Electricity providers in Brisbane
The electricity market in Queensland is not as open as many other parts of Australia, with only South East Queensland having Full Retail Competition (FRC) and deregulated energy prices. This area includes Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, and the Gold Coast, and residents can switch between over 30 electricity providers and benefit from a choice of electricity plans. Residents in the rest of Queensland only have a single energy provider, though the Queensland Government subsidises electricity costs in regional Queensland to keep them somewhat comparable to electricity costs in SE QLD.
Even though Brisbanites and their close neighbours are more spoiled for choice than other Queenslanders, it remains essential to be aware of some factors that can influence the cost of electricity, regardless of your provider. Especially since price deregulation only happened in 2017.
Electricity distributors in Brisbane
Only three electricity distributors manage the electricity infrastructure throughout Queensland, with each having a well-defined area. So, if moving from one Brisbane suburb to another, there’s no risk of falling under a new distributor.
|Energex||All of South East Queensland|
|Ergon Energy||The rest of Queensland|
|Essential Energy||Goondiwindi and immediate surrounds, on the NSW border.|
Even though Energex and Ergon Energy fall under the same parent company. Energy Queensland, they operate in distinct regions of Queensland with no overlap. Essential Energy is actually a NSW based distributor, but they are only responsible for electricity distribution in a small area of south Queensland around Goondiwindi.
As your electricity rates and charges can change depending on the distributor servicing your area, it is important to know your distributor. Both, your usage and supply charges can vary based on the distributor and retailer. The supply charge is not related to your usage – it is a daily amount you are charged for being connected to the electricity network.
Making sense of time of use rates
Customers with smart meters installed can opt for either a flat, demand, or time of use tariff. This is because some smart meters are remotely read and record electricity usage in 30-minute intervals.
For consumers on a Time of Use tariff, the cost of energy is charged at different rates which depend on the time of day that energy is being consumed. The Time of Use tariff is broken into three time periods that loosely reflect the electricity demand at that time – Peak, Off-peak and Shoulder.
- Peak – this is when electricity costs the most. Peak rates usually apply in the evenings.
- Off-peak – this is when electricity is the cheapest.
- Shoulder – this is when electricity costs a bit less than peak. Shoulder rates usually apply in between peak and off-peak periods.
If you are on a Time of Use tariff, when you use electricity can have a significant impact on your bill.
A Time of Use plan could be a good choice if:
- You are out a lot in the evenings when peak prices apply
- You are at home during the day or on weekends
- You use your appliances (like your washing machine or dishwasher) on the weekend
However, time of use tariffs are still opt-in for new and existing customers, so you can still switch between a time of use and a flat tariff to see which offers you the most benefit.
Peak, shoulder, and off-peak hours for customers with Energex as their distributor remain the same over weekends and public holidays, with no change either during summer or non-summer months. An older time of use tariff has different hours but is not included here because it is no longer available for new customers.
|Peak||4pm to 9pm|
|Shoulder||9pm to 9am|
|Off-Peak||9am to 4pm|
Peak hours for customers with Ergon as their electricity distributor only applies during summer months but include weekends and public holidays during this period.
|Peak||3pm to 9:30pm, from 1 December through to 28 February|
|Off-Peak||All other times|
While Essential Energy has different off-peak and shoulder times over weekends, public holidays that fall on weekdays are treated the same as regular weekdays. The times also remain the same regardless of the season.
|Peak||5pm to 8pm1|
|Shoulder||7am to 5pm, and again from 8pm to 10pm1|
|Off-Peak||10pm to 7am on weekdays, and all weekend from 10pm on Friday through to 7am on Monday|
1 Weekdays only.
The difference between a default market offer and market contracts
On 1 July 2019, the Default Market Offer (DMO) was introduced to residential and small business electricity customers in NSW, SA and south east Queensland.
The DMO is the annual maximum total bill amount (called a reference price) energy companies can charge for the standing offer prices. This is based on a set average usage amount. This reference price is intended to make it easier for customers to compare energy plans across different providers. The DMO prices are determined by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER).
Market contracts have prices set by the electricity retailers themselves, which may include discounts (conditional or guaranteed) and other incentives, that could reduce the total cost of your bill. Market contracts can offer provide more competitive pricing than the DMO. To stay competitive, retailers may change the pricing on their market offers many times a year. Market offers may be for a fixed or variable term, however in most case no exit fees are charged.
Accessing electricity rebates and special discounts
As a Brisbane customer, you may qualify for https://www.qld.gov.au/community/cost-of-living-support/concessions/energy-concessions/electricity-gas-rebates administered by Dodo on behalf of the QLD Government. Eligibility conditions vary and are subject to change from time to time.
- Pensioner Concession Card
- Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold Card
- Queensland Seniors Card
- Centrelink Health Care Card
Asylum seekers may also qualify for an electricity concession but will need to provide their ImmiCard details. If the account holder applying for an electricity concession shares their home with other people, certain conditions will apply.
Most applicants will need to speak directly to their relevant electricity provider in order to receive the rebate. However, if you live in an apartment, granny flat, retirement home, or residential park, you will need to speak to the person or company that sends you your electricity bill.
The Queensland Government's Affordable Energy Plan, which offered rebates on the purchase of new energy-efficient appliances, and interest-free loans for purchasing solar and battery systems is now closed to new applications.