You probably know who your electricity retailer is, since they send you a power bill every month or three. But what's less likely is that you know who your electricity distributor is and what they're in charge of. The most important thing to know is that who your distributor is will depend on where you live, and you can't pick them.
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What is an energy distributor?
Energy distributors are in charge of power distribution. That is, they build and maintain the poles, wires, substations and more that actually get the power from the generator to your home or business. They don't usually own generators themselves, nor do they oversee smaller connections that aren't part of the greater energy grid.
What's the difference between a distributor and a retailer?
Energy retailers are effectively middlemen that buy power from the grid and sell it on to customers at a (generally higher) price. Companies like Energy Australia or AGL don't make or transmit the power, they merely sell it via energy plans.
Here's a quick summary of the responsibilities of each:
- Build and maintain power poles, wires and infrastructure
- Repair damage to the electricity network
- Read your energy meter and send that information to your retailer
- Sell power to energy retailers at wholesale prices
- Build and maintain the individual power connection of properties
- Repair local electrical faults that aren't part of the greater power grid
- Issue your power bill, which is based on/estimated from meter readings
- Sell energy to consumers at retail prices using power plans
Electricity distributors by state: Who's my distributor?
You don't get to choose your distributor. Instead, distributors service particular regions, meaning yours will depend on where you live.
If you live in NSW, your energy distributor will be Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy or Essential Energy, depending where you live. Here's a bit about each distributor, and where they operate.
|Ausgrid||Greater Sydney, Newcastle and the Central Coast, inland near Muswellbrook and Merriwa|
|Endeavour Energy||The Blue Mountains, Sydney's Greater West, the Southern Highlands, Illawarra, the South Coast|
|Essential Energy||95% of NSW in rural areas, plus some of south-west QLD|
Ausgrid supplies power to 1.7 million residents of NSW, with cables and power lines that span around 22,275 square kilometres.
It operates in the greater Sydney area, running north to Newcastle and the Central Coast, as well as a bit further inland around Muswellbrook and Merriwa.
- Contact: Report damage or request repairs on 13 13 65.
Endeavour Energy provides power to 2.4 million people in NSW, and borders the Ausgrid network to the south and west sides. It owns 416,000 power poles and 50,000 kilometres of cable.
Endeavour operates in the Blue Mountains, Sydney's Greater West, the Southern Highlands, Illawarra and the South Coast.
- Contact: For general enquiries, ring 133 718. For emergencies, ring 131 003.
Essential Energy provides power to mostly rural areas of NSW and services 865,000 homes and businesses.
It covers 95% of NSW and also extends slightly into south-west Queensland. Major towns covered include Dubbo, Bathurst, Armidale, Port Macquarie, Wagga Wagga and Orange.
- Contact: For power outages, ring 132 080. For network enquiries, ring 132 391.
For residents of Victoria, there are actually five distributors – more than any other state or territory. Your distributor will be one of Jemena, CitiPower, AusNet Services, United Energy or Powercor, depending on where you live.
|Jemena||North and south-west Melbourne|
|CitiPower||Melbourne CBD and inner suburbs|
|AusNet Services||Eastern Victoria, northern and eastern suburbs of Melbourne|
|United Energy||Southern Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula|
|Powercor||Western Victoria, excluding all of Melbourne|
Here's some information about each distributor and the areas they operate.
Jemena has $11 billion worth of power lines, cables and substations, and brings power to roughly 350,000 premises. It is majority-owned by the State Grid Corporation of China and Singapore Power.
Jemena mostly operates in north-western Melbourne, including areas like Footscray, Roxburgh Park, Sunbury, Coburg and Ivanhoe.
- Contact: For general enquiries, call 1300 131 871. To report electrical faults, call 131 626.
Together with Powercor, another distributor with the same owners, Citipower supplies electricity to roughly 1.1 million customers. Citipower claims that its distribution costs only make up 23% of your power bill, compared to 50% in other Australian states.
As the name implies, you're most likely on the Citipower network if you're in the Melbourne CBD or inner suburbs.
- Contact: For faults, ring 13 12 80. For general enquiries, call 1300 301 101.
AusNet Services has $10.8 billion worth of electricity and gas network infrastructure, covering an area of 227,600 square kilometres and reaching 2.1 million households.
It operates mostly in eastern Victoria, plus the northern and eastern suburbs of Melbourne a bit further from the city centre. This includes communities like Hazelwood, Wodonga, Morwell, Glenrowan and Rowville.
- Contact: To report faults, ring 13 17 99. If you have general enquiries, ring 1300 360 795.
United Energy provides power to more than 660,000 customers, with a network of 200,000 plus poles and 13,000 kilometres of wires.
Its distribution area is mostly in parts of southern Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula, with areas like Rosebud, Blackburn, Mornington and Bentleigh falling under its network.
- Contact: To report electrical faults, ring 132 099. For general enquiries, get in touch via 1300 131 689.
Powercor is owned by the same group of companies as Citipower, and together they serve roughly 1.1 million Victorians. The Powercor network is the largest in Victoria.
You're probably part of the Powercor network if you live outside of Melbourne in Western Victoria, with towns like Ballarat, Geelong, Mildura, and Shepparton being served by it.
- Contact: For faults, ring 13 24 12. For general enquiries, ring 13 22 06.
|Energex||South-east QLD, including Brisbane, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast|
|Ergon Energy||Rural and regional QLD|
|SA Power Networks||All of South Australia|
|EvoEnergy||The vast majority of the ACT|
|Essential Energy||A few remote customers here and there, plus Queanbeyan|
|TasNetworks||All of Tasmania|
|Power and Water Corporation||All of the Northern Territory|
Gas distributors by state: Who's my distributor?
NSW has two gas distributors available. Each is responsible for a separate geographic region of New South Wales.
|Central Ranges System||Tamworth|
|Jemena Gas Networks (NSW)||Sydney, Newcastle, Central Coast, Wollongong and parts of country NSW|
There are three gas distributors in Victoria. Each is responsible for a separate geographic region of Victoria.
|Australian Gas Networks||northern, eastern and southern areas of metropolitan Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula, and northern, eastern and south eastern areas of Victoria|
|Multinet Gas||Melbourne's inner and outer east, the Yarra Ranges and South Gippsland|
|AusNet Services||Western Melbourne, central and western Victoria|
There are two main electricity distributors in Queensland. Each is responsible for a specific geographic area.
|Allgas Energy||Southern suburbs and Mornington Peninsula|
|Australian Gas Networks||Brisbane region (Brisbane CBD, north of the Brisbane River and Ipswich) and Northern Region (Rockhampton and Gladstone)|
The main gas distributor available in South Australia is Australian Gas Networks (SA).
Australian Gas NetworksAll of South Australia
There is one gas distributor in Tasmania: Tas Gas Networks
|Tas Gas Networks||All of Tasmania|
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