Utilities in Melbourne

Utilities in Melbourne can be expensive
When searching for accommodation, expats should be sure to consider the added cost of utilities in Melbourne. Australian housing, including that in Victoria, is generally quite energy inefficient, and there is often an increased need for electricity, gas and water. 

The cute wooden houses found in Melbourne’s older suburbs are some of the worst offenders: cold in winter and hot in summer. Modern houses are not much better; many of them are lit only by heat-generating halogen ceiling lights.

Furthermore, Australian builders continue to use single-glazed windows that don't offer the same standard of insulation as the double- and triple-glazed examples found in Europe.

Now that Australia has deregulated the utility industry there are more service providers for expats to choose from, but the added competition has not seemed to benefit the consumer in terms of cost or service quality.

Electricity in Melbourne

In the face of a dwindling electricity supply and a growing demand, electricity tariffs have spiked. 
The increase will result in higher household utility bills; those with larger homes and bigger families will need to bank on budgeting much more, while those who live in modest apartments with few appliances can anticipate spending a bit less. 
Sadly, there are no bargains to be had with any of the electricity suppliers. Some discounting is available if one is able to take advantage of off-peak rates and use the same supplier for one's electricity and gas supply.
Expats should do what locals do and be wary of energy-guzzling appliances such as air conditioners and tumble dryers, using them only when really needed. Flat-screen televisions also use a lot of electricity and should be turned off and unplugged from the wall, rather than left on standby. 

Gas in Melbourne

Gas is at present cheaper than electricity. Gas central heating, run through radiators, is called hydronic heating in Australia. It is not standard as it is in the UK and older houses do not have it. For a sophisticated city, many older Melbourne houses seem to have primitive heating systems.

Water in Melbourne

Water, or rather the lack of it, is a big social and political issue in Melbourne.
Victoria, like many parts of Australia, is prone to droughts. There has been some relief in recent years in the form of adequate rainfall, but the government still places emphasis on using water carefully – to this end, the state of Victoria has implemented "permanent water saving rules" that everyone has to follow.

Rubbish in Melbourne

Australians refer to garbage and refuse as rubbish. There is a weekly collection in most suburban areas of household waste and recycling, each of which is put out in a separate bin. Some councils offer what is known as a hard waste collection, where households are allowed one collection per year to put out larger items, excluding any hazardous waste.

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Our Melbourne Expert

AlisonRipleyCubitt's picture
United Kingdom. Melbourne, Australia
Alison Ripley Cubitt is an author and relocation consultant for Australia and New Zealand. She has lived and worked as an ex... more

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