Unless you’ve got your heart set on becoming a modern day caveman, paying for your power bill is a fact of life. What you might not realise, however, is that not all Queensland energy retailers are created equal, and a provider that suits one household may not necessarily be right for you.
How can you determine which company is your best option? Well, before you commit to a provider, it’s important to do all your homework to ensure you’re getting a 360 degree perspective of your choices. Read on to find out more about possible concessions you might be eligible for and policy changes that could impact the price of energy in the Sunshine State.
Some quick stats on the energy industry in Queensland
- Four: The number of sectors involved in generating and transporting electricity in Queensland – electricity generation, transmission, distribution and retail.
- Twenty seven: How many private, official electricity retailers there are in the state, according to the Queensland government.
- 2007: The year in which Queensland gained full retail competition in the energy sector, giving customers the power to select the provider of their choosing.
- One million, six hundred thousand: The number of energy-using residential households in Queensland.
Does Queensland regulate the electricity sector?
In recent years, many states in Australia have made moves to deregulate the electricity industry, which encourages competition amongst retailers and typically drives the overall cost of electricity down.
Queensland customers have been able to compare and choose their own energy retailers since full retail competition was rolled out to the electricity sector in 2007. However, the government does still regulate the prices that providers are allowed to charge.
What electricity-related laws in Queensland are being reviewed?
As the Queensland government explained, a number of the state’s existing laws concerning the electricity industry were introduced more than 20 years ago. As you might imagine, a lot of things have changed in the world of electricity over this timeframe, including significant improvements to efficiency, sustainability and technology.
Consequently, the state government is looking at updating the relevant legislation to ensure the electricity sector is equipped to handle the challenges of the industry both in the here and now, as well as in the future. Some of the laws that are up for revision include:
- Nuclear Facilities Prohibition Act
- Gladstone Power Station Act
- Electricity Act
- Energy and Water Ombudsman Act
- National Energy Retail Law (Queensland) Act
- Electricity-National Scheme (Queensland) Act
It’s still too early to tell exactly how the review of these laws will influence electricity plans in Brisbane and across the state. Nevertheless, it might be helpful to keep an eye on the impending changes, as the amendments might impact your power bill.
What electricity concessions are available in Queensland?
The Electricity Rebate
The Queensland government offers a number of different rebates that provide financial support to low-income households who might otherwise struggle with their power bills.
One of the most common concessions is the Electricity Rebate, which provides eligible pensioners and seniors with up to $320.97 per year to help cover the cost of electricity.
You might be entitled to this rebate if you hold one of the following:
- Queensland Seniors Card
- Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold Card (and receive the War Widow/er Pension or special rate TPI Pension)
- Pensioner Concession Card
You can apply for this concession directly through your retailer. You’ll need copies of past electricity bills and one of the aforementioned cards in order to prove your eligibility.
Home Energy Emergency Assistance Scheme
Another concession you may be eligible for is the Home Energy Emergency Assistance Scheme. With this rebate, low-income households who have undergone unexpected financial hardship can receive support of up to $720 per 12 month period for a maximum of two years in a row to pay for their power bill.
You may be eligible for this concession if you fulfil one of the following:
- Your income is less than the Australian government’s max income rate threshold for part-age pensioners
- You are a member of your energy provider’s hardship program
- You are a concession card holder
What should you look for when comparing Queensland electricity plans?
As you might have guessed, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, and it really comes down to your typical usage patterns, budget and a range of other factors. To simplify things, we can help you compare the following Queensland energy providers and give you the information you need to make a more informed decision. Better prices or service are both great reasons why you should consider switching providers, so try our service today and see if you can save.