Thanks to the deregulation of Victorian electricity prices back in 2009, which gave retailers the power to set their own prices, our energy market is extremely competitive.
If you haven’t checked to see how much you’re paying for electricity lately, it’s worth comparing electricity and gas offers to see if you can find a better deal. Switching is quick and easy, and the savings could be significant. Remember when you’re comparing providers that there is more to your bill than just the rates. Fees and charges, discounts and contracts can all play a part in how much you pay for power each month.
With so much happening in the Garden State, electricity companies have their work cut out for them to meet our power needs, particularly during times of peak consumption.
Unsurprisingly, Victorians typically use the most electricity in the sweltering summer months, usually between 3pm and 9pm when people returning home from work turn on their cooling systems, TVs, lights and other household appliances.
Winter can be another peak period for electricity usage, with people living in the chillier parts of the state huddling around heaters for warmth.
Peak demand has been growing in recent years, and to meet it, electricity distribution companies are having to build more infrastructure, such as poles and wires. The cost of doing so is then passed on to Victorian consumers through electricity price increases.
Of course, not everyone blasts the air conditioning system when the mercury rises, or cranks up their heater when it dips. Some people prefer to find more eco- and wallet-friendly ways to stay comfortable.
While these people may benefit from lower bills in the short term, they are still being slung with the electricity rate rises.
To help reduce energy consumption during peak periods and distribute costs more fairly, the Victorian government is proposing a new network tariff from 1 January 2017. This will allow energy retailers to set prices that reflect the cost of delivering electricity to consumers during times of peak demand.
The retailers are suggesting this be a three-part tariff, made up of:
The tariff isn’t mandatory – however, depending on your circumstances, you may find that you get a better deal by opting in. As always, taking the time to compare offers from different energy providers is key to finding a great rate.
As well as the potential savings offered by the new tariff, the Victorian Government provides a range of energy concessions and relief grants to help low-income households cover the cost of electricity, gas and LPG.
These include a 17.5 per cent concession on mains electricity year-round between 1 May and 31 October.
Eligible households in targeted disadvantaged areas could also apply for the Energy and Water Taskforce Program, which provides up to $300 worth of energy- and water-saving products and covers the cost of installation.
To find out whether you’re eligible for any grants or concessions, contact your energy retailer or visit the Department of Human Services.
Another way the Victorian Government is working to reduce our state’s electricity consumption is by investing in renewable energy technologies.
One initiative, the General Exemption Amendment Order, helps households install rooftop solar panels at little to no up-front cost by allowing them to enter into solar power purchase agreements (PPAs).
Under a PPA, a solar company provides, installs and maintains the panels, and the householder simply pays an agreed price for the energy they provide. The solar company also benefits from the arrangement by onselling any excess power generated by the panels back into the grid.
This initiative may spark a growing interest in cleaner, more affordable energy sources, which could potentially have a positive impact on our planet and our wallets.
With the energy market in Victoria being so competitive, to save on energy costs, retailers are offering new customers competitive rates to get them to switch.
Unfortunately, this may mean their existing customers are slapped with higher rates to make up the difference. If it’s been a while since you’ve reviewed your gas and electricity rates, iSelect is here to help.
We’ll compare plans we offer from our range of energy providers*, and all you’ll have to do is choose one that suits you.
Switching providers is simple and painless, and your power supply won’t be disrupted during the changeover. Best of all, our service is free – so what have you got to lose? Aside from big energy bills, that is.
Finding a gas and electricity plan from our range of providers* is quick and easy with iSelect. Simply enter your postcode to get started on your energy plan comparison here.