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4671.0 - Household Energy Consumption Survey, User Guide, Australia, 2012  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/09/2013  First Issue
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COMPARATIVE SURVEYS

ENERGY SURVEYS

This section presents information on other ABS surveys which collect information similar to HECS:


SURVEY OF INCOME AND HOUSING

The HECS collected the same content as the Survey of Income and Housing 2011-12, with additional content about household energy consumption. Aside from collection period differences, no significant methodological differences exist between estimates produced by either source.

The following factors are likely to help guide comparisons between sources:
  • Real world changes in income, costs of living and taxation rates.
  • SIH is collected spanning one financial year, whilst HECS spans the 2011-12 and 2012-13 financial year. Different taxation criteria were used to model income tax and the Medicare levy for 2012 data. This may have a more of an impact among lower income households, where the tax free threshold increased from $6,000 in 2011-12 to $18,200 for 2012-13.
  • Sample allocation for HECS is slightly higher during the first half of 2012 than the second half. Just over half (57%) of the HECS sample was interviewed in the first half of 2012, while SIH interviews are usually closer to having half the sample interviews during the first half of the survey reference period. Households interviewed in the second half of HECS therefore receive slightly higher weights as part of the adjustments made to initial weights.

Household income and net worth, Survey of Income and Housing 2011-12 and Household Energy Consumption Survey 2012

Survey of Income and Housing, 2011-12 (a)
Household Energy Consumption Survey, 2012

Average values ($)
Gross household income per week
1,865
1,872
Disposable household income per week
1,566
1,580
Equivalised disposable household income per week
927
929
Household net worth
735,420
737,200

(a) SIH estimates have been adjusted for changes in the Consumer Price Index.
Source: Household Income and Income Distribution, Australia, Summary of Results (cat. no. 6523.0), Household Energy Consumption Survey, Australia, Summary of Results, 2012 (cat. no. 4670.0)


The Survey of Income and Housing 2007-08 as part of cyclical housing content, asked for all sources of energy used in the dwelling. This included the same sources of energy as collected for HECS, with similar questions and response options used in both collections. The two main differences are that:

  • for LPG/ bottled gas, HECS specifically asked for small bottles used occasionally outside the dwelling (e.g. for BBQ's and patio heaters) to be excluded.
  • for Solar - HECS specifically mentions "solar electricity or solar hot water" on the prompt card, while SIH 2007-08 only mentions 'solar' in the interview prompt card.


All sources of energy for current dwelling, Survey of Income and Housing 2007-08 and Household Energy Consumption Survey, 2012

Survey of Income and Housing, 2007-08
Household Energy Consumption Survey, 2012

Proportion of households (%)
Energy source currently used in dwelling
Electricity
99.7
99.9
Mains gas
49.2
49.6
LPG or bottled gas
16.8
12.6
Wood
12.4
13.3
Solar
5.0
15.0

Source: Housing Mobility and Conditions, 2007-08 (cat. no. 4130.0.55.002), Household Energy Consumption Survey, Australia, Summary of Results, 2012 (cat. no. 4670.0)


HOUSEHOLD EXPENDITURE SURVEY

The Household Expenditure Survey (HES), last conducted in 2009-10, collects a variety of expenditure and financial stress items which are also collected in the HECS. The following information should be used to guide any comparisons made between the two sources.

Energy Expenditure

While HES and HECS use similar sampling and estimation approaches, but the following differences in collection methodology and content should be considered when comparing the two sources:
  • HES did not ask whether a household uses electricity, and only asked for the last payment made and coverage period to derive an estimate of weekly electricity expenditure. HECS only collected information on electricity expenditure for households who say they have an electricity connection.
  • HES did not specifically asked for fixed payment amounts and does not record these amounts as expenditure (unless reported as their last bill, in which case they were estimated using the amount and period in the same way as other payments). HECS specifically asked for expenditure made under a fixed payments plan (for electricity or mains/ gas), and retained as the expenditure amount.
  • HES households were not asked directly during the interview if they had a bill or statement, but were encouraged by the interviewer to refer to these if possible. HECS respondents were asked a question during the interview on whether they had their latest energy bill or statement available to refer to for future questions.
  • HES obtained transport expenditure information from personal expenditure diaries completed over a two week period. HECS obtained transport expenditure information by personal interview, using a recall method to ask for all fuel expenditures made by the person during the past two weeks.
  • HES asked respondents to report all domestic energy expenditure in the diaries, except those used for business purposes. HECS was slightly more specific in asking about expenditure used for the dwelling. This may result in some reporting differences, particularly in rural areas.

In addition, changes to characteristics between the two reference periods should be considered when interpreting HES (2009-10) and HECS (2012) energy information, including:
  • Changes in consumption and supply charges of energy sources.
  • Climate and temperature differences. According the Bureau of Meteorology's 2012 climate summary <http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/annual_sum/2012/> 2012 was 0.11 degrees Celsius warmer than average.
  • Possible other changes in household energy usage characteristics between reference periods (e.g. improved efficiency ratings for new household appliances and home construction, changes in attitudes, perceptions and behaviours towards energy use).

The following table provides a summary of estimates for expenditure items collected from the last HES, conducted in 2009-10 and those collected in the HECS.

Energy expenditure estimates from the Household Expenditure Survey, 2009-10 and Household Energy Consumption Survey 2012

Household Expenditure Survey, 2009-10 (a)
Household Energy Consumption Survey, 2012

Average weekly expenditure ($)
Dwelling energy source (selected dwelling)
42
39
    Electricity
32
29
    Mains gas
8
8
    LPG/ bottled gas
1
1
    Other sources of dwelling energy (b)
-
-
Fuel for vehicles
48
    Petrol
42
51
    Diesel
4
8
    LPG
2
1
Total household energy expenditure
91
99

(a) HES estimates have been adjusted for changes in the appropriate CPI subgroup.
(b) HES includes heating oil, wood for fuel and domestic fuel and power not elsewhere classified.
Source: Household Expenditure Survey, Australia: Summary of Results, Detailed Expenditure Items, 2009-10 (cat. no. 6530.0), Household Energy Consumption Survey, Australia, Summary of Results, 2012 (cat. no. 4670.0).

Financial stress

HES also collected a selection of financial stress questions. The following HES items were also asked in HECS:

  • Pawned or sold something due to shortage of money
  • Went without meals due to shortage of money
  • Whether could not pay gas/ electricity/ telephone bill on time due to shortage of money
  • Whether could not pay registration/ insurance on time due to shortage of money
  • Management of household income
  • Present standard of living compared with 2 years ago.


These were collected in a similar manner to HECS in terms of question design and methodology.

HES collected an item "unable to heat home due to shortage of money" which for HECS was altered to refer to both heating and cooling.

The following two items:

  • Assistance sought from welfare/ community organisations due to shortage of money
  • Sought financial help from friends/ family due to a shortage of money

were asked in HES, but are slightly different in HECS where assistance or help could be also received, rather than just sought.


The following table provides a summary of the financial stress items collected in the HES 2009-10 and HECS.

Financial Stress estimates from the Household Expenditure Survey, 2009-10 and Household Energy Consumption Survey 2012

Household Expenditure Survey, 2009-10
Household Energy Consumption Survey, 2012

Proportion of households (%)
Pawned or sold something due to shortage of money
2.7
3.1
Went without meals due to shortage of money
3.2
3.0
Whether could not pay gas/ electricity/ telephone bill on time due to shortage of money
12.5
13.6
Whether could not pay registration/ insurance on time due to shortage of money
5.0
6.3
Spent more money than received
14.9
13.0
Assistance sought from welfare/ community organisations due to shortage of money (a)
2.8
3.2
Sought financial help from friends/ family due to a shortage of money (a)
7.9
7.0

(a) HECS included assistance received as well as sought.
Source: Household Expenditure Survey, Australia: Summary of Results, 2009-10 (cat. no. 6530.0), Household Energy Consumption Survey, Australia, Summary of Results, 2012 (cat. no. 4670.0)


MONTHLY POPULATION SURVEY SUPPLEMENTARY SURVEYS

Several topics around household energy are collected as supplementary surveys to the Monthly Population Survey (MPS). For details of the design, scope and coverage of the MPS, readers should refer to the Information Paper: Labour Force Survey Sample Design, 2007 (cat. no. 6269.0), and any recent edition of the ABS publication Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0).

The HECS only collected household level information from private dwellings in urban and rural areas of Australia (excluding very remote areas) which should be considered when making comparisons with data from these collections.

Energy Use and Conservation Survey

The most recent Energy Use and Conservation (EUCS) Survey was conducted throughout Australia in March 2011.

The aim of the survey was to collect information on how households use and conserve energy. The survey collected a range of information on factors which can affect how much energy a household consumes including dwelling structure, the type of insulation a dwelling has and the number and types of electrical appliances within the household. Data was also collected on the sources of energy used by households, including main source of energy used for heating.

The EUCS collected information from usual residents in private and non-private dwellings in urban, rural, remote and very remote areas in all states and territories of Australia.

For further information and a summary of findings from this collection, please refer to the publication Environmental Issues: Energy Use and Conservation, March 2011 (cat. no. 4602.0.55.001).

Attitudes to the Environment Survey

The most recent Attitudes to the Environment Survey (AES) was conducted throughout Australia from July 2011 to June 2012 as a topic on the Multipurpose Households Survey (MPHS). The MPHS is conducted each financial year by the ABS as a supplement to the MPS.

The AES collected information from individuals aged 18 years and over about their views and practices on environmental issues over a 12 month period prior to the date of interview. It includes similar energy efficient behaviours and perception items that were asked in HECS.

The AES collected information from a randomly selected usual resident of private dwellings in urban, rural, remote and very remote areas in all states and territories of Australia.

For further information and a summary of findings from this collection, please refer to the publication Environmental Views and Behaviour, 2011-12 (cat. no. 4626.0.55.001)

State supplementary surveys

The following products summary findings from state-based supplementary surveys, which provide state level information about household behaviour and choices in response to issues around climate change, water, energy use and individual behaviours around public transport use.

Household Water and Energy Use, Victoria, October 2011 (cat. no. 4602.2)
Queensland Water and Energy Use and Conservation, Oct 2009 (cat. no. 4602.3)
Household Choices Related to Water and Energy, WA, October 2009 (cat. no. 4656.5)


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