Have you noticed your power bill creeping up in recent months despite no changes in your day-to-day usage? If so, it might be time to compare energy providers in South Australia and consider switching to a new retailer.
We’ve gathered everything you need to know about electricity in South Australia in one place to help you make great decisions for your household.
A quick break down of the South Australia electricity industry
Despite the state having only one electricity network provider (SA Power Networks), there’s a healthy amount of competition within the South Australia market, with eight energy retailers currently vying for your hard-earned dollars.
According to the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), electricity in South Australia is generated in a number of different ways, and as of 2013/14 (the latest figures available) electricity generation was comprised of:
- Hydro – 0.03 per cent
- Landfill gas – 0.04 per cent
- Diesel – 0.44 per cent
- Solar – 6 per cent
- Coal – 17 per cent
- Wind – 33 per cent
- Natural gas – 44 per cent
Environmentally minded consumers will be pleased to learn that more sustainable methods of electricity production are on the rise. AEMO noted that wind’s generation share almost doubled in the last few years, increasing from 17.3 per cent in 2009/10 to 32.7 per cent in 2013/14, while residential solar photovoltaic saw even greater growth, expanding from 0.2 per cent to 5.6 per cent across the same timeframe.
How is electricity regulated in South Australia?
The South Australian energy industry has been deregulated since 2002. How does this affect you? Well, essentially it means that the government is not in control of setting electricity rates. As a result, companies are free to establish their own prices and customers are able to compare electricity retailers and select a company that meets the specific needs of their household and budget. This promotes competition within the sector and allows consumers to save on their energy bills.
Don’t worry, if you live in rural South Australia, the market is still regulated enough that you won’t have to pay more for electricity than those living in Adelaide or the other major hubs in the state.
What plans are in place to improve energy efficiency in South Australia?
As touched on, South Australia has already made fairly drastic improvements in regards to moving towards more sustainable energy production. To ensure that this trend continues, the government has introduced a number of initiatives that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and encourage households and businesses across the state to be more efficient with their energy use.
One such initiative is T60: Energy Efficiency – dwellings. As the name suggests, this scheme is centred around improving the way in which dwellings in South Australia use electricity. As the South Australia government explained, the project aims to increase energy efficiency by 15 per cent by 2020.
Some of the initiatives that have been put into place to support this goal include:
- Advice on how households can reduce electricity consumption
- Additional compliance for water heater installations
- A minimum requirement of six-star energy efficiency for all new homes
- The introduction of energy performance standards for air conditioners
- The Retailer Energy Efficiency Scheme
Are you eligible for an electricity rebate in South Australia?
The state government offers energy bill concessions to help low-income households and those in need cover the cost of electricity. The rebate provides eligible electricity customers with up to $215 per year to pay for their power and gas bills.
According to the South Australia government, you could be entitled to this rebate if you hold one of the following:
- Low Income Health Care Card
- Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card
- Gold Card issued by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs
- Pensioner Concession Card
You may also be able to access this concession if you receive support from one of the following Centrelink initiatives:
- Widow allowance
- Youth allowance
- Sickness allowance
- Newstart allowance
- Parenting Payment Partnered
- Partner allowance
- Community Development Employment Project
- Special benefit
- New Enterprise Incentive Scheme
- Bereavement allowance
South Australia electricity retailers: understanding your options
The state is home to a number of electricity retailers, and if you’re savvy about comparing electricity plans in South Australia, you could save big on your future power bills.
The retailer you ultimately choose will depend on the needs of your household, your utility budget and a range of other factors.