4671.0 - Household Energy Consumption Survey, User Guide, Australia, 2012  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/09/2013  First Issue
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This section of the User Guide describes the concepts and definitions used in the 2012 Household Energy Consumption Survey (HECS) longitudinal component, including:

Demographic characteristics
Dwelling characteristics
Household energy expenditure and consumption
Household energy behaviours and perceptions


The longitudinal component of HECS collected very limited demographic details on residents to help assess changes in the composition of the household between follow-up periods for collection purposes.

Information on whether a household had changed residential address or the number/ ages of persons within the dwelling was also collected. If a household had changed residential address in the past three months, their data was no longer included in the longitudinal sample.


Information on all sources of energy or fuel used in the dwelling was collected. For households with solar electricity, a further question to establish whether the system was connected to the electricity grid was asked. Capacity information was collected for newly installed (in the last three months) solar electricity systems.


Similar items on household energy expenditure and consumption that were collected during the household interview were collected again during the longitudinal component. The main differences between the longitudinal and household interview items, aside from those related to the mode of collection (outlined in the 'Survey design and operation' section) were that:

  • Households were not specifically asked or advised to refer to their last bill or statement for information. However in order to answer some of the questions it is anticipated many households would need to have located their last bill or statement for assistance.
  • Households reported the actual start and finish dates of the electricity or mains gas billing period, rather than the last payment coverage period (i.e. number of days, weeks or months to which their last payment related). This allowed for detection of instances such as where a household had not yet received another bill or statement since completing their last longitudinal survey.
  • For households who used bottled gas/ LPG, expenditure and consumption, information for purchases in the last three months were sought, rather than the households last payment as was asked during the household interview. Likewise for households who used firewood or other sources of energy, only expenditure information during the last three months was sought, rather than expenditure in the past 12 months.
  • Households were asked (with respect of each type of energy source used), separate questions on whether any part of the expenditure (and the amount) would be refunded by someone outside the household, or charged to a business. In the household interview, households were asked this question once, covering all energy sources used, and only reported the amount refunded for sources where it applied. Items are output either with and without refunds deducted.


Similar items on household energy behaviours that were collected during the household interview were collected again during the longitudinal period. The main differences between longitudinal and household interview items were that:
  • All households were asked if they had made modifications their dwelling, with the reference period of the last three months. This differs to the household interview, where only owner households (with or without a mortgage) were asked about whether they had made modification to their dwelling in the last two years. Renter households could indicate however that they were unable to make modifications to their dwelling, when asked the subsequent question on why no modifications were made during the period.
  • All households were asked for their intention to make modifications to their dwelling during the next 12 months. This differs to the household interview, where only owner households (with or without a mortgage) were asked for this information, however as with modifications made, renter households could indicate their tenure a reason when reporting the main reason why they didn't intend to make improvements.
  • An additional question asking whether there was anything (apart from seasonal variation) which may have affected the household's energy use during the applicable longitudinal information was collected. This information is included as an extra variable on the longitudinal file.