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Energy Consumer Behaviour Survey Findings: October 2021

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Energy Consumers Australia

The Energy Consumer Behaviour Survey is a long-term project for Energy Consumers Australia. It explores how consumers use energy, asking questions about appliance, solar, storage and electric vehicle uptake, when consumers use their appliances and how willing they are to change the way they use their energy. As the survey will be undertaken annually, as a companion to our Energy Consumer Sentiment Survey, it will track changes in behaviour over time, detecting trends which can inform energy market and policy development in the long-term interests of consumers. Accompanied by input from Monash University’s Digital Energy Futures Project, we publish the data from each survey so that stakeholders are able to undertake analysis of the changes that are most of interest to them, concerning outcomes for consumers in electricity and gas markets.

Key Findings

The results for our inaugural October 2021 survey shows COVID-19 has caused Australians to make significant changes in how they use energy and the decisions they make around it.

  • 59% say they are cooking at home more.
  • 40% say their house uses more heating and cooling since the pandemic.
  • 52% say their household has more digital devices running than 5-10 years ago.
  • 42% say their kitchen has a wider variety of appliances than 5-10 years ago.

And while Australians are reporting they’d like to use less energy, confidence in doing so over the next 5-10 years is mixed.

  • 24% of respondents think their house will use more cooling during that period.
  • 17% think their home will use more heating.
  • 29% think it likely or certain they will use air conditioning to keep a pet comfortable or healthy.

Are consumers willing to reduce or shift their energy use when demand spikes?

  • 30% said they would reduce energy use “as much as possible” only if there was a financial incentive
  • 44% said they would, even without a financial incentive.
  • 8% said they would be unwilling to take action.

When asked to change their energy use only “a little”:

  • 32% said they would do so only if offered an incentive
  • 47% would do it without a financial incentive.

When we surveyed consumers about switching from gas to electricity, the results showed:

  • 9% of household consumers said they were seriously considering running their home on electricity only.
  • 77% either had not thought about it or had decided not to.

For small business consumers these numbers were higher:

  • 27% said they were seriously considering converting from gas to electricity.
  • 30% reported they are considering it but not seriously.

The past decade has seen a rapid rise in the uptake of energy technologies or Distributed Energy Resources (DER).

  • 28% of respondents who say they own solar panels.
  • 5% of respondents say they intend to buy solar for their household in the next 12 months
  • 15% say they will consider buying solar panels in the future.
  • 3% of respondents said they were planning to buy a home battery in the next 12 months
  • 21% are interested in purchasing a home battery in the future.
  • 2% of households reported purchasing an Electric Vehicle (EV) during the past 12 months
  • 3% are planning to purchase an EV in the coming year.
  • 18% of respondents say they will consider purchasing one in the future.
  • Of those considering an EV, 60% would do so for environmental reasons, while 38% nominated financial reasons.

Full survey results from our first survey are available on our microsite here.

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