CHOICE membership

Electricity Price Increases


An article claiming at least 1 million households are paying too much for electricity.

I would expect the actual number to be the total number of grid connected households minus those with solar.

I must make a note to call our Qld regional supplier, Ergon, and demand a better deal.



A Senate Select Committee into Fair Dinkum Power is to be established.

Now all we need is some Fair Dinkum price cutting.



@Fred123, how many customers does Ergon have and what is the better deal?

I recollect that when I lived in FNQ there was only one choice of retailer.

You had a choice of which NRL team you supported, which beer you drank and whether to stay out of the water in summer or die in it, but only one choice of electricity retailer. :thinking:

On the positive side for those amongst us who wish for a nationally regulated retail price or industry, there is an example that says it does not always result in cheaper electricity?


As one Facebook wag had it:
Fair Dinkum Power?
Stone the crows!

On the other hand:


Unfortunately, we still have only the Government owned Ergon Energy monopoly in regional Qld.

I don’t know how many customers Ergon has but their only deal is the rough end of a pineapple.

split this topic #46

2 posts were merged into an existing topic: 0% vs Big Discounts on Gas and Electricity?

Discounts on Gas and Electricity: Customer Beware


Buried inside the ABC news item is another link. Given all of our other life expenses the cost of electricity is a relativley minor one. Electricity is no 13 on the list. Perhaps a numerical omen though for the industry?

There is a second chart in the article by the ABC that holds an answer. It ranks living expenses by cost increases since 2008. Electricity nearly takes gold!
In order:
1st, Increase in the cost of tobacco 202%
2nd Increase in the cost of household electricity 117%
3rd Increase in the cost of household gas 92%
4th Increase in the cost of sewage and water services 86%

It’s also notable that other than tobacco the cost of which is driven by federal taxation, the top three are all householder expenses once delivered by government.


I believe that one of the biggest burdens with the cost of energy, particularly electricity is the connection charge. This comes under a variety of names, but is a fixed charge for the privilege of being connected to the electricity supply. Every “customer” pays a fixed rate for this privilege, no matter what their usage is, there is no reward for being energy efficient!
My “supply charge” with ACTEW/AGL (ACT) is $0.975+GST for each day, or almost $100 a quarter. Everyone on the same contract will pay the same charge no matter how much electricity is used in that quarter.
The _connection charge is raised for the network owner to construct and maintain the “poles and wires”, plus all the associated infrastructure. The level of expenditure by the network owner is affected by the electricity demand, the higher the demand will mean the need for new infrastructure or more maintenance on existing infrastructure.
If I cause less demand for electricity due to my energy efficiency, I am not creating the need for construction or maintenance beyond the routine. However, if my neighbour is not energy efficient, they constantly run their heating/cooling, have poor insulation etc, they will create a need for construction and maintenance. So, my neighbour is creating increase costs for the network owner, but I am paying just as much as they are, this means I am subsidising my big power using neighbour!

  • Actually, if you use zero power, you will still pay the same charge!

I believe the connection charge should be on a progressive scale, so the higher the usage the higher the rate. This will reward people who make an effort to increase their efficiency and reduce electricity consumption while giving high electricity users even more incentive to reduce their consumption.
This may appear unfair to people on low income or renters who either do not have the resources or the capacity to control their energy usage. However, if enough people improve their efficiency and install PV cells and batteries the electricity demand will fall so there is less need for the network owners to do construction and maintenance! So, they will be able to drop their charges for everyone? OK, I am probably being a bit naive there, but something does need to be done about network charges


The daily connection charge around these parts is over $1.50/day, but being off-grid that isn’t of much concern to me personally.
However, for those connected to the grid, the less energy they use, the greater the effective cost per kWh of electricity. This cost heads towards $thousands/kWh if they use almost nothing from the grid due to having a PV system with battery!


The cost of the grid assets supplying each customer is not only about total power consumed. The grid also needs to be sized to be able to supply the peak demand of each customer. Of course many customers do not always use the maximum available.

The logic may appear flawed, however there is nothing currently in place to prevent any customer using up to the maximum for their connection.

There is still a strong argument that the cost of increasing the grid capacity as new customers are added is being unfairly burdened onto exisiting customers. The analysis of that may be complex, assuming the relevant information is publically available.


There are some tips in this article for actions individuals can take to reduce their power bills:


Hi mark_m
The electricity network is structured to cope with only a few weeks of the year when demand hits very high peaks. Historically this was mid-winter when everyone was heating their house - usually with very inefficient heaters. More recent years this has become a summer peak load as most houses these days have air-conditioning. The summer peak demand is magnified by high ambient temperatures when the whole electrical infrastructure is less efficient due to the heat and actually adds to the load.
This was the whole basis of the “gold plating” of the electrical system a few years ago. During the time when this happened it was madness trying to complete the massive upgrade of the electrical network to cope with these few weeks of the year. (these measures did work - when was the last time you had a power interruption because something failed?)
So, if the electricity demand during these few weeks each year can be drastically reduced, both by houses operating more efficiently and the use of PV cells plus batteries, then there is far less stress on the system so less maintenance and upgrade. So - less need for customers to be charged these network charges.


I’m perhaps one of those who should not be asked about reliability. The gold plating has not been shared equally.

If you live at the end of the overhead line in a rural area or worse on a very rural SWER line there is little gold to be seen. More typically termites and fried possums or fallen trees? We are better off than many, only having lost power twice this year for more than a 12 hours.

The ACCC provided a detailed public report on power costs and recommendations on changes needed to reduce the cost of power. The report recognised the over investment that had occurred in the poles and wires (transmission and distribution). It has been referenced and discussed earlier in this topic.


I’m not sure I want to be saved by the Government, but …

The ACCC welcomes moves by the Commonwealth Government towards implementing several recommendations from the ACCC’s retail electricity pricing inquiry. These reforms will bring down electricity prices significantly for over half a million consumers on excessive standing offers and will help all other customers generally better to compare offers.
“The proposed ‘default’ price would replace the current ‘standing offers’ and ensure that consumers are not paying excessive prices. Retailers should have addressed this problem themselves some time ago but, given they chose not to, it is appropriate for government to act,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.
“Requiring energy providers to advertise any discounts against this ‘default’ price will make it easier for consumers to choose between competing offers. This will enhance competition, and help more consumers to save money on their electricity bills.”
The ACCC found in its retail electricity pricing inquiry that current discounting practices confuse consumers, as high headline discounts do not always result in lower electricity prices. For example, one offer available in the market with a 35 per cent discount cost the average customer $887 more per year than another offer that had no discount.
The default price would save average residential customers on standing offers between $115 and $218 a year and small business customers between $453 and $937 a year (depending on the type of tariff) in NSW, south-east Queensland and South Australia, where prices are not regulated.
The ACCC also welcomes the Commonwealth Government’s proposals under which the most prominently advertised discount must not include conditional offers. The ACCC also welcomes the plan to reduce the size of conditional discounts in retail offers.
“Conditional discounts, such as pay-on-time discounts, have escalated beyond reasonable levels and expose consumers to substantial extra costs if they don’t pay their bill on time. The reform will make retailers’ offers fairer and more comparable, and stop retailers charging what in effect can become significant late payment penalties which aren’t linked to savings they make when consumers pay on time,” Mr Sims said.
“A typical NSW household on a 40 per cent pay on time discount currently stands to lose $987 off their advertised offer if they pay late, which is completely inappropriate. Forcing conditional discounts to be cost-based should see these lost savings substantially reduce.”
The proposals to reform advertising cover about 80 per cent of residential and small businesses, but exclude customers on solar offers and embedded networks.
“The proposed industry code will introduce much needed changes to retail competition and affordability. This is a significant step in implementing our recommendations,” Mr Sims said.
Similar reforms have been recently introduced by the Victorian Government, which appear broadly in line with the ACCC’s recommendations.

No mention of some states/territories - that can sometimes be a ‘good thing’ … we’ll see …


I imagine that it will have to go to COAG, especially in the case of Queensland where the government owns most of the generation and all of the distribution and transmission grid (government owned corporations or GOCs),

I expect it may not be something the QLD government supports as the government has loaded these GOCs with debt as a way to reduce public sector debt…and it is likely that this debt loading was based on the Queensland state government setting prices 'independently. to cover his debt.


We just received a leaflet from the Australian Government entitled
‘Make the Call Ask Your Energy Company for a Better Deal ~ A Simple Guide’

The first step refers you to Dept of Energy & Environment’s Powering Forward website to find out how the Govt has helped reduce our energy bill. There is hardly any content there. You can put in your state and energy provider and the contact information is provided.

The second step is to call your energy company and ask for a better deal.

The third step is to keep calling your energy company yearly or when your circumstances change.

This is like telling bank customers to ask the banks to play nice. It has been clearly demonstrated that what was required was a Royal Commission, and follow up legislation to force the banks to behave morally. Similar action is needed with the energy sector.

Excuse my scepticism, but there was a lot of money wasted on this energy leaflet which is nothing more than political advertising given that the Government hasn’t developed an energy policy nor legislated so the energy companies have to behave morally.


I posted previously on the forum regarding my experience with the Energy Made Easy comparison tool which I wasted a great deal of time in scanning and uploading our electricity bills only to have the site stumble from one mixup to another before I finally gave up in disgust.



I did a search here before I posted, but couldn’t find anything about it. My apologies.


Here is the reason for some of the price increase in electricity- a lack of competition allowing coal fired generators to make windfall profits after the closure of Hazelwood power station in Victoria.