don't have a pool (we have the pacific ocean walking distance away)

 

how the fuck can people chew that much power, unless their house is woefully inefficient  ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some places have smart meters which charge 40 cents per kWh for 4 hours of the day around breakfast and dinnertime.  So, not entirely hard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
57 minutes ago, scruffy1 said:

how the fuck can people chew that much power, unless their house is woefully inefficient  ?

 

My sister has huge bills, and her place is the same construction as ours (with tiny bills even before the pv system).  Some people are inefficient.  She, her hubby, and the sprog never turn anything off: it's common for them to have every light in the house on at once, or to just walk out of a room for an extended period and leave the TV blaring.  Meanwhile, our house is in dark silence except the room(s) being used, and many appliances get turned off at the wall when not in use.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That was my thought when the bills went insane in W.A. Scruffy. $300 was a quarterly bill we were used to then suddenly it tripled with no changes we could put our finger on.

 

Made no sense and all we ever had were excuses from the power people.

 

Cheers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Rybags said:

Is off-grid even an option in urban areas?  From what I've heard, a blackout is a blackout for a solar battery backed system as well because the unit has to sync to the incoming AC phase and if it's not there it shuts off.

Then that's not off grid. Off grid means there is no mains connection whatsoever. This means an offgrid house still has power supplied from the batteries (and panels of course during the day) when the local grid goes down. It is an isolated and independent system.

My brother has this setup just up the hill from me, partly because it was going to be over $15000.00 to get mains power to his place.

 

With a grid connected house without batteries, yes the panel grid feed should turn off during a power outage so the lines are safe to work on so solar house goes dark.

 

For a house with batteries and grid feed then the grid connection should automatically disconnect in a power outage but the house can still stay powered from it's panels and batteries.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×