What is a controlled load?

Average customer rating: 4.3/5
Written by Tiana Lee-Collins
Reviewed by Meredith O'Brien
Updated 21 May 2024

What is a controlled load tariff?

A controlled load tariff (how you’re charged for electricity usage) is applied to specific home appliances that steadily use large amounts of electricity. These include pool pumps, underfloor or slab heaters and electric hot water systems.

Usually, these appliances are wired to their own circuits and have their own meters, separate from the rest of your household’s electricity supply (although they can also be on different circuits but the same meter; this is generally the case with smart meters). That way, your electricity provider (also known as your electricity retailer) can bill appliances with controlled load tariffs separately and often at a lower rate than the rest of your usage.

This is because controlled load appliances generally draw their electricity during off-peak times, like overnight or during the day when most people aren’t at home. The hours that make up off-peak times can differ between energy providers, as can the name of the controlled load tariff; some providers might refer to their controlled load tariffs as a ‘dedicated circuit’.

Keep in mind that controlled load tariffs will usually exist in addition to your single rate or time of use tariff, and may incur an additional daily supply fee on top of your regular electricity meter.

Expert tips for getting the most out of your controlled load tariff

Our Head of Energy, Meredith O’Brien, has some tips for understanding controlled load tariffs and helping you decide if they’re suitable for your household.

Meredith O'Brien
Head of Energy

Check if you’re eligible

If you think you can benefit from a controlled load tariff, contact your provider first to find out whether this option is available to you.

Add your billing when comparing plans

If you have a separately charged controlled load appliance, remember to add your bill details if you want to compare controlled load tariffs. This will give you a better idea of what you’re likely to pay for electricity when doing a bill comparison.

Switch without disruptions

Switching electricity providers does not disrupt your energy supply and it can take as little as two business days to be transferred to your new provider.

Controlled loads explained

Types of controlled loads

Is a controlled load right for me?

How do I get a controlled load tariff for my appliance?

Are there concessions for controlled load electricity?

More on electricity tariffs

What is an electricity tariff?

What is a feed-in tariff?

How can I take advantage of off-peak times if I don’t have controlled load appliances?

Meet our energy expert, Meredith O’Brien

Meredith O'Brien
Head of Energy

As the Head of Energy at Compare the Market, Meredith O’Brien believes in educating Australian customers about the everchanging gas and electricity market so they can adjust their energy usage habits and get the most out of their energy plans.

Meredith has six years within the energy industry, following 15 years of experience in financial services and is currently studying a Master of Business Administration. Meredith is a dedicated customer advocate who is passionate about empowering Australians to find the right products to suit their needs by removing the confusion from comparing.

1 Victoria State Government. Controlled load electricity concession. Accessed October 2023.

2 Government of South Australia – Human Services. Energy bill concessions. Accessed October 2023.