ACT has several energy and gas providers to compare. The territory's ambitious 2020 renewable energy target promises great things to come.
Australia's capital territory represents an energy market with over 300,000 residents. ActewAGL is responsible for distributing ACT’s gas and electricity, where it is then sold to the residents by a small but growing number of retailers.
In terms of renewable energy, Canberra plans to produce 90% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
Search and compare energy providers in the ACT
How can I switch providers in the ACT?
Because the ACT's energy market is deregulated it's easy for consumers to switch providers. All you need to do is:
- Choose a new provider
- Notify them that you wish to switch and sign the contract
While switching providers is easy you need to shop around carefully. Here are the things you need to consider when looking for a better energy deal:
- Switching fees. Your existing provider may charge a fee for finishing a contract early. It must be specified in the contract.
- Cooling-off period. Make sure that your plan includes a 10-day cooling-off period.
- Tariffs. Tariffs are the fees retail providers charge customers. It's always a good idea to compare your current tariffs with any new plan you're looking at.
- Contract terms. Make sure to check your contract terms carefully. Some providers automatically roll over your contract when it expires, which can be convenient, but may come with higher costs.
Will electricity prices rise in the ACT?
Unfortunately, prices in the ACT are set to rise between 5% and 13% over the next two years, partly as a result of increased feed-in tariffs to encourage renewable energy.
What sort of energy plans and deals can I get in the ACT?
Even with limited provider options it's always worth comparing plans offered by other providers. You might be able to get a discount at the very least. You might find a plan with prices and benefits that better fit your particular energy needs. Here are some of the main features to look for:
- Bundling. If a provider sells electricity and gas see if they offer a discount if you sign up for both.
- Discounts. Most providers offer some kind of discount to get your business. A discount is always welcome, but try to find lasting discounts rather than one off reductions. A discount in the first month isn't worth much if prices remain higher later.
- Flexible payment and late fees. Check to see how your provider lets you pay your bills. It might be possible to pay your bills in advance, or in flexible instalments. For some customers, flexibility can often mean the difference between paying an energy bill on time or paying late and incurring a fee.
- Choice. Many providers offer a variety of plans, and some might be better than others. If you use a lot of energy during off-peak hours, a policy with off-peak pricing is probably a good idea, for example.
- Monitoring. Some providers let you monitor your energy bills and usage using a smartphone app. Knowing more about your energy spending habits can help you make better decisions about your energy usage and save you money.
You might not even need to switch energy providers to get a better deal. It's always worth asking your existing provider if they are willing to match the better price you've found elsewhere. It never hurts to ask.
I have a few more questions about energy in the ACT
What are tariffs?
Energy providers charge their consumers for energy use using tariffs. There are various types of tariffs, including:
- Fixed. This is the daily charge for supplying energy to a house.
- Variable. The charge for the actual amount of energy you use.
There are many other types of tariff. Find a more detailed explanation here.
What is GreenPower?
GreenPower is a government scheme that allows consumers to purchase renewable energy through their provider. It is a way of displacing dirtier forms of energy and supporting renewable energy. Providers offering GreenPower must be accredited by the Australian government. Read finder's full GreenPower guide here.
What rebates are available for ACT residents?
ACT residents with valid concession cards may be eligible for the following energy concessions to help pay their bills:
- The Energy Concession (this provides a rebate for electricity and gas)
- The Utility Concession (adds a small additional rebate to the Energy Concession)
What happens if I move out of the ACT?
If you're moving to a state like NSW or Victoria you'll find plenty of options for gas and electricity providers. If you're moving to less competitive, regulated states like Tasmania or Western Australia you will find your options very limited, with possibly no choices at all.
What's the difference between an energy distributor and an energy provider?
Energy retailers sell electricity and gas which they purchase from energy distributors. They then deliver the energy using pre-existing grids and pipelines, which don’t belong to them but to the distributors.
What is a cooling-off period?
A cooling-off period is the time during which a customer can cancel an energy contract without any fee or penalty. In many cases the cooling-off period is 10 days, but not all plans include a cooling-off period.
What is a no lock-in contract?
No lock-in contracts allow you to switch providers freely without incurring a penalty or fee.
All energy providers get their energy from the same grids, and most of this energy is not carbon neutral. However, some providers will offset the carbon emissions from their energy. Some providers include this as standard, or offer it at no extra cost to the consumer.