The Power Preference: Gas Vs Electricity
If you thought the pineapple on pizza debate was contentious, just wait until you’ve seen a gas purist take on an electricity radical and watch the sparks fly. There are various studies that tend to disagree on which source of energy is cheapest – mostly because there are a multitude of factors to consider, such as cost of appliances, cost of repairs, efficiency, connection costs and more (solar and local pricing also influence costs). So, if the goal is to simply determine which is cheaper, it’s going to involve a lot of personal research on what appliances you have and what prices are like in your area. As with many choices, cost isn’t necessarily the deciding factor, and for energy it can come down to plenty of other variables, including simple personal preference.
Unfortunately for lovers of gas in the Sunshine State, many houses still aren’t connected to the mains gas line, which means they either have to settle for electricity or resort to bottled gas for their cooking and water-heating needs. Direct Connect’s Teegan Parr says the good news is we’re catching up to the southern states in terms of gas infrastructure – though mostly just in Southeast Queensland. “Our mains gas lines were only installed a number of years ago in Queensland and the further north you go, you don’t have as much gas, and certainly in the rural areas you don’t have any mains gas at all,” she says.
The main reason Queensland’s gas network is still in its infancy is likely due to the relative lack of space heating required. Until we have a natural gas network to rival New South Wales and Victoria, we’ll need to rely on bottled gas for our non-electric cooktop needs – especially for those who aren’t in newer or central Southeast Queensland areas.
While both gas and electricity have their pros and cons, gas has emerged as the clear winner for both food preparation and reliability. “Gas cooking is much preferred in any kitchen because you can get the heat to the right temperature,” explains Parr with all the defiance of an intransigent gas user. “If you’re on electricity and you lose power, you can’t cook and have no hot water.”
So, if gas-powered kitchens are favourable, should they be considered a point of difference for sales? REIQ Cairns zone chair Tom Quaid says that despite his city having no mains gas line at all, electric stoves still take second preference. “There’s definitely a far higher rate of homes with only electricity, and so a gas kitchen is a standout feature,” he says. “A gas stove is a sales point, and something we’d always mention.” He also highlights that Cairns homes don’t typically use gas for hot water – solar is more common, which means residents are bringing in bottled gas solely for the use of a gas stovetop.
It seems while there are plenty out there who prefer electric kitchens, either for cost, efficiency, solar and environmental factors or anything else, the relative rarity of mains gas lines and gas cooktops in Queensland definitely makes them a feature worth flaunting.