In Australia, the Federal election is to be held in May of this year (2022) and we are already being told that the country as a whole faces higher power prices.
Adelaide is no exception with households already paying more for power with a single resident paying as much as $1, 832 per annum consuming 4,000KWH per year. The power bill in NSW (New South Wales) is actually $750-$800 for a single-person household. A two-bedroom home will use 2,500 to 3,000 kWh per year, depending on varying factors (many households have gas as well).
Power bills are increasing due to supply and demand with old fossil fuel power stations across the country being decommissioned, People are turning to solar panels with battery storage, as mostly installation of the panels on the roof, attracts big government rebates, and in some states, the rebate pays for the full installation. Other reasons why power prices are rising are:
* Rising distribution costs
* Increased population demand needing new infrastructure
* Poor planning for redundancy of power stations
* Higher wages for workers
* Less power available to distribute
Reducing and better managing electricity during times of peak demand can help to lower your power bill. Doing the laundry off peak where possible and cooking in bulk and freezing meals for later microwaving. With so much sun available in South Australia the best way to beat rising power prices is to install solar panels with battery storage and the reality is that you will probably generate so much power that you will have excess to return to the grid. This is common in Queensland where any power returned to the grid is deducted from the next power bill. So while the sun shines the power becomes cheaper and is ultimately free.
Australia has a Renewable Energy Target, and two years ago the aim was to reduce the RET by 20% of the country’s supply by the year 2020. This was largely met and the cost of rooftop solar power schemes varies in different states as each state sets its own feed-in tariff. Detractors of the scheme claim that solar energy is contributing to price hikes, however, there is no evidence of this.
In Adelaide, the 2020 Census showed that the average household size was only two people, and with some careful management, you can avoid paying the average price of $1759 a year, and pay less. Adelaide becomes extremely hot during summer, and the first thing to do is to use a smart home system where you can turn off the airconditioning system when you are not there, and remotely turn it on again when you are on the way home. This will save a lot on power bills.
One of the main costs is the distribution and transmission of power to homes and businesses. All the lines and poles are aging infrastructure and ultimately require replacing at a huge cost to the consumer. In South Australia, there is a high voltage transmission network and large towers are operated by a company called ElectraNet which adds 7-8% of costs to your final bill.
Once generated the power is distributed to power stations where the voltage is lowered to 11,000volts and sent to the underground transformer stations. Every household has a meter that measures usage, and this is costly to the residential consumer.
Other major cities in Australia like Sydney appear to be able to provide the public with a less costly product, this may be because the population of Sydney is 5.5 million, and Adelaide is 1,345,000.
To enable the distribution of power to our homes we must choose a retailer, and these companies transport the electricity to our houses.
Many of us have remained with the same company for years, and as some new retailers have entered the market, it is a good time to switch providers and avoid lock-in contracts.
A couple of years ago during an extremely cold winter, many people were unable to pay their power bills and were disconnected from the grid. If you cannot pay, don’t ignore the bill, contact your retailer immediately to make a provision to pay in installments. As you now have the legal right to pay the power bill off in installments over a period of time.
YOUR ENERGY RETAILER IS REQUIRED TO
* Provide you with a contract that is clear and fair.
* Provide you with a fact sheet
* Notify you of changes to costs
* Provide clear billing information including usage
* PROVIDE FLEXIBLE PAYMENT OPTIONS
* Implement hardship clauses to waive late payment fees.
* Maintain a no-contact list for those who don’t want to hear from them
* Inform the client of the right to complain
* PROVIDE OPEN ACCESS TO THE METER READER, AND REMOVE BIG DOGS TO THE BACK OF THE HOUSE.
* ADVISE YOUR RETAILER OF RADICAL CHANGES TO ENERGY USE
* GIVE NOTICE WHEN YOU MOVE HOUSE
* NOTIFY THE RETAILER IF YOU HAVE A FAMILY MEMBER ON LIFE SUPPORT EQUIPMENT AND CAN NOT SUSTAIN A POWER CUT TO YOUR HOUSE.
The good news is, that the population of Adelaide is growing rapidly, and more consumers will mean an ultimate lowering of the power bills. Coal closure means power generated by more expensive fuel sources gas is setting the price for Adelaide and surrounding areas.
South Australia is now more reliant on gas-fired generation which costs more. Over the last decade, electricity has increased by 63%. According to Canstar, household energy bills in Adelaide have begun to steadily decline in the last year, and residential prices fell by 5.9% which should have given the householder a reduction of around $136 in the annual payment.
Before winter, now is a good time to compare electricity market offers in Adelaide, as you can get a much better deal due to new retailers entering the market. Retailers discounted plans were reported to offer the most savings in power bill prices for both residential and small business owners.