Electricity providers in Sydney
The electricity market in Sydney and the broader NSW has a number of competitive electricity retailers. With over 30 electricity providers in Sydney, consumers have a vast array of offers and providers to choose from. And, while switching providers is relatively easy and costs nothing, there are several factors that influence just how affordable a deal you could get by switching to a different electricity provider in Sydney.
Electricity distributors in Sydney
Even though you have over 30 electricity providers to choose from in Sydney, the actual grid infrastructure and distribution is limited to only three electricity distributors across Sydney and the rest of NSW. So, unless you also move to a different address in Sydney, switching to a different provider will see you still using the same distributor. And distribution costs can easily account for up to 50 percent of your total bill.
|Ausgrid||Inner, northern, and eastern suburbs of Sydney|
|Endeavour Energy||Southern and western suburbs of Sydney|
|Essential Energy||Regional areas of NSW|
When comparing electricity retailers, the details for each plan offered will include the name of the distributor your address falls under. If you plan on moving, you can visit the website for each distributor and enter your post code to see if you would fall under their area of coverage.
Distribution charges are shown as Supply or Service Fee in cents/dollars per day and are fixed. Your actual usage does not affect this cost.
Making sense of peak and off-peak rates
The electricity plans you look at when comparing providers will mention that it is either a single rate tariff or a time of use tariff. This can have a significant impact on your electricity bill, with a single rate tariff seeing you paying the same price per kilowatt-hour (kWh) regardless of the time of day or season. A time of use tariff has different rates per kWh for electricity used in peak and off-peak periods, which themselves differ according to the day of the week, season, and your electricity distributor. You’ll be able to get this information from your retailer. Also consider ways in which you can reduce your energy usage during peak times, such as using appliances with high energy use during off peak times.
- Summer months are 1 November through to 31 March each year.
- Winter months are 1 June through to 31 August each year.
- Spring months (only for shoulder periods) are 1 September to 31 October each year.
- Autumn months (only for shoulder periods) are 1 April to 31 May each year.
Summer months - 2pm to 8pm2
Winter months - 5pm to 9pm2
Summer months - 7am to 2pm, and again from 8pm to 10pm 2
Winter months - 7am to 5pm, and again from 9pm to 10pm 2
Spring & autumn - 7am to 10pm 2
Weekends and public holidays - 7am to 10pm, regardless of season
|Off-Peak||All other times, including weekends and public holidays|
1 Residential customers only, different times apply to business customers.
2 Working weekdays only.
- High-season is 1 November through to 31 March each year.
- Low-season is 1 April through to 31 October each year.
While they did previously have a shoulder period, this fell away in 2019.
|Peak||4pm to 8pm 1|
|Off-Peak||All other times, including weekends and gazetted public holidays in NSW|
1 Working weekdays only.
While the times for peak period usage remain the same across both high- and low-season, the actual rate per kWh could vary.
Essential Energy has the same times for peak, should, and off-peak periods throughout the year, regardless of season. They also don’t have different times for any public holidays. These times also only apply if you have an interval meter installed, capable of recording usage remotely in 30-minute intervals.
|Peak||5pm to 8pm 1|
|Shoulder||7am to 5pm, and again from 8pm to 10pm 1|
|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 default market offers and market contracts
The Default Market Offer (DMO) replaced standing offers in 2019 and means that the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) still sets the price of electricity on a DMO plan. With a market contract plan, the electricity provider sets an offer and can change it as often as they want, provided the retailer has given you notice of the price change. The cost of electricity on a DMO isn’t always competitive with that of a market contract, but the benefit is that the price can only change every six months. Despite the name, both DMOs and market contracts are available on month-to-month and fixed term market plans. When viewing the details of a market contract plan, the cost summary will generally be priced as a discount off the electricity reference price, based on the annual usage for an average customer in a specific distribution area.
Accessing electricity rebates and special discounts
Several electricity rebates are available to qualifying residential customers in Sydney:
- Low-Income Household Rebate
- Family Energy Rebate
- Life Support Rebate
- Medical Energy Rebate
- Seniors Energy Rebate
- Concession Rebates
- Energy Accounts Payment Assistance scheme1
1 Only for short-term help.
You can find the qualifying criteria and application process for each rebate type on the Energy NSW website. When signing up with a new electricity provider you will need to specify that you are eligible for a rebate and provide proof.
Households that don’t qualify for electricity rebates could still benefit from once-off discount programs offered by the NSW Government in the form of a discount off the price of a new fridge or television, and discounts off the cost of lights and installation fees when switching from halogen downlights to LED downlights.
Specific conditions apply to both these programs, and you can find these on the Energy NSW website. Replacing older appliances and lights with more energy efficient ones offers longer term benefits too by reducing your electricity bill, so is worth exploring even if you don’t qualify for the discounts offered by the NSW Government.