What does peak usage mean on my bill?

Understanding your bill is important for multiple reasons, but mostly for your budget. You will feel more in control of how things work, as bills are often glanced over without much thought aside from checking the balance at the end of it. In this article we are going to run through what peak usage is, what it means, and what you should do if you are concerned about it.

So, what is peak usage?

If you are on a single rate tariff, you will not need to worry about an influx in price during peak usage due to it being fixed. Your energy provider will still list ‘peak usage’ on your bill, though. It is useful to read this when looking to switch providers, as you may be better off on a variable plan depending on the time you use your energy the most. Single/fixed rate tends to be more popular for those that are using energy in peak times as you can usually save money.

A variable plan, also known as ‘time of use tariff’, means you will be charged depending on what time of day you use your energy. Peak time is usually considered between 3pm-9pm Monday-Friday. Variable plans are particularly popular for those that are not using energy in peak times, as they can save more money. If you are on a variable plan, you must look at peak usage and how much it is costing you. This can be done either by taking meter readings or by investing in a smart meter which is more popular. This will tell you to the exact dollar how much you have spent that day.

I am concerned about my peak usage, what should I do?

If you have looked at your bill and spat out your coffee due to the amount you use (which directly correlates with how much you pay) then you may want to consider the following:

  • Switching to a fixed-rate plan: If you can see that you are spending an exponential amount on your energy in peak usage times, then a fixed-rate plan may be better for you financially if you do not have the option to eliminate or reduce usage during peak times.


  • Being mindful with your usage: This can be harder than it sounds, but from reading your peak usage you can be stricter with yourself on when you want to use things, even if it is reducing it by 1-2 hours a day, you will see a difference. Have a think about ways that you can be mindful of your usage, whether that is using less or being more restrictive with the times. Simple things like turning off the water when brushing your teeth or doing your washing first thing in the morning outside of peak times can make a difference.

We hope that this has helped you read your bill better and be more in control of your usage and your finances when looking at your energy!

Author: Claire Stapley
Claire Stapley is ElectricityComparison.com.au's Energy Editor, based in Melbourne Australia. Claire is a founding member of ElectricityComparison.com.au News and Energy Team.