Each year the average NSW home uses approximately: 5,900 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity, and 23 gigajoules (GJ) of gas.

To reduce energy use, you need to know where it is used in the home. Our pie chart shows the annual average electricity use in a typical NSW household.

Energy in the home pie chart breakdown

Overall, the biggest uses of energy are:

  • hot water – about a third of annual energy use
  • heating (in winter) and cooling (in summer) – about a quarter of annual energy use.

The following tips can help you reduce your energy bill.

Tip 1: Use less energy

Use less hot water

  • Take shorter showers.
  • Fit a 'low-flow' showerhead.
  • No leaking hot water taps.
  • Use cold water (instead of hot) in your washing machine.

Reduce heating costs in winter

  • Only heat the rooms you are using. Close the doors of any rooms you are not using.
  • Turn off the heating at night or when you leave the house.
  • Insulate your home and shut out draughts.
  • Don't overheat your home. In winter the optimum temperature is 18° to 20°C. Every degree above 20°C can increase your energy bill by 15%.

Reduce cooling costs in summer

  • Only cool the rooms you are using. Close the doors of any rooms you are not using.
  • Shade external windows.
  • Take advantage of natural air flows. Open doors and windows to encourage cross-ventilation.
  • Use fans instead of air conditioners. Fans are usually 20–30 times cheaper to run.
  • Don't overcool your home. In summer the optimum temperature is 23-26C°.

Tip 2: Use energy at off-peak times

Energy costs less per unit if you use it outside periods of peak demand. But this is only possible if you have:

  • an off-peak hot water system
  • or time-of-use pricing.

Time-of-use pricing

Time-of-use pricing is where the cost of energy varies depending on what time of day or night you use it. Time-of-use pricing cannot be recorded by a conventional meter however, it can only be recorded by a time-of-use meter (smart meter).

There are usually three cost periods with time-of-use pricing:

  • peak (most expensive)
  • shoulder
  • off-peak (cheapest)

Time-of-use periods may differ slightly between retailers, but roughly they are approximately shown on the right.

If you're not sure whether or not you have a new time-of-use meter, contact your energy retailer.

Off-peak hot water systems

Off-peak systems heat water during the cheaper, off-peak period. You then use this hot water throughout the day.

Off-peak hot water is only available with certain hot water systems and with certain retailers.

If you're not sure whether or not you have off-peak hot water, or if you want to find out if you can have it installed, contact your energy retailer.

Tip 3: Use more energy-efficient appliances

You may want to consider upgrading to more energy-efficient appliances by purchasing appliances with a high energy rating. These energy ratings are represented by a distinct yellow, red and black label that show the appliance's star rating (the more stars, the more energy efficient) and energy consumption (in kWh per year).

On 3 September 2017 the NSW Government announced the Energy Affordability Package with a range of measures to help customers including rebate changes; changes around payment plans and getting a better deal; and new energy efficiency measures for households and small businesses. This includes energy savings upgrades, financial incentives to support the replacement of inefficient appliances, and training for small businesses to take control of their bills. To find out more, visit the Energy Efficiency page.

To compare the energy efficiency of appliance types, you can use Energy Rating's model comparison calculator.

For more information about the energy rating label or the energy rating program visit Energy Rating.