For a while now it seems that everyone has been talking about Australia’s ‘energy crisis’ and it’s not surprising considering prices rose by $400. This month has been big for energy, with the rollout of a number of schemes set to manage electricity demand and save us from blazing bills this summer.
Since we’ve been flooded with energy news over the last month, we thought it was time for a catch up, in case you haven’t been in the in loop. So take a deep breath and let’s dive in.
New South Wales
In an effort to help Aussies save on their energy bill, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced an energy relief package.
The package offered discounts for NSW households and small businesses who use energy-efficient appliances, as well as increased rebates on energy bills for families who receive the Family Tax Benefit and concession card holders. You can see a full summary of the package here.
If you’d like to apply for the Family Energy Rebate, you’ll need to first lodge your 2016/17 tax return. Then, have the following information handy before you apply online:
- Your customer reference number (CRN)
- An email address
- Your contact and energy retailer details
- Your Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) number (if applicable)
- A copy of your recent electricity bill
And if you’d like to access the Appliance Replacement Offer, you’ll need a Concession, Health Care or Veterans Affair Gold Card. You’ll then be able to replace:
- A fridge that is 6 years old or older and receive a 40% discount
- A plasma or a cathode ray tube (CRT) television and receive a 50% discount
Victorians saw the release of the ‘demand management’ scheme - a strategy designed to ease the electricity demand on the power grid by having residents limit their energy use during peak hours, in return for earning credits on their power bill.
Those participating in the scheme will switch off big appliances, like air-cons or pool pumps for as little as 30 minutes a day during peak hours - potentially saving up to $500 on their annual bill.
And in a more recent development, the ABC recently reported that the idea will be trialed by the Australian Energy Market Operator and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency in not only Victoria, but NSW and South Australia as well.
Aussies who are happy to take one for the team and sweat it out this summer should check out the list down below of participating energy retailers, as providers will be recruiting customers independently.
Participating energy retailers include:
- EnergyAustralia (NSW, SA, VIC)
- AGL (NSW)
- EnerNOC (NSW, VIC)
- Progressive Green (NSW)
- Flow Power (NSW)
- Powershop Australia (VIC)
- Zen Ecosystems (SA, VIC)
- Intercast (SA)
- Forge (SA)
- United Energy Distribution Pty Ltd (VIC)
But on a more drastic note, the Victorian Government may soon move to re-regulate power prices, despite the poor welcome from energy retailers who argue it will damage the investment in renewable energy and hurt small businesses.
Heading north, Queenslanders could soon be putting their willpower to the test as they’re asked to keep their air-cons at 26 degrees to decrease the risk of blackouts.
The idea is part of a 5 step Power System Summer Preparedness Plan, which also features increased roll out of the PeakSmart air conditioning program. Customers who purchase a PeakSmart air-con will receive up to $400 cashback and wouldn’t have to turn their air-con off during peak hours - it will simply run at a lower level.
To participate, you’ll need to either buy and install a Peaksmart air conditioner and fill out a PeakSmart Air Conditioner Installation Form with your installer. You will then need to upload and save the document to your computer, before attaching online at energex.com.au/positivepayback.
New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, ACT and Tasmania
With the exception of Victoria, where they’re already required, from December 1, smart meters will be installed in households and small businesses, again, to lower energy bill prices and prevent blackouts.
The smart meters will provide real-time updates every 30 minutes, which can be easily accessed by users - helping households and small businesses better monitor their electricity consumption and adjust their habits to use less energy and save more money. However, this scheme is in its early stages, so keep an eye out for information from your energy retailer about how and when you’ll be able to snag a smart meter for yourself.
But you don’t have to wait for government schemes to come into effect before you start saving on your energy bill. Check out our energy comparison tool and switch today.