Looking for information about Tasmanian electricity? You’ve come to the right place.
To help you make a more informed decision about your electricity bills we’ve compiled everything you need to know about the industry right here on this page. Find out how changing energy providers could help you reduce your power bill, gain a better understanding of the regulation and legislation surrounding the energy market, and learn more about rebates you may be eligible for.
A quick snapshot of electricity in Tasmania
Energy consumption in Tasmania is dominated by the commercial sector – not Tasmanians at home! In fact, 20 industrial customers are responsible for consuming around 60 per cent of Tasmania’s electricity, according to a comprehensive report in 2011 from the state government’s Electricity Supply Industry Expert Panel. This disparity between residential and industrial energy consumption is more pronounced here than anywhere else in the country.
Is this a problem? Well, essentially the balance of supply and demand rests in the hands of a few high-level users. If these companies were to make drastic changes to their operations or patterns of energy use, it could have a knock-on effect on you as a consumer down the line.
However, it’s worth noting that there are other factors at play that could impact your power bill. The state’s slow population growth, for example, has seen the demand for electricity reach something of a plateau, which discourages new electricity providers from entering the Tasmania market .
How are electricity retailers in Tasmania regulated?
Historically, energy customers have been fairly restricted in terms of choice of electricity providers in Tasmania. However, the winds of change are blowing and, as the Office of the Tasmanian Economic Regulator explained, the state has been putting measures in place since 2006 to promote competition within the industry.
On the 1st of July 2014, full retail competition was introduced to the electricity industry. This means that you as an energy customer have the right to choose the electricity retailer in Tasmania that best meets the needs of your household and budget. Prior to this date, you could only choose your retailer if you used more than 50 megawatt hours of power per year. Many households fell below this threshold, meaning that the majority of electricity customers were unable to choose their own provider.
However, while the government has paved the way for greater competition within the electricity sector, some parts of Tasmania are not able to access the benefits. Residents of the Bass Strait Islands are unable to choose their own energy retailers, with Hydro Tasmania commanding a monopoly on King and Flinders Islands.
How will solar energy affect electricity in Tasmania?
Hydroelectricity has played an important part in Tasmania’s energy industry for more than 100 years, but it’s possible that we could see a shift away from this method of power generation in years to come. Why? Well, according to the Department of State Growth, environmental changes such as the drought between 2007 and 2010, as well as other external influences have pushed the price of electricity up for many customers.
Experts predict that solar photovoltaics (PV) will emerge as an increasingly attractive alternative. The declining cost of such technology, coupled with sustainable energy incentives and the aforementioned rise in hydro-electricity prices has led to a big boost in the number of solar energy systems installed in Tasmanian households. Citing projections from the Australian Energy Market Operator, the Department of State Growth believes that the capacity of rooftop solar PV will increase to around 300 megawatts by 2024.
It’s difficult to predict exactly how energy retailers will react to this trend. Nevertheless, by keeping an eye on movements in the industry, you’ll have a stronger idea of when to review your electricity account in Tasmania and be better poised to take advantage of competitive pricing plans when they emerge.
Are you eligible for an electricity concession in Tasmania?
The Tasmanian government has a number of different concessions in place to help in-need and low-income households deal with the cost of electricity.
The most common rebate is the annual electricity concession, which provides eligible card holders with a daily discount measured in cents. As the Tasmania government explained, you can currently access up to 128 cents per day, though this amount could change in the future.
You may be eligible for this concession if you hold one of the following:
- Tasmanian Concession Card (issued by Department of Premier and Cabinet)
- DHS Health Care Card
- ImmiCard (Bridging Visa E)
- DHS or DVA Pensioner Concession Card
If you have any further questions about possible rebates you may be entitled to, be sure to get in touch with your electricity supplier in Tasmania
As touched on, Tasmanian electricity customers have traditionally had very little say in regards to which energy provider they’d like to use. However, things are changing, and despite the balance of power being heavily in the favour of the industrial sector, residential consumers may soon gain access to more options in terms of electricity suppliers in Tasmania.
What does this mean for you? Essentially, if more companies continue to enter the market, you could end up saving on your power bill. The effects of full retail competition will likely become more pronounced as the industry adjusts.