Across countries around the world, vary due to factors like infrastructure maintenance, government energy and climate change policies, local energy resources and diversity in generation assets.
Based on the figure below, it showed that electricity prices in 2014 from leading economies worldwide.
Figure 1: OECD household electricity prices, PPP measure 2014 | 2015 Australian Energy report
Australia’s power prices, (at equivalent purchasing power exchange rates) were lower than the OECD average of 23.03 US cents per kilowatt-hour (c/kWh). At 20.47 US c/kWh Australian 2014 electricity prices are also low by overall international standards.
Purchasing power parity (PPP) is used to adjust the data to exchange rate differences and ensures a like-for-like comparison when buying the identical amount of goods or services in all countries.
Electricity for household consumers was the most expensive in Germany, Portugal, and Poland, while it was cheapest in the United States, Canada, and Norway.
Figure 2: Portion of a day’s wages needed to buy the average day of electricity usage
The second figure shows the amount of a day’s wage to cover the cost of an average day’s electricity consumption, it uses average annual wages in US dollars (on a PPP basis) to calculate an affordability rate for electricity.
According to Electricity Gas Australia 2015, the average day of electricity usage is 15.52kW.
Australians use only 2.27 percent of their daily wages to pay their energy bills with the average income calculated at US$140.13. This is amongst the best affordability ratings when compared to the other 29 countries shown.
Figure 3: Australian residential electricity price trend
Over the 2004-2014 period, Australian retail electricity prices for households nearly doubled. These were mainly because of the need invest in network infrastructure due to the need to replace aging assets, but residential electricity prices fell in 2014/15 following the abolishment of the Australian Government’s carbon tax.
International consulting group NUS carried out a survey of industrial prices (which are based on individual contracts and so not necessarily publicly disclosed) for many years, industrial prices are important for the competitiveness of energy-intensive businesses.
Figure 4: Industrial prices, NUS Group, 2013-14 International Electricity and Natural Gas Report and Price Survey
After repealing the carbon price, Australia returned to the lower end of the 18 surveyed countries, after a couple of years being one of the more expensive countries.
Industrial prices have also become more sensitive to wholesale prices than household tariffs.
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