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Whether you’re arriving from another Australian state or territory or simply want to gain more insight into the various factors that impact your power bill, it’s important to learn how electricity works in the Northern Territory (NT).

Please note: This is an information page only, and we don’t offer quotes for NT electricity plans through our service.

Electricity in the NT at a glance

  • Residential customers have to meet certain eligibility requirements in order to choose from limited retailers.
  • The region is open to full competition but still dominated by government-owned retailers.
  • Concessions and rebates on electricity bills are available for some residents.

What do I need to know about electricity in the NT?

Firstly, it’s important to know that the Northern Territory Government regulates electricity in the NT, but only if you’re a resident or small business owner using less than 750 MWh of electricity a year.1 Simply put, this means that the government sets electricity prices that retailers (also known as providers) must abide by and pass on to you.

A regulated electricity retail market may mean you have less choice (or none at all) when it comes to picking your electricity retailer. The government will ensure you pay a fair price, though, even if the cost of transmitting power to remote regions can be significant.

Without a regulated market, retailers could pass this cost on to consumers, meaning you’d pay more for your power depending on where you live.

It’s also unlikely that anyone would ever exceed 750 MWh of electricity annually at their home, as a typical house would only use a fraction of that amount. So, this is predominantly for industry and businesses that consume more than 750 MWh annually.

Can residential customers using under 750 MWh choose their retailers?

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:

  • To be using less than 160 MWh of electricity a year
  • To have a smart or interval meter (or be willing and eligible to have one installed)
  • To be living on a residential property (e.g. not a retirement village, caravan park, hotel or other building not used for residential purposes).

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.

How are you charged for electricity in the NT?

The Northern Territory Government regulates electricity costs through the Pricing Order, which sets the maximum amount you can be charged as a residential or business customer by retailers.3 Your bill is comprised of several different charges:

  • Supply charges – A fixed daily charge you pay for electricity to be supplied to your home or business.
  • Usage charges – The amount you pay per kilowatt-hours of electricity you use.

Charges can also vary based on tariffs, which is the amount you’re charged for the electricity you use. Tariffs in the NT may include:

  • Flat rate. You pay the same rate for electricity no matter what time of day you use power.
  • Time of use. You can be charged different rates for consuming electricity during certain times of the day or night (i.e. peak and off-peak times), if your meter supports this.
  • Public benevolent institution (PBI). PBIs that help relieve distress and poverty can receive reduced electricity rates (usually lower than the standard tariff), so they can continue to help people in need. This tariff is only available for organisations registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission as a PBI.
  • If you use electricity at your home for both personal and business purposes, a set amount per day is charged at a lower rate, while anything after this amount is charged at a higher rate.
  • Pre-payment meter. Otherwise known as the ‘pay-as-you-use’ meter, pre-payment meters are designed for domestic use and allow you to purchase electricity as you need it, rather than receiving an electricity bill for your overall usage.

Family reading electricity bill

Which electricity retailers operate in the NT?

Electricity prices in the NT are open to full retail competition and operate in three regulated systems.2 If you own or run a business in Darwin, Alice Springs, Katherine or Tennant Creek and use over 750 MWh per year, you have more choice in being able to choose your retailer. Despite this, as of August 2022, there are only six NT electricity retailers you can choose from:

  • EDL NGD (NT)
  • Jacana Energy
  • Next Business Energy
  • Power and Water Corporation
  • QEnergy Limited
  • Rimfire Energy.

These electricity retailers all sit under a single service provider known as the Power and Water Corporation. They handle the infrastructure and distribution of electricity, as well as the meter reads that are then passed on to your electricity retailer.

Remote Australia power poles distributing electricity

Frequently asked questions

Why isn’t there more competition for electricity in the NT?

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

  • Retailers not being interested in competing for a smaller customer population
  • Retailers being restricted by electricity price caps set by the government
  • Only customers with an interval or smart meter (devices that record electricity usage) having the ability to switch retailers

Who distributes electricity across the NT?

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.

What if I have a prepaid electricity meter?

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.

Is gas available in the NT?

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:

  • Barbecues
  • Gas cooktops
  • Ovens
  • Heaters
  • Hot water systems

Am I entitled to NT electricity concessions?

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

  • Repatriation Health Card TPI or War Widower
  • Repatriation Pharmaceuticals Benefits Card
  • Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.

You may also be eligible if you receive one of the following payments:

  • Age Pension
  • Disability Support Pension
  • Carer Payment
  • Parenting Payment (single).

Find out more about energy concessions and rebates. The information above is accurate as of August 2022.

How will renewable energy influence the NT electricity industry?

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.

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