So far in this series about the cost of living in Australia, we have looked at four different areas of expense: petrol, groceries, house prices and electrical goods; and compared them with their equivalent costs in England.
The fifth blog post in this series was not really a comparison but more about the nosedive of the British pound against the Aussie dollar. So let’s take a look at the score so far:
Australia 2 (Scorers: petrol and house prices)
NB. Groceries and electricals were a draw.
Today we are going to look at electricity. Except of course you can’t look at electricity, there is just nothing to see! But you can look at the meter…..
So, who has the cheapest electric?
First, I had to check out the price of electricity in England. Finding out how much 1 kWh costs is not a simple task. Everybody wants you to put in your postcode, your current electricity supplier, how much you use each quarter, what tariff you’re on blah, blah, blah…..
But, in the interest of research, I did it. The particular UK electricity supplier who I went through then asked me which tariff I would like to be on? I had this choice…….
Standard MDD Electricity
6% Tracker Electricity Monthly Direct Debit
Click 1 Electricity
Click 2 Electricity
Click 3 Electricity
Click 4 Electricity
Click 5 Electricity
Click 6 MDD Electricity
Discounted Energy Electricity
Fixed Price 2011 MDD Electricity
Fixed Price 2012 Electricity
Future Energy MDD Electricity
Market Tracker Electricity
Price Cap 2010 Electricity Monthly Direct Debit
Price Guarantee Dec09 Electricity
Price Protection 2010 Electricity Monthly DD
Price Protection Apr09 Electricity Monthly DD
Price Protection Dec09 Electricity Monthly DD
Track and Save 2011 Elec Monthly Direct Debit
Websaver 1 Electricity Monthly Direct Debit
Websaver 2 Electricity Monthly Direct Debit
Websaver 3 Electricity Monthly Direct Debit
Websaver 4 Electricity Monthly Direct Debit
Crikey! It’s worse than going to Starbucks for a coffee!
Anyway, I left it on the default setting which was Standard MDD Electricity. At last, I got my cost of electricity which was 8.490p per kWh.
Here in Australia, we don’t seem to have as many tariffs. In fact, unless you are a farmer and/or involved in land irrigation, there are really only three tariffs to look at.
Super Economy Plan
When comparing prices it only makes sense when you compare like-for-like. With this particular cost of living exercise that is sure going to be difficult. Firstly and primarily, but I don’t think I have enough time left in my life to understand all 23 plans offered by the above UK supplier. What worries me is, supposing those tariffs are unique to that particular supplier and all the other suppliers have their own unique tariffs?
Well! That would be confusing.
The Australian tariffs were slightly easier to understand in so much as the economy plan tariffs were simple night rate tariffs that could be connected to certain appliances, namely your water heaters and swimming pool filters and some permanently connected freezers. So it’s similar to Economy 7 as I remember it, from back in the UK.
Anyway, forgetting the economy plans the cost for domestic electricity (what I pay) here in Australia is 17.13c per kwh.
Therefore England equals 8.49p per kWh.
……And Australia equals 17.13c per kWh.
But the UK has 5% VAT on domestic fuels whilst Australia’s has 10% GST added. The exchange rate is currently 1.9112 Australian dollars to the Great British pound so the winner is (where’s my calculator) ………
Yes, English electricity is 1.805608 cents per kilowatt hour cheaper than electricity in Australia. That’s equivalent to 9.58238%. But don’t take my word for it, check the maths.
So, England wins!
Well normally, yes. Until, that is, I present this further evidence.
When I last lived in England the annual bills for running our four-bedroom house (two thirds the size of this Australian house) which used both gas and electricity (we have no gas in my current home here) was £1,320 per annum.
That’s not a guess, I kept records over a five-year period and averaged it out in order to iron out any extra cold winters etc. Yes, that’s the sort of person you are dealing with here.
I clearly do not have five years worth of records to average out here in Australia, but I can tell you that my energy bills for the whole house to year end August 2009 was $2,431.00. Using the same current exchange rate that equals £1271.98.
Both of those amounts include all the VAT or GST charges and any standard charges added on. I don’t know what the UK currently adds but we have a “Service to Property” charge and most bizarrely a “Community Ambulance Cover” charge.
But the bottom line is my energy costs here in Australia have worked out to be £49 a year cheaper than they were back in England two years ago.
So now who wins? I think you know what’s coming, don’t you? Under the rules of the cost of living game I must declare it a draw if it is too close to call. (Precedents already set with groceries and electricals). Yes, electricity is cheaper in England but because it is warmer here in Australia we just don’t seem to use as much of it. And if the pound were to recover from its current dismal low and get back to somewhere, anywhere above 2.1 Aussie dollars to the pound, then electricity would be cheaper here.
Yes, it’s a draw.
Footnote: In the USA, a kWh is 11.86c (USA). No tax as far as I could see. That’s less than 14c. If America were in this series, I think they might just be five - nil up at this stage.