Have you ever received a bill, with the shock in finding that it was much bigger than you were expecting? If so, you’re not alone.

Compare the Market’s recent Bill Shock Tracker survey* found that 47% of Australians received a shock bill in the last three months that they weren’t expecting. Surprisingly, 81% of those people said it was an electricity and/or gas bill that shocked them.

There can be any number of reasons why electricity prices and bills are higher than expected, ranging from changes in energy usage to the average cost of electricity and more. However, understanding the average electricity bill can help Australians know if their bill is on par with others in their state. If not, there may be something else at play driving up the bill.

To help you understand how the average electricity bill compares between Australian states, we’ve pulled some interesting statistics and information together to form this guide. This includes:

  • The average electricity bill prices in Australia
  • Average electricity bills – a snapshot by state
  • Who pays more for electricity in Australia – Men or women?
  • The age group with the highest electricity bills in Australia
  • Electricity bill shock by state
  • Electricity bill shock by age group
  • What can impact electricity bills?

*Compare the Market commissioned PureProfile to survey 1,501 Australian adults in September 2021. Responses required a minimum of 30 responses to be considered. The ACT, TAS and NT have been excluded due to low sampling data.

The average electricity bill in Australia

To determine an average electricity bill price around Australia, we asked respondents of our Bill Shock Tracker survey how much their last quarterly electricity bill was. Based on our findings, the average quarterly electricity bill in Australia is $411.80. Let’s break that down by state.

StateAverage quarterly electricity bill
New South Wales$419.80
Queensland$389.10
Victoria$409.10
South Australia$453.70
Western Australia$339.30

Source: Compare the Market Bill Shock Tracker survey of 1,501 Australian adults, September 2021.

Average electricity bills – a snapshot by state

In addition to questions around average quarterly electricity bills, we also asked Australians who have recently been shocked by a bill, which bills have shocked them. Overwhelmingly, 81% mentioned an electricity or gas bill. This is well ahead of water bills (23%), the cost of fuel (18%), phone bills (14%) and internet bills (11%).

NSW

Average electricity bill NSW (quarterly)Percentage who experienced bill shock in NSWOf those who experienced bill shock in NSW, what percentage experienced energy bill shock?
$419.8048%82%

Learn more about energy plans in NSW.

QLD

Average electricity bill QLD (quarterly)Percentage who experienced bill shock in QLDOf those who experienced bill shock in QLD, what percentage experienced energy bill shock?
$389.1042%73%

Learn more about energy plans in QLD.

VIC

Average electricity bill VIC (quarterly)Percentage who experienced bill shock in VICOf those who experienced bill shock in VIC, what percentage experienced energy bill shock?
$409.1050%83%

Learn more about energy plans in VIC.

SA

Average electricity bill SA (quarterly)Percentage who experienced bill shock in SAOf those who experienced bill shock in SA, what percentage experienced energy bill shock?
$453.7044%87%

Learn more about energy plans in SA.

WA

Average electricity bill WA (quarterly)Percentage who experienced bill shock in WAOf those who experienced bill shock in WA, what percentage experienced energy bill shock?
$339.3048%79%

Learn more about energy plans in WA.

Source: Compare the Market Bill Shock Tracker survey of 1,501 Australian adults, September 2021.

Who pays more for electricity in Australia – Men or women?

 

do men or women pay more for electricity

 

On average, men and women are paying similar electricity rates. A quarterly electricity bill averages $411.50 for men and $412.40 for women.

However, women are more likely to take their bank account into overdraft or blow out the credit card to pay for electricity or gas (22% compared to 17% of men). Similarly, 44% of women say electricity or gas bills are likely to cause them stress (compared to 34% of men).

The age group with the highest electricity bills in Australia

Paying an average of $467.40 per quarter, our data shows that the 45–54-year-old age group has the highest electricity bill in Australia. In contrast, over-65s pay an average of just $346.90 per quarter.

This lower cost for electricity could be because many over-65s are eligible for state and territory rebates and concessions, which offer financial support toward utility bills. Here’s how the average quarterly electricity bill compares between age groups.

Age groupAverage quarterly electricity bill
18-24$392.90
25-34$406.00
35-44$439.60
45-54$467.40
55-64$415.80
65+$346.90

Source: Compare the Market Bill Shock Tracker survey of 1,501 Australian adults, September 2021.

Electricity bill shock by age group

While electricity bill shock was consistent across all age groups, our data found that of those who had experienced a bill shock, the 24-34 and 35-44-year-old age groups were slightly more likely to experience it than other demographics.

Age GroupPercentage who had an energy bill shock
18-2473%
25-3484%
35-4484%
45-5482%
55-6483%
65+72%

Source: Compare the Market Bill Shock Tracker survey of 1,501 Australian adults, September 2021.

39% of Australians are stressed by energy costs

We asked Australians which bills are likely to cause them stress, with 39% of people listing gas or power bills. That’s ahead of car registration (32%), council rates (27%), mortgages and rent (25%) and car insurance (24%).

Here’s how stressed each state is about their energy bills.

StatePercentage likely to be stressed by energy bills
NSW41%
QLD31%
VIC41%
SA41%
WA36%

Source: Compare the Market Bill Shock Tracker survey of 1,501 Australian adults, September 2021.

Meanwhile, those in the 35-44-year-old age group are most likely to experience stress thanks to an energy bill.

Age GroupPercentage likely to be stressed by energy bills
18-2429%
25-3439%
35-4446%
45-5444%
55-6438%
65+33%

Source: Compare the Market Bill Shock Tracker survey of 1,500 Australian adults, September 2021.

women comparing their power bill to average electricity bill prices in Australia

What can impact electricity bills?

While it’s handy to understand the average electricity bill in Australia’s energy market, it’s important to know there are factors that could be driving up individual bills. These include:

  • The electricity plan and provider – Electricity providers (also known as electricity retailers), set their own prices for electricity and plans. Some offer greater discounts or lower prices than others for the same electricity supply, which can impact the annual cost. Keep in mind that daily supply charges and electricity usage charges can differ between providers.
  • Electricity usage – While it seems obvious, the amount of electricity a household consumes can impact the overall bill.  This can be due to the makeup of different households, from the number of people to the types of appliances and how often they are used. See our guide for ways you could save electricity.
  • Tariffs – A tariff is the price a household is charged for the energy it uses and can vary based on how a home is wired, the type of meter installed and the energy distributor. For example, a single rate tariff could impact your bill differently than another type tariff such as a time-of-use tariff. In this case, a single rate tariff charges you just one price for electricity usage – no matter when you use it. Meanwhile, a time-of-use tariff charges you different amounts at different times of the day and night, based on peak and off-peak times.
  • Appliances – Households with energy-efficient appliances may see greater savings on their bills than those with higher running costs.
  • Where in Australia you live – The electricity market is different across Australia. The average price of electricity in Melbourne may be different to Sydney, Brisbane or what those in Adelaide pay.

Also keep in mind that there may be factors outside of a household’s control that impact electricity costs. These include:

  • Electricity production costs
  • Electricity transport/transmission costs
  • Network and metering fees
  • Retailer admin fees