What does $1 of energy buy around the home?

There are many things we can spend a dollar on, but do you know what $1 of energy can buy you around the home?

7 min read
Surprisingly, a single dollar can go a long way around the home. Understanding the costs of your appliances may help you to reduce your energy consumption and save more on your power bill.

According to Andrew Dillon, Chief Executive Officer of Energy Networks Australia, “The type of appliance you use and how you use it can have a significant impact on your power bill and the demand you place on the energy grid”.

Energy Networks Australia has broken down energy usage into $1 amounts to help you better understand the relative costs of energy usage and the impact at peak times.

Here’s a rundown of what you can get for $1 of energy usage, the results are surprising. These amounts are based on a typical Australian consumer on a 30c/kWh flat retail contract with no discounts*.

A year of mobile phone charging

The mobile phone is one of the world’s greatest inventions, giving us the ability to connect with people all over the world. It’s something we now can’t live without! Fully recharging your phone every day for 12 months using a standard cable will cost you 60 cents a year on your energy bill*. How good’s that? You even get change.

Two hours using a split system air-conditioner

Let’s face it, we can have some scorching hot days in Australia. In 2019, we recorded our hottest and driest year ever, with 2020 looking like it’s on track to continue the trend. Assuming a room size of 36m2, cooling would cost on average 50cents an hour, giving you two hours of cool airflow* – bliss! Of course, tracking your energy usage using smart meter data and clever algorithms to stay on top of your power bill is important.

15 minutes in the shower

To calculate the kWh required to heat water in a particular time, Energy Networks Australia has assumed a nine-litre a minute showerhead and water heated 20 degrees over one hour. As such, the energy use of a 15-minute shower is just under a dollar (95 cents). You may want to consider installing a water-efficient showerhead that uses less water but creates the same water pressure, saving on both your water and energy bills.

one dollar
Data source: Energy Networks Australia

20 hours use of a portable fan

The running cost of a portable fan is two to five cents an hour depending on its size, giving you 20 hours of use for $1*. “A fan can use as much as one-tenth the electricity of a split system air-conditioner”, said Mr. Dillon. So, if you’re looking to use less energy from the grid and for a cost-effective way to cool your home or office, consider investing in a portable fan.

Three dishwasher loads

Energy Networks Australia say that $1 of energy adds up to roughly three dishwasher loads. Their calculations show that a built-in, 10-15 place setting dishwasher uses between 0.54 and 1.61kWh energy a load, which equates to about $1 for 3 loads. The next time you’re hosting a dinner party, no need to spend time scrubbing the dishes, just load the dishwasher and bring out the dessert.

20 hours of TV

Gone are the days of standard television viewing. Since its arrival on Australian shores, Netflix and other online streaming services have enabled access to trending TV shows that provide ad-free and low-cost entertainment. The way this is broken down is by assuming a TV that costs five cents an hour to run will give you 20 hours of viewing time for just $1.*

A roast dinner

Cooking in the kitchen can be a timely task that requires preparation and personal energy. But did you know that one roast dinner cooked in a 2.5kWh oven for 80 minutes costs on average $1?* This cost will vary depending on what you’re cooking, oven temperature and time, as well as appliance efficiency. If you’re on the hunt for an inexpensive dinner, consider cooking up a Sunday roast dinner.

166 slices of toast

Toast is an easy snack to satisfy your cravings. An 800-watt, two-slice toaster used for three minutes would toast 40 slices of bread an hour for 30cents. So for $1, you’ll be able to toast 166 slices *. Whether you prefer peanut butter, Nutella, jam, or the all-in-one, you can enjoy a delicious snack for a bargain.

one dollar
Data source: Energy Networks Australia

Two to three days running a fridge

Household fridges are one of the most common kitchen appliances. The annual running cost of a 400-499 litre capacity fridge equates to 41 cents a day, which is nearly 2.5 days of use for a dollar*. Actual energy consumption will vary with the age and size of the fridge, as well as how it’s used, for example how often the doors are opened and closed.

*Figures will vary according to factors such as age and size of the appliance and your actual tariff rates. 

Information in this article is based upon the calculations shared by Energy Networks Australia via a media release and infographic published on its website on 17 February 2020.


Want to learn where your energy is going?

Our Energy Insights service provides an estimated breakdown of your electricity use by appliance category, with tips to help you take control. AGL electricity customers with a residential smart meter on e-billing will automatically receive the report after their bill.

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