Western Australia’s (WA) sheer size, combined with a smaller population than Australia’s eastern states, means its energy sector is a bit more complicated than elsewhere in the country.
Don’t worry, though; we’re here to keep things simples.
There are a few electricity providers (also known as retailers) available in Perth and other parts of the region, but you have to have a contestable meter to choose your own provider and energy plan.
A contestable meter simply means energy companies can see you’re available as a potential customer, and you can choose your energy provider. To become contestable, you must live outside the South West Interconnected System (SWIS), or if you live within the SWIS area, you must use 50MWh of electricity per year or pay more than $15,300 a year on electricity.1
Let’s be real; that’s a crazy high amount for the average household! As such, residential customers almost never get to choose their electricity provider. Businesses, however, are a different story as they use much more electricity and account for virtually all contestable electricity consumers.
WA’s electricity market is broken up into multiple areas:
If you are in the SWIS area and are a contestable consumer, you may be able to choose electricity plans from the following companies (availability can differ depending on your exact location):
Information accurate as of 5 March 2021 but is subject to change.
Non-contestable customers within the SWIS area are supplied by Synergy and electricity prices are regulated by the Western Australian Government.1
WA’s gas market was deregulated in 2004, meaning private gas companies can enter the market and set their own prices. The free market (under the watchful eye of the state’s energy ombudsman) maintains healthy competition between gas providers. This benefits you as a customer as gas providers that excessively charge risk losing all their customers and business.
All gas customers can choose their own retailer, however, some retailers (Synergy) can only supply gas if you use a set amount each year.
Additionally, in areas around Perth, Albany, Geraldton and Kalgoorlie, there is a gas price cap on what providers can charge ‘small use’ customers (such as households and small businesses), set by the state.2
The Western Australian Government has a number of concessions available:
N.B. Information collated March 2021
Read more about rebates and concessions you may be eligible for and senior discounts you could be entitled to. Concession cards can include Pensioner Concession Cards, Senior’s Cards, Commonwealth Seniors Health Cards, Health Care Cards, and Department of Veteran Affairs Gold Cards. You can learn more about these concessions, and other utility concessions, with the state government’s list.
In WA, energy mostly comes from fossil fuels. In 2018-19 the state’s energy consumption consisted of:
Yes, there are solar feed-in tariffs available for those with solar energy at home. There are eligibility requirements to access these tariffs, which are part of the state’s Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme (DEBS).
Typically, electricity customers in WA receive their electricity bills once every three months, though you may be able to choose to be billed monthly instead.
Gas customers will typically receive their bill every 105 days.
You may be able to choose your gas provider, certainly. You can choose gas plans from the following providers (depending on your location, not all plans or providers may be available):
Synergy (if you use more than a set amount each year)
N.B. Information accurate as of March 2021.
Western Power is the distributor that manages the network of powerlines within the SWIS region. In the SWIS region, electricity is generated by Synergy, transferred along the network operated by Western Power, and then sold on to customers by Synergy or other providers (if the consumer has a contestable meter).
Outside of the SWIS region, Horizon Power is responsible for generating, distributing and selling energy for consumers.
ATCO operates three gas distribution systems across Western Australia and provides gas to 750,000 homes and businesses across the state. These distribution systems include The Mid-West and South-West systems, the Kalgoorlie Gas Distribution System and the Albany Gas Distribution System.4
Through 140,00km of pipeline, ATCO already services parts of Perth, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Albany and Brunswick, with gas connections soon to be available to other communities, including Upper Swan, Whitby and Two Rocks.
Gas retailers including Synergy, AGL and Alinta Energy sell this energy to homes and businesses across the state and manage your gas account.
1. Electricity industry – Western Australian Government. 2020
2. Household gas pricing. Energy Policy WA, Government of Western Australia. 2020.
3. Can I choose my retailer? Economic Regulation Authority. 2018.
4. Atco – About the network – Accessed 07/04/2021