Energy bills to double for struggling aussie households

Households record 105% power usage increase due to COVID-19

An analysis of thousands of Australian homes and their real-time energy consumption has revealed Australian households should expect their power bills to double as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictive lockdown measures. This report compiled by Australia’s largest solar and battery installer, Natural Solar, reveals the average household has increased its power usage by 105%; numbers that will be alarming for many struggling Aussie households who will see their power bills skyrocket as a result of the pandemic.

This data collected from Natural Solar’s live monitoring systems from thousands of homes nationally has revealed that in March 2019, the average household was using 513kWh of power across the month; 16.5kWh per day. This energy consumption has skyrocketed to 1052kWh in March 2020 as lockdown measures were implemented around the country. This usage spiked again in April 2020, with the average household in Australian using 1094kWh of power and 36.4kWh of electricity daily.

“The national need to work from home, teach from home, and stay at home has created an unprecedented volume of at-home energy usage,” says Chris Williams, CEO & Founder of Natural Solar. “This huge rise in electricity use from thousands of our Natural Solar customers nationally means we anticipate power bills will spike from a quarterly average of $406.75 to over $800 per household for this COVID affected period. Some Australian homes that have had historically high power usage can expect their power bills to hit their hip pockets hard, coming in up to $1,800 per quarter.”

“Even though Australia is slowly opening back up and restrictions are lifting, we know this won’t be the case for every household, and normality won’t truly resume for a long period of time, with staggered back to school and work approaches anticipated over several months. Australian households can expect the fall out from COVID-19 to continue to hit their electricity bills, especially as we move into the colder winter months,” says Mr Williams.

While power usage is up across the board nationally, homes who have solar and battery storage will be the real winners with their power bills. “Even though almost every Australian household is using more electricity on a daily basis, we know households with solar and battery power are still likely to save money on their bills during this time. Households will simply use power produced by their solar panels, with excess power to be stored within their home battery for usage of an evening. Despite electricity consumption doubling, we expect households with solar and battery to be highly insulated from increased consumption pricing,” says Mr Williams.

Many new home builds around the country are already factoring in solar and battery power as a vital part of the construction process to future proof homes against rising and unexpected electricity prices. Large-scale property developer Mulpha and its widely publicised ‘Smart City’ Essentia development in Sydney’s North West will feature 74 homes with optional solar and battery. There has already been 100% uptake of this offering from all buyers, highly motivated not just by the environmental impacts, but also fixed-price power plans and a guaranteed reduction in bills.

“The current climate indicates there will be a further consumer demand for ready-made smart homes with a renewable energy ecosystem,” says Tim Spencer, Executive General Manager of Mulpha Developments. “In a time with no guarantees, whether they are investors or owner-occupiers, buyers are clamouring to solidify their investment and reduce the running costs of their home. Any opportunity to bring down the cost of their power bills, particularly as usage is rising and the future is uncertain, is one worth taking.”

“At Natural Solar we can see COVID-19 has created a consumer change in how people are seeing home battery storage solutions; they’ve gone from a luxury to a necessity. Homeowners who are in the fortunate position to invest in their homes are taking the time to consider their options and add solar and battery systems to reduce their power bills, achieve further independence from the grid and future-proof their homes. The knowledge of increased electricity bills for the foreseeable future means savvy Aussies are acting now to maximise their return on investment and start saving immediately,” concluded Mr Williams

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These costs are based on the SA Power network in Adelaide but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes a general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on Energy Locals Time of Use Tariff – (TOU – Peak, Off-Peak & Solar Sponge).

The reference price is set by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) for a financial year in relation to electricity supply to residential customers in the distribution region and is based on an assumed annual usage amount. Any difference between the reference price and the unconditional price of a plan is expressed as a percentage more or less than the reference price. The terms of any conditional discounts are shown, along with any further difference between the reference price and the discount applied if a condition is met, expressed as a percentage more or less than the reference price.