What you see on your energy bill varies depending upon the retailer.

In this section, find out about :

  • What your usage summary and cents you pay per kWh means
  • The terms used on most bills
  • Common types of tariffs offered by electricity retailers.

What you see on your energy bill varies depending upon the retailer.

Look for the charges section, which is usually found on the back of the bill. In this section, find your usage summary of kWh used in the billing period, and how many cents you pay per kWh.

If you are on a time-of-use you will find up to 3 tariff rates in the charges section.

If you're having trouble finding your average kWh usage, call your electricity retailer for help.

There will most likely be a 'Usage' heading. Underneath this heading, there will be an 'average use for the billing period' figure in kWh.

There may be a heading that reads 'Total for this bill'. This total relates to the total amount of kWh you have used during that billing period.

Otherwise, to calculate your quarterly usage, multiply your average usage per day by the number of days in your billing period. For example, if your daily average is 5.93 kWh, multiply that by the number of days billed for that quarter (91 days), so 5.93 x 91 = 540 kWh.

Remember that some quarters are usually more expensive than others, for example, the middle of summer or the middle of winter when energy use increases.

There are some common terms used on most bills:

Average cost per day: This is how much you pay each day on average for energy for this billing period.

Average daily usage: This is how much energy you use each day on average. It is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh) for electricity and megajoules (MJ) for gas.

kWh: Electricity energy consumption is measured in kilowatt hours. A kilowatt (kW) is 1000 watts of electrical power. For example, if you run a 1000-watt heater for one hour, it will use 1 kWh.

MJ: Gas energy consumption is measured in megajoules. A megajoule (MJ) is a measure of gas equal to one million joules.

Charge/kWh: Electricity usage is priced in cents per kilowatt hour, for example, 22.56 cents per kilowatt-hour (c/kWh). So if you use 20 kWh each day, it would cost $4.51 each day.

Peak and off-peak: If you choose a time-of-use electricity plan, there will be different charges for energy use during peak and off-peak periods.

Service to Property: A fixed charge that is also called the 'daily supply charge'.

You can find out more about understanding your gas and electricity bills at Victorian Energy Compare.

The 2 common types of tariffs offered by electricity retailers are:

Flat rate: This is the most common type. The same rate is charged for electricity consumed at any time of the day or night.

Time-of-use: This is where a different price is charged according to when the electricity is used during the day.

Time-of-use tariffs involve peak and off-peak pricing, which means users are charged less for electricity during 'off-peak' or low demand periods and a higher rate for electricity used during high demand or 'peak' hours.

You may not be eligible for time-of-use offers so check with your retailer.

Find out more about the time of use tariffs and how they might benefit you by reading our FAQs or at Victorian Energy Compare.

Understand how to reduce your energy costs at Top 10 Ways to Save Energy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Electricity tariffs

Electricity tariffs are the price you are charged for electricity. You can find your electricity tariff listed on the second page your energy bill. It typically includes two types of charges:

  • Daily supply charge (the service to property charge or fixed charge)
  • Usage charge (the consumption charge)

Under a usage charge, customers can be charged different prices depending on the season or time they use electricity.

Time of use tariffs applies different prices for electricity at different times of the day.

Your energy retailer applies peak and off-peak periods to reflect the changing demand on the electricity grid throughout the day. Electricity prices during off-peak periods are lower than during peak times.

Typically, the peak period for residential customers is between 3pm-9pm weekdays and 9am–9pm every day for small businesses

Time of use tariffs encourages a shift in electricity consumption to off-peak periods, providing benefits for both households and the network.

Households that shift some of their consumption to off-peak periods benefit from lower bills.

More off-peak electricity use also benefits the network, reducing the need for grid investment and lowering electricity prices for everyone.

The electricity network must have capacity to meet peaks in consumption. The higher the peaks, the greater the capacity required, and therefore the investment. By smoothing out consumption across the day, we reduce the peaks and the network investments required. The costs of these investments are incorporated into electricity prices, so all customers benefit when peaks are minimised.

Retailers can offer several tariff structures, and sometimes you can have more than one tariff on your bill at the same time.

Here are some examples:

  • time of use tariffs with peak and off-peak periods.
  • a flat tariff where you pay the same rate whatever time of the day you use electricity.
  • a controlled load tariff that is applied to a large appliance like an electric storage hot water system which is metered separately. The appliance is charged at a lower price however electricity will only be supplied to the appliances for a limited number of hours each day depending on the type of controlled load tariff.
  • a demand tariff, used mainly by businesses, has a demand charge and supply and usage charges. The demand charge reflects a consumer’s maximum electricity usage during a 30-minute interval.

Ask your retailer or go to the Victoria Energy Compare website to find out more about the best tariff for you.

Visit the Victorian Energy Compare website.  The Victorian Energy Compare is an independent tool sponsored by the Victorian Government to help you find the best deal for you.

In addition to Victorian Energy Compare, retailers are required to notify customers at least once every 3 months on their bill about the best electricity offer for them. If the customer isn’t on their retailer’s best offer, the bill will include how much the customer could save on another plan

Tariff usage charges are typically listed on the second page of your electricity bill and contain the kilowatt-hours (kWh) used in the billing period and how many cents you pay per kWh.

If you see peak and off-peak rates listed on your electricity bill, then you are likely on a time of use tariff. To confirm what tariff you are paying, contact your electricity retailer.

Contact your retailer to discuss your options.

You can also switch to the flat rate Victorian Default Offer at any time. The Victorian Default Offer is a fair price for energy.

Alternatively, visit the VEC website and filter the results for single/flat rate to see other offers available in the market. If your retailer can’t assist you, call the Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria for assistance.  They provide free and independent dispute resolution services to resolve electricity and gas complaints.  You can contact them on 1800 500 509 or at ewovinfo@ewov.com.au.

Contact your retailer to find out what time of use tariffs they have available and ask to be moved to a time of use tariff.

You can visit the Victorian Energy Compare website to see what other time of use offers from other retailers are available in the market.

Retail tariffs are what you pay your retailer to use electricity in your house or business. These charges cover all the costs of supplying electricity to you.

Network tariffs are the prices the electricity distributor charges your retailer to use the network to transport electricity to you.

Time of use tariff benefits and savings

Time of use network tariffs provides an opportunity for customers to shift the use of their appliances (e.g. dishwashers, washing machines, pool pumps, etc.) to outside the peak period and save on energy bills.

Time of use tariffs also plays an important role in enabling solar PV into our grid by incentivising electricity use when the sun is shining.

Households and small businesses

You can save by making small changes in the way you use energy including:

  • Timing appliances such as dishwashers, hot water systems and washing machines and to turn on during off-peak periods
  • Use energy management systems to optimise the timing and operation of your appliances

Contact your retailer to find out what your peak and off-peak times are and visit Top 10 ways to save on energy bills to discover more ways to save on your energy bill.

Electric vehicle owners

Electric vehicle (EV) owners can save hundreds of dollars per year by mainly charging during off-peak times on a time of use tariff.

If you have solar PV, you have even more options – charge your EV from your solar system during the day when generating the most electricity.

Solar and battery owners

Households with solar PV can make the greatest savings from participating in time of use tariffs.

With solar PV, you can save money on a time of use tariff by using your electrical appliances during the day when the sun is shining.

If you also own a battery you can store electricity for use during peak times during the evening, for example, when electricity costs the most on a time of use tariff.    If you don’t have a battery check out if a battery might be right for you at Solar Victoria

Energy market

Your local electricity distributor is responsible for building and maintaining the poles and wires that carry electricity to your home and turns your power on. Energy retailers sell energy services to residents and businesses and manage electricity and gas bills with customers.

Energy and Water Ombudsman

The Energy and Water Ombudsman provides independent dispute resolution services to resolve electricity and gas complaints.

If you need their help contact them on 1800 500 509 or at ewovinfo@ewov.com.au.

Page last updated: 02/07/21