Electric appliances are one of the hottest topics in the electricity sector, with manufacturers, retailers and consumers pushing for them to be more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.
But the latest data from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) suggests there is a lack of data about how these products actually perform.
The data shows that in 2018, the number of energy-efficient electric appliances sold fell by 5.6 per cent.
However, it’s not clear if this was due to the fall in sales or if the decline in the number actually resulted in a decrease in energy consumption.
The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) says that because it’s so new and new appliances are often designed to meet the needs of different consumers, it can’t provide reliable data on how these new appliances perform.
AER chief executive Paul Kavanagh says that there are many factors that influence energy efficiency and that the latest study “should help us to better understand how to achieve the best possible energy efficiency.”
He says that consumers who want to upgrade their energy efficiency should “look at the energy efficiency of appliances from an environmental perspective”.
He says AER has been working with energy efficiency companies to improve its data collection and analysis process.
“The AER is committed to improving its data and reporting practices,” he said.
But he admits that the AER data has been “incredibly incomplete” in the past.
“We have to be careful not to overstate our findings.
This is something that will be continually revisited and re-tested.”
The AER study found that for every cent more energy savings, people on low incomes gained 1.7 cents per kilowatt hour.
But for people on higher incomes, the gains were only 0.6 cents per kWh.
“For households with a higher income, there was no impact on the reduction in energy use,” Mr Kavanah said.
The report also found that, for every dollar that a person spent on energy-saving appliances, they increased their disposable income by about 2.5 cents per day.
However for households with incomes between $20,000 and $100,000, those who spent the most on appliances saw a 7.6-cent reduction in their energy use.
“These are things that should be important for people to consider in the future when they consider buying energy efficient appliances,” Mr Gulliver said.
He says energy efficiency isn’t a simple matter of buying more appliances.
“It’s a matter of putting them together, making sure they’re connected, and making sure there’s a good power supply and the right voltage,” he explained.
He said consumers should look to their local energy company or energy retailer for guidance on what appliances to buy.
“If you buy a car or a home appliance, then you need to consider whether it’s the right type of appliance to go into a home,” Mr Matson said.
What can you do about it?
While the results of the AEMO study might surprise you, there are several ways you can help reduce your energy use in your home and workplace.
Some of these are: Keep appliances separate and out of sight, or separate from other appliances such as the TV and other home electronics.