When it comes to comparing energy providers in New South Wales (NSW), you’re spoiled for choice. Competition is fierce thanks to an abundance of suppliers and the relatively recent deregulation of the industry, and those that make use of electricity price comparison tools may be able to save substantial amounts of money on their utility bills.
But what else is impacting the cost of electricity in NSW? Which energy provider is right for you? And are you eligible for any energy concessions? To tackle these questions and more, we’ve dived headfirst into the research to bring you the most relevant and up-to-date information you need to make an informed decision about selecting a NSW electricity supplier.
A brief introduction to energy in NSW
According to the NSW government’s Department of Industry, electricity in the state is generated from a variety of traditional sources including natural gas, coal seam gas and black coal. However, as the need for sustainable energy grows, renewable sources such as wind, biomass, hydroelectric and solar are becoming more common. It seems likely that these alternative methods of energy production will play an increasingly dominant role in NSW’s electricity industry as research and technology continues to advance.
Given that we rely on electricity for just about every facet of our day-to-day lives, you’ll be pleased to know that electricity providers in NSW are among some of the most reliable in the world. The state boasts an energy reliability rate of 99.97 per cent – a figure that is expected to increase to 99.98 per cent in the near future.
How is electricity regulated in NSW?
The electricity industry in NSW has been deregulated since July 2014. Under this arrangement, the price of power is not set by the government, meaning that private energy providers are able to set retail tariffs at their discretion.
How does this affect you as a consumer? Well, essentially the deregulation has created more of a free market, which has increased competition within the electricity industry. Since the deregulation, four new energy providers have entered the NSW market, giving residents even more choice and further driving the cost of power down.
Savvy customers who do their homework and make use of may be able to significantly reduce their power bills and minimise their overall cost of living. In fact, the NSW government’s Department of Industry explained that your household could save as much as $522 on its annual power bill, though this amount will vary depending on your circumstances.
How will renewable energy shape the future of NSW’s electricity industry?
Sustainability is the name of the game for almost every modern business – and the same rings true in the energy sector. Renewable energy is a major focus for NSW’s electricity industry, and the government is continually looking at ways it can encourage utility providers to operate in a more efficient and environmentally responsible way.
One initiative that supports this objective is the NSW Renewable Energy Action Plan. Launched in 2013, the proposal outlined the steps the government would take to help achieve the nationwide target of 20 per cent renewable energy by 2020. This included a strategy for attracting investment and expertise in renewable energy, as well as how the state would build community support around the movement.
We’ve already seen some key changes as a direct result of the NSW Renewable Energy Action Plan, including:
- As part of the $440 million Solar Flagships project, the Nyngan Solar Plant has successfully achieved its maximum generation capacity.
- Three massive renewable energy operations were activated, with a combined capacity of 380 megawatts (MW) – enough to power 140,000 homes each year.
- The government’s Division of Resources and Energy has invested $6 billion into 17 renewable energy projects, capable of providing up to 4,500 MW.
- Early stage funding totalling $846,000 to support community-driven energy projects across the state
- The Energy Innovation Knowledge Hub is rolling out a new collaborative energy initiative in the Hunter region.
Are you eligible for an energy concession in NSW?
While comparing NSW electricity prices can help you reduce your power bill, the cost of energy can sometimes still be prohibitively expensive for some customers. To help you deal with these expenses, the NSW government has a variety of concessions that you may be eligible for. Some of the most common are:
Low Income Household Rebate
This concession grants $235 to eligible electricity customers, or $258.50 to those living in residential communities such as mobile home parks. To be eligible for the rebate, you must live in NSW, be a customer of an electricity provider and hold one of the following cards:
- DHS Health Care Card
- Pensioner Concession Card granted by the DHS/DVA
- DVA Gold Card (EDA, TPI, War Widow or War Widow Pensioner only)
Family Energy Rebate
This rebate is available to NSW family households who have dependent children. It provides eligible families with an electricity bill concession of up to $150. You may be entitled to this rebate if you:
- Are a customer of an electricity supplier
- Live in NSW
- Were eligible for the Family Tax Benefit A or B during the 2014-15 financial year and received an FTB payment
Comparing NSW energy providers
As touched on, deregulation has paved the way for a number of electricity retailers to enter the NSW market.
Before deciding why you’d switch to a new electricity supplier, it’s vital that you choose a provider that best suits your budget and needs. Check out our energy retailer comparison service to find out how much money you could save on your next power bill.