The Turnbull government spent an estimated $300,000 of taxpayers' cash to spruik its energy policies for just 60 seconds during last weekend's football grand finals.
Labor has branded the TV ad spending a "disgusting waste of money" that could have paid off thousands of household power bills.
The government ran two 30-second TV ads - one during Saturday's AFL final and another during Sunday's NRL game - as part of its multimedia "Powering Forward" campaign, which claims the government is bringing down power prices and improving energy reliability.
The ads ran in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide and Brisbane.
While the precise cost of grand final advertising spots is a closely guarded secret, a five-city, 30-second spot during the AFL goes for an estimated $175,000. A similar spot during the NRL final is believed to cost slightly less, at an estimated $130,000.
Government tender documents show the Department of Environment and Energy recently paid Melbourne firm TBWA $766,000 to develop the TV, radio, print and online campaign. The department has also spent $107,000 on marketing, $19,000 for online ads, $18,000 on an animated video and $15,000 on graphic design.
The department said the campaign aimed to inform people "about how the government is tackling the energy challenges facing the nation".
"Australians are rightly concerned about rising power bills and need to know that they will be able to afford reliable energy," a spokesperson said.
'"The point of an advertising campaign is for messages to reach the target audiences that need the information. The bigger the audience, the better the value for money, hence the decision to run the ad during the grand finals."
The department declined to confirm the cost of the grand final spots, citing "commercial-in-confidence" concerns. The total cost of the campaign will be reported in the department's annual report.
Labor's "waste watch" spokesman Matt Keogh said the department's main contract could have paid the power bills of nearly 5000 average households.
"Burning $760,000 of taxpayers' money on a few ads during the grand final and a website is a disgusting waste of money," he told Fairfax Media.
The ads say the government is improving affordability, reliability and sustainability in the National Energy Market.
"As Australia continues to grow and modernise, we need new ways to power that transformation. That's why the Australian Government has been planning, funding and building a new energy system - powering forward to a better energy future," it says.