Yes, it is possible for small customers to choose their retailers, but only under specific circumstances. While government-owned Jacana Energy dominates the market for residential and small business customers – with less than 5% of residential customers using a different retailer2 – those who do want to switch retailers may need:
While choices are currently limited to Jacana Energy or Rimfire, some customers may have access to pay-on-time discounts and a more competitive solar feed-in tariff.
Unlike other parts of Australia like New South Wales or Victoria (where there’s been an influx of retailers since full retail competition was introduced), this hasn’t been the case in the NT. According to the Utilities Commission of the Northern Territory, this is due to:2
The state government-owned Power and Water Corporation distributes electricity across the NT. As a distributor, the Power and Water Corporation is responsible for managing the powerlines and poles that supply your home or business with power.
What sets the Power and Water Corporation apart from other distributors around Australia is that it’s also a retailer in some parts of the Territory.
Some residents across the NT use prepaid electricity meters for power. These meters are installed at your home, and rather than paying an electricity bill after you’ve used power, you buy tokens beforehand.4 When your electricity runs out, you’ll need to purchase more tokens.
Think of this like a prepaid mobile phone plan; you purchase credit ahead of time when you need it. When all your allocated electricity is used, you buy more to continue powering your home.
Prepaid electricity tariffs are adjusted every year a per changes set by the Northern Territory Government.
Some homes across the NT use gas as well as electricity. If your home is connected to built-in gas pipes, you’ll generally have access to natural gas. If there’s no gas connection, you may require Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), which is stored in portable cylinders that need to be refilled or replaced when empty.
Both types of gas can be used to power a range of appliances and devices, such as:
As part of the Northern Territory Concession Scheme, you may be eligible for discounts or rebates on your electricity bills. Concessions can apply to both retail and prepaid electricity meter customers, although the exact amount you’re entitled to can vary based on your circumstances.
To be eligible, you need to hold either the Pensioner Concession Card or a valid card issued by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, including:5
You may also be eligible if you receive one of the following payments:
Find out more about energy concessions and rebates. The information above is accurate as of August 2022.
As the cost of technology continues to decrease and the need for a sustainable way of living becomes increasingly pronounced, many states across Australia are investigating more environmentally friendly ways of generating electricity. The NT is no exception.
Specifically, the Northern Territory Government is aiming for 50% of all energy in the region to be renewable by 2030.6 The hope is that half of all power consumed in 2030 will be from grid-connected installations such as solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.
This is an expected slow transition as Territory Generation, the main generator of NT’s electricity supply, currently uses a majority of fossil fuels to power the region. Territory Generation’s transition program will not only provide cleaner, reliable power but also increase grid stability.7
The plan is already underway, with the government rolling out initiatives to meet the target and deliver affordable and clean energy to residents. One that directly benefits residents is the Household and Business Battery Scheme, which is designed to help people generate their own power and use less from the grid.8
By offering grants to help install batteries and generous solar feed-in tariffs (where you’re paid a small amount per kWh of electricity you pump back into the grid), it’s hoped more Northern Territorians will move towards renewable energy.
1 Utilities Commission of the Northern Territory. Electricity Retail Pricing. Accessed August 2022.
2 Utilities Commission of the Northern Territory. Northern Territory Electricity Retail Review 2020-21. Published March 2022. Accessed August 2022.
3 Utilities Commission of the Northern Territory. Electricity retail pricing. Accessed August 2022.
4 Northern Territory Government. Look after your public housing home. Last updated September 2020. Accessed August 2022.
5 Northern Territory Government. Become a member of the NT Concession Scheme. Last updated July 2021. Accessed August 2022.
6 Northern Territory Government. Roadmap to renewables. Last updated October 2021. Accessed August 2022.
7 Northern Territory Government. Northern Territory Media Release. Published October 2021. Accessed August 2022.
8 Northern Territory Government. More batteries, more renewables, more local jobs. Published April 2020. Accessed August 2022.