Explaining Electricity in Queensland

Published on January 4, 2018 3:46 am, by

Working out your options for electricity providers isn’t always simple. In QLD your location changes your options significantly. In South East Queensland the competition is fierce, so you can save big just by understanding your meter type and the plans available. Outside of South East Queensland energy prices are regulated, this means your opportunity to shop around for savings is limited.

South East QLD

From 1 July 2016 electricity prices were no longer regulated in South East Queensland. Retailers now set and publish their market and standing offers online and on Energy Made Easy, the independent price comparison site. This encourages retailers to be more competitive and consumers to shop around, and understand the plans available to them.

There are now more than 300 Electricity plans in South East Queensland. It’s no surprise that people get overwhelmed with the information and their choices. Here we will share information to help you understand your electricity options, including a list of retailers, the plans and tariffs available, and finally how you can source the cheapest prices for your plan type and usage, in your area.

Retailers in South East QLD

There are 17 retailers that currently offer residential electricity plans in South East Queensland. These are:

  • AGL
  • Alinta Energy
  • Click Energy
  • Diamond Energy
  • Dodo
  • Energy Australia
  • Energy Locals
  • MOJO
  • Momentum Energy
  • Origin Energy
  • People Energy
  • Power Direct
  • Powershop
  • Q Energy
  • Red Energy
  • Sanctuary Energy
  • Simply Energy

Tariff types in South East QLD

Tariff 11: Single Rate (also referred to as Peak Only or Anytime)

  • The standard retail tariff for domestic supply, most Queenslanders are on this tariff
  • The same price is charged for each unit of electricity used, whatever the time of day
  • Charges will include daily supply charge & usage

Tariff 12A: Time of Use

  • A higher price is charged for each unit of electricity used in peak times, and a lower price outside of peak times – some plans include peak, off-peak and shoulder pricing
  • Charges will include daily supply charge & usage

Tariff 14: Demand

  • A new tariff that includes demand charges in peak periods in summer, but generally has lower daily supply and usage costs
  • Charges will include daily supply, usage & demand

Tariff 31 and 33: Controlled Loads (also referred to as Dedicated Circuits, Economy or Guaranteed Limited Supply)

  • These tariffs are cheaper than tariff 11 and are used for hard-wired appliances such as hot water systems & pool pumps
  • Electricity is only available at certain times of the day – tariff 31 for 8 hours a day, and tariff 33 for 18 hours per day – tariff 33 generally costs more than tariff 31
  • These charges will appear on your bill in addition to other tariffs, they are not stand alone

Tariff 31 and Tariff 33 are always combined with other tariffs and can be used to reduce your electricity bills by ensuring you are running certain appliances outside of peak times.

Different types of discounts

Guaranteed discount

  • During the contract period, you always receive the discount
  • It may apply to supply & usage, or more commonly just usage

Pay on time discount

  • If you don’t pay your entire bill on time, you won’t get the discount
  • It may apply to supply & usage, or more commonly just usage

Direct Debit discount

  • This applies when you set up a direct debit to pay your bill on the due date
  • It may apply to supply & usage, or more commonly just usage

Things to know about your discounts

  • If you don’t pay your bill on time, compare plans with guaranteed discounts and/or non-discounted rates
  • The discount will almost always be for a period of 1-2 years, know when you’re coming off it and negotiate with your retailer or change retailers
  • After the discounted period, you will generally be placed on the retailer’s standing offer
  • On average customers on standing offers pay 20% more than other customers – loyalty is rarely rewarded

How to find the cheapest plan in South East QLD

There are a variety of ways to find the lowest cost plan in South East Queensland. The Energy Made Easy site is a good starting point to compare. If you want it to be easy, MoneyBrilliant offers a Bill Watch service to their customers. All you need to tell us is your postcode and average usage, and we will tell you the 3 lowest cost plans available for your usage details.

Final tips 

  • Make sure you are on a market offer, not a standing offer, market offers provide discounts or lower tariffs
  • Changing electricity providers is easy, when you sign up with a new provider they will take care of changing you across from your old provider
  • If you want to say with your current provider – negotiate – know the cheapest plan they offer new clients and ask to be switched to it. It’s also worth knowing alternative low-cost plans with other providers so your current provider knows that you know where you can get your electricity cheaper

Outside of South East QLD

Electricity prices in Regional Queensland are regulated and set annually by the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA).

This means that customers don’t have the opportunity to source lower prices through competition. The Queensland government subsidises the cost of supplying electricity outside of South East Queensland by making payments to Ergon Energy.

Retailers in North Queensland include Sanctuary Energy, Momentum Energy & Ergon Energy Retail. Prices offered by the retailers are very similar as they need to adhere to the prices set by QCA.

Saving money on your electricity bill

Due to the lack of competition in regional and rural Queensland, reducing costs for electricity comes down to your eligibility for a subsidy and knowing how you can reduce your bill by changing your usage habits.

Check here to see you if you are eligible for concessions:

Tips for reducing energy consumption around your home

  • Turn your hot water off overnight, the temperature is normally only slightly reduced by morning, and you can switch it back on when you wake up
  • If you have a time of use meter, do your clothes & dishwashing outside of peak times
  • Know which appliances are expensive to run & minimise use – e.g. clothes dryer, air conditioner, heater
  • Turn off switches when appliances are not in use – e.g. television, microwave, lights, fans
  • Wash clothes in cold water as much as possible
  • Be efficient in your use of washing machines & dishwashers – make sure you have a full load
  • Turn off the lights when you leave a room
  • In winter use rugs & door stops to block gaps in doors and naturally warm your home 

Resource: Queensland Government, Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy

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Jen is an experienced banking professional who loves wine, coffee, finding a bargain and of course her three beautiful children. Since Jen's first budget led her to buy a home at 20, Jen has passionately helped others to make better decisions with their money.

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