Drop in New South Wales power consumption

One of Australia’s largest electricity distributors said it is experiencing a “historic” cut in households’ demand for power, according to ABC News.

New South Wales distributor, Ausgrid announced in August that demand for its electricity by regular households has fallen 2 per cent each year for the past four years.

It is the first time the company has seen a fall in demand since the 1950s.

“If you go right back to the 1950s, residential consumption has continued to rise year on year, and in around 2006, we saw that plateau,” Ausgrid energy efficiency specialist, Paul Myors said.

Ausgrid says the drop is caused by consumers switching to energy efficient hot water systems and light bulbs after seeing their power bills go through the roof.

“One example where we have seen most strongly is with residential hot water because we often separately meter this in households,” Mr Myors said.

“We’ve seen reductions even greater than 2 per cent, even up to 8 per cent per year,” he said.

While average energy consumption for households is falling, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) told Energy Source & Distribution that the increase in the number of households in NSW is around 1.5 per cent, per annum making the residential electricity consumption growth quite flat.

“The overall peak demand for electricity (or maximum demand) is still growing although at a reduced growth rate compared to forecasts made a few years ago. Residential energy consumption forms one component of AEMO’s demand forecasting with business consumption also included as part of our forecast modeling,” an AEMO spokesperson said.

“This year’s forecast shows growth has slowed when compared to the 2010 forecast but the trend for growth in overall consumption continues. The five to six percent refers to the difference in forecast energy usage for NSW in 2011/12 from last year’s forecast to this year’s forecast.”