CHOICE membership

Have you thought about switching to a greener energy retailer? Your experience wanted

Are you an environmentally conscious consumer who has thought about switching to a greener energy retailer? How difficult did you find it to find accurate information? I’m writing a story for on these issues, if you have something to share, leave a comment below, send me a DM or email jblakkarly@choice.com.au.

7 Likes

We went one better and installed solar and battery.

Slashed our electricity costs by almost 80% and what we export is around the same as we import.

image

3 Likes

It is worth noting that for Tasmania, there is little benefit for paying for any ‘green energy’ as Tasmania has been generally 100% renewable since the Granville Harbour windfarm went online.

If Choice is writing an article, it might be worth mentioning to ensure that Tasmanian electricity consumers aren’t greenwashed into signing up for a green energy package.

9 Likes

We’ve received several offers from our current supplier. Effectively we would need to pay extra for going green. I took the offers to be based on offsetting consumption.

After we had installed solar PV similar offers were being made to offset up to 100% of consumption. We export at present twice our external consumption, and self consume approx 50% of our daily needs. Hence 2kWh of exported PV for every 1kWh of purchased energy.

It seems like a poor deal to pay extra to go greener, when the extra payment is simply purchasing carbon offset credits.

It may be worth looking to Canstar for their take on the market place.

3 Likes

I have three questions.

  1. Is it the case that adding “green” to your energy plan adds another layer of complexity to evaluating the options?

  2. How do we know that green plans actually produce the offsets that they claim, are they ever audited?

  3. If the offsets are real do they result in a net reduction in GHG emissions compared to the situation where they did not exist and how do we know this is so? In other words how do we know that the green plans are altering behaviour and not just paying providers for doing what they were going to do anyway?

5 Likes

A post I did in another topic.

Ergon currently charge consumers $0.2176/kwh on Tariff 11 and pay a pittance of $0.06583/kwh for the Solar FIT.

For anyone gullible enough to sign up to their Clean Energy plans, they charge them an extra $400 P.A, for 100% green energy.

“hydro stations at Paradise Dam and Tinaroo Dam,”

Oops. They neglected to mention Kareeya Hydro Power Station commissioned in 1957 with an output of 72MW and now upgraded to 88MW, and the Barron Gorge Power Station commissioned in 1963 with an output of 60MW and now upgraded to 66MW.

And the power we export, by the laws of physics, flows to the nearest point of demand, such as the nearby neighbours without their own solar power, so no distribution costs outside Ergon’s local dodgy network, as they pay a pittance for it, and sell it for retail plus their “feel good green energy rip-off” surcharge.

image

2 Likes

They are part of the national network except for the remote stations they run to power communities such as Thursday Island.

In a community such as Cairns Ergon may be using energy produced in SE Qld to help keep lights on, or Townsville or Rockhampton etc. Not all of it may be green power, without detailed energy usage figures for the entire Ergon network it would be hard to assume they are only using green energy or even that they are a local dodgy network. I would be more inclined to believe they are part of the national grid and that’s maybe a national dodgy network.

5 Likes

As an update, I’ve been looking at alternative retailer offers. Both our contracts end after Xmas. (SE Qld Energex distribution zone)

I’ve been looking at the Energy Made Easy web site. Easy but not necessarily giving me the answers I expected. On green energy I noted that the additional payment in some offers is used to purchase the equivalent green power as an offset. You may still be using dirty energy. Hopefully there is enough green energy to meet all demands and the same units are not being sold more than once?

Example AGL.

For the estimates of cost we export a minimum of 4600kWh of solar PV annually and buy back up to 2400kWh. It does seem a little odd to need to pay $105.60 to another to feed green energy in. It is optional. Energy Made Easy :thinking:

Note:
For @Fred123 interest, aside from the 5c feed in tariff the quoted daily cost was 103.37c and 20.54c per kWh. Metering, billing related and other charges need to be added on. The estimated annual cost $640. On the same basis Origin cheapest offer was $590 and DoDo $390.

1 Like

We had been happy PowerShop ( rated #1 green electricity provider in 2018 ) customers ever since they offered their services in NSW, but not any more. News earlier this week is that PS is going to be acquired by Shell. Many PS customers are already jumping ship. I’m concerned that the acquisition will allow Shell to do even more greenwashing.

We’ll now eagerly await the update of Greenpeace’s Green Electricity Guide early in the new year.

7 Likes

Is it reasonable or practical at present to expect to be able to consume only low carbon (green) electricity?

The option to purchase offsets is still supporting fossil fuel generation especially during peak consumption periods.

3 Likes

I don’t believe it is, not in NSW anyway ( unless one is able to go off-grid ).

In considering the green credentials of the various retailers, there is a lot to consider, hence my decision to wait for the Greenpeace update before we switch to a different provider.

5 Likes

GetUp! are a bit upset by the change as well. Because of the Green Creds of PowerShop they had encouraged members to sign up, now with Shell taking over they have sent out a missive about it all.

GetUp! - Shell’s Powershop takeover

As part of their letter they have introduced some possible alternatives to look at with a warning to undertake your own research and they like you @ScottOKeefe are awaiting Greenpeace’s report.

" * Amber — This new player aims to help you shift more of your energy usage to the times that wind and solar power are generating to build demand for more renewable energy.

  • CoPower — A non-profit cooperative that is member-owned and member-run, with a mission to tackle poverty, address the climate crisis and build community.

  • Diamond — This company’s pitch is that they source more renewable energy than customers consume.

  • Energy Locals — Energy Local’s pitch is that they have a fixed membership fee, no profits from your usage and they’re owned by a super fund manager that only invests in renewables.

  • Enova Community Energy — Community-owned, they promise to give back to local communities, and never to invest in coal, oil or gas.

  • Momentum Energy — Momentum is owned by Australia’s largest renewable energy generator, Hydro Tasmania and offers benefits for home or business solar owners.

** These alternative energy provider options are suggestions only, with decent reputations and information from the company’s websites. It’s important to do your own research to determine the best option for you and your household.*"

3 Likes

I’m also looking for PowerShop alternative, but I do not know if I am sufficiently patient to wait for Greenpeace.

Although the main reason for leaving PowerShop is not wanting to be a Shell customer, PowerShop stopped being as fun since the Vic Government made stricter rules about default prices.

If I could control the usage of other household members I would be more interested in Amber - although without any of my PV pointing west, I’d loose value from them. I also am concerned charging my EV overnight could be more expensive.

One question someone here might be able to answer for me: When I change retailer (if other than Amber) will I keep the same Time of Use billing? I believe Ausnet dictates ToU for customers with PV, but PowerShop advised earlier this year the peak periods were changing when the feed-in tariff dropped - however the period change did not come to pass.

3 Likes

Oh dear me, I thought I had. I’ve been with Powershop for quite a while, and now they’ve been bought by an oil company! So, looking to switch again. Trouble is, I’ve liked buying power in advance, and I’m having trouble finding a green energy retailer that does it…

4 Likes

Hi Trish, would you mind speaking to me for my article? If you could drop me an email at jblakkarly@choice.com.au that would be great.

Firstly, I don’t believe that we should have to pay extra for using renewables. I think that the energy providers should invest in the development of renewable energy systems, the same as they invest in anything else to do with their business. Then we would end up paying less for green energy.

I have made enquiries a few years ago from two large retailers. One question neither could adequately answer was how can they prove to me/certify that the extra it would cost me would be used 100% for green energy? Without that, I would just be donating money to them.

2 Likes

Hi there, could I have a chat with you for my article for CHOICE? If you could send me an email to jblakkarly@choice.com.au that would be great.

My experience of doing that was in 2016 down in Geelong, when I signed up with PowerShop on account of having my arm savagely twisted by an environmentally conscious friend.
I gave up on them after a fairly short time: no-one I spoke with at PowerShop was able to actually EXPLAIN it to me. I never did find out how it all worked.
I’m not someone prepared to simply accept a methodology - especially if it’s being offered as a retail purchase and purporting to be sustainable ! - that’s a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma (even if it hasn’t been thus described by Churchill !) …

I use Powershop for my energy, as I thought I was doing the right thing, given we live in such a forested area that Solar is not viable for us. I have always wondered if they are greenwashers or actually a really good company as they state on their site that they are carbon neutral. I also wonder if I am paying more than the average punter. I will be interested in your article when it comes out.

1 Like

We have 13 PV (Solar) panels on our house. The maximum ACTEWAGL (Canberra ACT) recommended.
It’s a 14.9 squares AV Jennings brick-veneer from the 1970s.
The roof has 3 layers of fibre-glass insulation, the top layer is R3.0 batts. Over two lots of crumbed fibre-glass.
The outer BV walls have rock-wool right up to the top of the brick walls.
The floors are laminated timber T&Groove over foam plastic, with the original T&G hardwood underneath.
The house is the third last on the ‘street’ and runs almost due East-to-West.
It’s on the North side of the cul-de-sac / street which also runs approximately East-West.

There is a long (L-shaped inner edge) deck across the Northern side - covering ~ 80% of the North face and an average of 3 metres deep. More depth on the Western end of the deck.

Under the deck’s clear-roof there are two layers of 70% shade-cloth stitched together. Giving us ~91% shade under it.

It’s a single large L-shaped thing and is too heavy for a single 71 yr old to maneuver. So, it now stays up year round.

We do have a ducted natural gas system installed, but no longer use it.
Instead - we use two Noirot electric panels on rollers. And use the old gas system’s thermometer to keep to about 18-19C in Winter. There’s a 2nd thermometer in the K/Froom, and a 3rd in our bedroom.

The L-shaped lounge-dining room is both a 4-6 seat dining room, and a larger lounge-room with a hi-fi system. This uses a pair of Electrostatic speakers which hate moist air. So it has an A/C unit (which is mostly outdoors) to keep them dry.

I believe we are doing pretty well.

Thoughts?!