Energy audit step 1: Benchmark your gross daily usage

Measuring Energy Use | The Good Solar Guide Contents | Your Electricity Connection

You can easily find out how much energy you use over 24 hours – on average. It’s printed on your electricity bill.

Figure 2.1 is an example from an Origin energy bill:

Electricity bill - energy consumption

Figure 2.1 How a typical electricity bill presents your daily consumption.

This household uses 7.27 kWh of electricity per day, averaged over the year (a very efficient home).

Dig out a recent bill and find your average daily usage. It’s probably between 7 kWh and 30 kWh, depending on your lifestyle and home efficiency.

Record it here or on the worksheet (

My annual daily grid usage (from my bill):_____kWh

(You can come back to this number after you’ve got solar to see how it’s fallen.)

Now we have the absolute minimum we need to get started. We know your average grid electricity usage for 24 hours.

Bear in mind that this figure may vary with the seasons. If you have electric heating or cooling and you use it a lot more in summer and winter than in spring and autumn, your daily usage for the winter and summer will probably be around 6 kWh more. But let’s not complicate things – in my experience, the average values are good enough.

Energy audit step 2: Measure how much energy you use by day and by night

To measure your energy use, you first need to understand how electricity is connected to your house and how it is metered.

From answering thousands of questions about Australians’ electricity use, I’ve learned that many householders:

  • don’t know what kind of electricity connection they have (single phase, two phase or three phase)
  • don’t know what kind of tariff they are signed up for (flat rate, time-of-use, demand tariff, economy tariff or controlled load tariff)
  • can’t interpret the individual line items on their bill, or
  • don’t know how to read their meter

This lack of understanding is so widespread because metering and billing is confusing.

If you want to take control, you’ll need to put some work in to understand your electricity connection, your metering and your bill.

Measuring Energy Use | The Good Solar Guide Contents | Your Electricity Connection

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