Cost Of Living in Australia: Electricity Revisited
Every year here in Australia electricity prices rise in every state (except Victoria, I’ll come to that later) by a percentage which is agreed by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART).
Here in Queensland, the agreed percentage increase for the year 2010/11 was 13.29%; it struck me as quite high. Turns out that this latest increase will mean that Queensland electricity prices will have soared by more than 50% over the four years to 2011. In all the blah blah blah trying to justify this rise we were told it was a symptom Queenslanders have to put up with for living in a fast growing state.
I decided to do some research.
Over the last three years electricity prices have risen by:
- QLD 35.8%
- NSW 40.2%
- NT 27.3%
- WA 26.5%
- TAS 29.2%
- SA 25.2%
- ACT 33.0%
So, I wonder what blah blah blah the excuse was for the huge price rises in the other states, especially NSW? Are we all fast growing? This is all quite hard to understand when we have more coal around here than you can wave a stick at.
Next I tried to find out what the exact cost per kilowatt hour for electricity is in each and every state. But as soon as you search for “compare electricity prices” you are presented with those websites that encourage you to search for and switch to a cheaper electricity provider. So I decided to take a look.
Last time I looked at the cost of electricity in Australia I suggested that the plans here were much simpler than those back in England. Today, I’m thinking of changing my mind about that. Checking through the websites goswitch.com.au & switchwise.com.au there were no shortage of tariffs and plans to choose from.
First, let’s look at goswitch….
Then I tried switchwise….
But with both of them it was a little more confusing than that. When they make their calculation they ask who your current supplier is and which plan you are on. Well, I’m with Origin Energy and my plan is called GreenEarth and uses 20% wind.
But the choices I was offered under their drop-down menu were either 50% wind or no wind at all. Obviously neither is correct for my plan but if I selected the 50% wind switchwise suggested they could save me $726 a year!
So, I got confused. It doesn’t take much. But I needed to make a decision; there was money to be saved! But who should I go for? Then I read in the notes that energy prices change across the board on first July every year. Aha, a perfectly valid excuse for me to procrastinate.
So I’ve delayed by decision until I see the new prices. But I will be going back to it for sure.
But it is a fact that over the last 12 months I have spent $2,685 on electricity and goswitch say I could lower that to $2,392 and switchwise say $2,270. So I could be looking at saving up to $400 a year. That’d be nice! And neither of the electricity suppliers they are suggesting have a minimum contract or a cancellation fee, so what have I got to lose?
I don’t know, but I still didn’t do it. But I will next month.
But I’ll tell you what I did find amusing, as I was going through my electricity bills doing my research, I saw a letter from my electricity suppliers warning me that the rates were going to go up. Rather helpfully they gave me some tips on lowering my electricity bills along the lines of……
- Try not to crank the air conditioning up too much.
- Get some of those energy-saving bulbs.
- Switch appliances off at the mains when you’re not using them.
Well, that’s exactly what I need isn’t it? Tips on saving money from somebody who has raised their prices by over 50% in the last four years! I feel like writing back with a simple tip for them…..
- Try not to crank up the directors salaries too much.
Last time I compared electricity prices, I called it a draw between England and Australia. With these soaring prices, surely England is now cheaper for electricity, especially as the pound is still so weak.
At the current exchange rate of $1.71 AUD to the pound, I spent £1,570 on electricity over the last 12 months. Three years ago a years worth of electricity in England cost me £1320, so if electricity has gone up by about 5% per annum since then, there’s still not much in it.
But if you check out the average salaries for the two countries in my post called Cost of Living in Australia: Salaries Compared and use £26,470 for the UK and $62,270 here in Australia, my electricity has cost me 4.31% of the average salary here whereas back in England would have been nearer 5.7%.
And I’m only on 20% wind, perhaps I should be on at least 50% wind! My friends tell me I’m 100% wind. Moving on.
I said I’d come back to Victoria.
Prices of electricity in Victoria have been deregulated, which I guess means they are relying on the competitiveness of the electricity suppliers to keep the prices down. So is their electricity cheaper than ours here in Queensland? The best quotes I got were…
- Victoria: Fixed Charge (Quarterly) $72.46 Rate 18.315 cents per kWh inclusive of GST.
- Queensland: Fixed Charge (Quarterly) $18.78 Rate 16.291 cents per kWh inclusive of GST.
So much for deregulation.
PS. Note to big sister whose holiday here last month was marred by the almost continual rain. It rained again today here…… for the first time since you left. See, I told you it was you!