Consumption of electricity in the residential sector in China has risen faster than all other energy forms in China over the last 20 years, driven in part by the enormous increase in household appliance ownership, but few details are known about the characteristics of overall household energy use, particularly in the wake of the dramatic changes in the last two decades. Despite the growing importance of this sector to the evolution of future energy consumption patterns, few data exist about the nature and type of urban household energy consumption. This paper summarizes the initial results of a first-ever 5-city, 251-household comprehensive survey of Chinese household energy use, taken in the cities of Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Yixing, and Shenyang. Focus in this paper is on analysis of the major electricity consuming products in households, but summaries of the findings on housing characteristics, space heating, air conditioning, hot water supply and use, indoor lighting, cooking, refrigeration, other appliances, house insulation, energy consumption in winter and summer months, energy prices, and household demographic information are also included. The findings support the current policy to emphasize development of minimum efficiency standards for household equipment, as energy consumption from these sources are a significant portion of the household energy budget.