Australian households use four per cent less electricity than they did four years ago, but the value of that electricity has risen, new statistics say.

Electricity values are up by 43 per cent over the last four years, a report released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows.

“Between 2008-09 and 2011-12 the total value, at purchasers prices, of electricity consumed by households increased by 43 per cent or $4 billion,” said Peter Williams from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

“In comparison the total volume of electricity consumed by households decreased by four per cent.

“Households and the manufacturing industry were the two largest domestic electricity users, with households using 24 per cent of all electricity and contributing 40 per cent of the total value of electricity use.

“The quantity of coal supplied within the Australian economy between 2010-11 and 2011-12 increased by five per cent or 457 petajoules, to 9,672 petajoules,” he said.

One petajoule equates to about 277.7 million kilowatt hours.

“Over the same period the total value increased by nine per cent or $4 billion to $52 billion.

“Put simply, nationally we are using less coal to produce electricity but it is costing more to use,” said Mr Williams.

Australia is one of the world's biggest exporters of coal, with 8,516 petajoules of coal valued at $48 billion exported in 2011-12, which was over 60 per cent of the total value of Australian exports of energy products.

Between 2010-11 and 2011-12 both the volume (six per cent or 463 petajoules) and value (nine per cent or $4 billion) of coal exports increased.

The figures have been released as part of the ABS environmental accounts programme, which produces Australia’s energy supply and use tables in both physical and monetary terms.

More details are available here.