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Considering changing energy providers in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) but don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, it’s simpler than you think.

We’re strong believers that knowledge is power, so we’ve put together an easy to digest information hub for everything related to electricity in ACT. Gain valuable insight into key energy providers, learn more about relevant legislation surrounding the industry and make a more informed decision when it comes to comparing electricity suppliers in ACT.

Understanding the electricity industry in ACT

Comprised of around 300,000 residential households, the Australian Capital Territory might not be the largest energy market in the country, but what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in competitive pricing.

For example, over the 2014/15 period, the price of electricity in ACT dropped by around 7.2 per cent, driven by the abolishment of carbon prices and the reduction of distribution network prices, according to research from the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC). What’s more, it’s possible that we could see this trend continue in the months and years ahead, with the AEMC predicting that energy prices could drop a further 7 per cent in 2015/16 due to regulatory changes affecting ActewAGL and Transgrid.

Of course, the exact amount you stand to save will depend on your typical energy usage, but it’s likely that these price drops will come as good news if you’re looking to secure the most bang for buck from your electricity provider. However, it is worth noting that these figures are just estimates, and it’s entirely possible that unforeseen factors could – positively or negatively – impact actual prices.

Energy deregulation in ACT

Electricity is deregulated in ACT, which essentially means that you’re free to compare energy providers and choose the retailer that best suits you. However, as the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) explained, you can still opt for a regulated plan, in which electricity prices are set by the government. This offers a little more certainty, although you could potentially be missing out on a competitive deal elsewhere.

What recent legislation could affect ACT electricity prices?

Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement Act

In recent years, the ACT and national government have responded to the growing need for more sustainable energy by introducing new laws aimed at encouraging efficient use of electricity and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

One such piece of legislation passed in 2012 was the Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement Act. The act included some fairly significant changes that have already begun to shape the electricity supplier landscape both in Canberra and across ACT, and will undoubtedly continue to prove influential in the years ahead.

Some of the most notable features of the Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement Act include:

  • Electricity and gas emissions reduction targets for electricity retailers
  • Financial repercussions for providers who are unable to meet these targets
  • The ability for energy retailers to subcontract certain elements of their operation
  • The introduction of compulsory compliance reports from electricity providers

The majority of these changes are only relevant to energy retailers, so what does the act mean for you as a consumer? Well, due to the additional compliance measures, ACT’s Environment and Planning Directorate department explained that the average power bill would increase by $0.62 per week, but overall savings as a result of the act would work out to be $3.19 per week.

If you’re having trouble understanding your bill, we’re happy to explain how you can read them.

In total, the Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement Act already saved ACT’s residential sector around $106 million – a number that will only continue to rise even after the act officially ends in 2020.

Climate Change Action Plan 2

Environmentally conscious electricity users will be pleased to know that in 2013 ACT launched Climate Change Action Plan 2, which sets out the state’s plans to achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2060.

How does the government hope to achieve this ambitious target? As you might imagine, there are many facets to the plan, with the Renewable Energy Industry Development Strategy proving to be instrumental in unifying government initiatives with energy testing berth facilities and the creation of a business-research complex. It’s hoped that combining the goals of these parties will speed up the process and help ACT reach its emissions goals.

What energy concessions are available in ACT?

ACT offers an Energy Concession for eligible residents, which can help you save money and minimise your overall cost of living. How much is this rebate? ACT government’s Assistance department explained that eligible cardholders in 2016 can receive up to $338.21, while the Utility Concession offers another deduction across 2015/16 to the tune of $88.25.

You may be eligible for the Energy Concession if you are the primary holder of one of the following cards:

  • Veteran’s Affairs Pensioner Concession Card
  • Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card
  • Centrelink Low Income Health Care Card

It’s also worth keeping in mind that you can only apply for a rebate from the start date of your Energy Concession card.

What electricity retailers are available in ACT?

As noted, ACT has a relatively small energy market, and consequently your options are a little more limited than in some of the larger states. As with any utility provider, each company will have its pros and cons, so make sure you use our comprehensive electricity comparison tool to find out which retailer best suits your needs, budget and unique lifestyle.