It’s a debate as old as electricity itself – and it’s riddled with myths that prevent people from switching to the smarter choice. We’ve tackled six of the biggest misconceptions around gas and electricity, from cost and reliability to the impact it has on the environment.
With loads of cost-effective, energy-efficient upgrades on the market and a range of government rebates on offer, there’s never been a better time to make the switch.
Myth 1: "Gas is more energy-efficient”
This is usually the first rebuttal you hear from pro-gas folk, but the science is not in their favour. Gas appliances often use more energy to create the same output compared to their electric equivalents. Most gas appliances have a 1:1 ratio, meaning for every unit of energy in the gas used, only one unit of heat is produced. Electric appliances, however, can achieve anywhere from 3–6 units of heat per unit of energy.
Admittedly, older electric appliances often won’t achieve such stellar results, but modern appliances are now built with energy efficiency top-of-mind. So if you invest in new electric appliances, you’re more likely to make a more energy-efficient choice. But always remember to check the star rating before you buy.
Myth 2: "The electricity grid is too unreliable”
Blackouts can be frustrating, and they’ve been happening more frequently due to increasingly frequent severe weather events and the growing strain on the electricity grid. But did you know that gas outages occur too? Like electricity, there is only a finite supply of gas available and when something happens to prevent it from flowing, we’re all back in the dark ages.
To protect your home from blackouts, consider investing in a solar system and battery. An integrated solar system provides a level of independence from the grid and can give you more control over your energy bills. There are loads of government rebates available to help you cover the initial cost, including the national Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme which aims to reduce the overall cost of installing a new residential solar panel system. You might also be eligible for a 0% interest loan as part of the ACT Sustainable Household Scheme or the Energy Saver Loan Scheme in Tasmania.
Myth 3: "Gas is cheaper than electricity”
While many think that gas is cheaper than electricity, this isn’t always the case. Gas prices in some parts of Australia have tripled in the last ten years, so if history continues to repeat itself, we can only expect those prices to keep going up.
There’s also budget management to consider. You’re limited to a handful of appliances, like hot water tanks and heaters. So, you’ll still be hit with two energy bills every quarter. But when you switch to electricity, you can power your entire home through a single source.
In addition, the initial outlay of installing gas can be expensive. If you don’t have an existing gas connection, it’ll cost anywhere from $1,200 to $5,000 to have one installed. Plus, you’ll need a gas outlet for every gas appliance. So, if you’re building or renovating, going electric is the smart choice.
Myth 4: "It’s expensive to upgrade to electric appliances"
The sheer variety of appliances on the market means you should be able to find something within your budget. Gas appliances actually tend to be more expensive than their electric counterparts, but with all appliances, it’s important to invest in quality items when possible to make sure they go the distance.
Remember, there’s no need to upgrade all at once. When one gas appliance dies, switch it out for an electric alternative. If you do want to overhaul your entire house, check your state or territory government website to see what rebates and incentives are available. For example, in the ACT, you can apply for an interest-free loan to purchase energy-efficient appliances as part of the ACT Sustainable Household Scheme. Brighte is a proud partner of the scheme, which has already reduced household operating costs by $21 million since July 2021. Similar programs have recently kicked off in Tasmania and Victoria, and we anticipate other states and territories will follow.
Myth 5: "Gas cooking is better”
Cooking comes down to personal preference. For example, parents of young children (or forgetful teenagers) tend to choose electric induction cooktops over gas for safety reasons. There’s no naked flame and the heat is transferred into the pan itself, so accidentally touching the stovetop is less likely to cause a serious burn.
Many chefs also followed Neil Perry’s lead when he made the switch to electric back in 2017. Since 35-65% of the energy used in gas cooking is lost to the atmosphere, induction cooking is far more efficient.
Another bonus for those on clean-up duty, induction stove tops are way easier to clean since they’re flat and often don’t have any knobs or ridges to navigate.
Myth 6: "Gas isn’t really that bad for the environment"
No matter how the marketers spin it, gas is a dangerous fossil fuel. It releases methane – a potent greenhouse gas – into the environment, contributing to the worsening impacts of climate change.
It’s true that electric appliances also emit greenhouse gases while in use, but Australia’s energy grid is utilising more renewable energy sources than ever, which will reduce the impact of electricity usage over time. If you’re using solar to power your home, you’re even further ahead.
From a personal health perspective, gas appliances can increase indoor air pollution in homes that aren’t properly ventilated. This can increase the risk of your children developing asthma and can exacerbate the symptoms for those who already suffer from it.
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