When comparing bills, you will sometimes hear about an average energy user or average energy consumption. But what is ‘average’ and is it useful when thinking about a new energy deal?
What is the average electricity and gas usage in Northern Ireland?
Although there is no published average consumption figure for Northern Ireland in terms of electricity and gas, we can look at the figures the Utility Regulator used when they consider tariff reviews.
The Utility Regulator uses an average figure of 3,200kWh for electricity and 13,500kWh for gas.
This average usage figure is a useful induction of how much energy a typical home uses over the course of a year. However, the actual amount of electricity and gas used in your home will vary from month to month (seasonality), the type of home you live in and number of people in the household, and how energy efficient the property is.
For example, if you live in a small apartment by yourself or one other person your energy consumption is likely to be below the average usage figure. Likewise, if you live in a large semi-detached property with 5+ people living in the same household then your energy consumption is going to be more than the national average.
If you don’t know how much electricity or gas you use in a year then the average consumption figures will give you an insight into whether you could save by switching. However, by far the best way is to look at your bill to see how much energy you actually have used. This means any comparison is based on your individual circumstances and will be much more accurate.
What if you are not an average energy user?
So what if you’re not an average energy user? What if you live in a large house, or a 1-bed apartment? What if you live on your own or in a house with five other people?
We’ve put together a handy table to help set out the annual costs associated with a range of energy usage which are above and below the average consumption.
|Energy User||Brief Description||Annual Consumption (kWh)||Annual Cost(£)*|
|LOW||A low energy user will live in a small 1-2 bedroom property, 1-2 people, use heating and appliances occasionally, home at evenings and weekends||Electricity – 2,000 kWH||£579.60|
|Natural Gas – 9,000 kWH||£953.82|
|MEDIUM||A medium energy user will live in a medium sized property, 3-4 people, regularly use heating and appliances, home at evenings and weekends.||Electricity – 3,200 kWH||£927.36|
|Natural Gas – 13,500 kWH||£1,386.54|
|HIGH||A high energy user will live in a larger house, 4+ bedrooms, 5+ people, regularly use heating and appliances, regularly use heating and appliances, home at evenings and weekends and sometimes all day.||Electricity – 4,900 kWH||£1,420.02|
|Natural Gas – 19,000 kWH||£1,915.42|
*Annual Cost figures are based on (Electricity) Power NI Standard 24Hr Tariff rate and (Gas) SSE Airtricity (Greater Belfast) Home Energy Tariff. All costs are inclusive of VAT. Prices correct as at June 2022.
Finding the best energy deal
The average figure of 3,200 for electricity and 13,500kWh for gas is a useful guide, but it is only a guide. The best way to compare deals is to enter the actual amount of energy you use in kWh, or how much you spend. This means you will get the best deals based on your actual consumption.