Find out how the energy market operates in Western Australia.
The energy market in Western Australia, unlike most Australian states, has not been fully deregulated and operates differently in certain parts of the state.
See how it works and compare providers below.
Essential facts about energy providers in Western Australia
- The energy market is split into two main regions, with each operating differently
- Your choice of providers depends on your location
- You may be able to save money by switching plans
Search and compare energy providers in Western Australia
How does the energy market work in WA?
The energy market in Western Australia is divided into two regions, each of which has its own set of regulations. While electricity customers will likely be limited to a single provider, most WA residents will have a choice of gas providers.
Electricity prices are regulated by the state government and gas prices are regulated in the major metropolitan areas, despite the market being fully contestable.
There are two main electricity distributors in WA, both of which are owned by the state government. These are:
- Western Power: Operates the South West Interconnected System (SWIS), which covers the area between Kalbarri, Albany and Kalgoorlie.
- Horizon Power: Covers the North West Interconnected System (NWIS) in the Pilbara region, as well as Esperance and more than 30 regional networks.
While there are a number of electricity retailers in WA, most residential customers will be limited to a single provider. In the SWIS, non-contestable customers are supplied by Synergy and for customers outside the SWIS, Horizon Power is the only retail electricity provider.
Given that a non-contestable customer is one that uses less than 50 megawatt hours of electricity per year, this makes effectively every residential customer non-contestable and therefore limited to Synergy.
- Synergy. The energy provider for customers within the SWIS, Synergy is Western Australia's largest provider of gas and electricity. The company provides energy to more than 1 million residential, business and industrial customers in the state. It also generates its own power from a range of sources, including renewables and plays an active role in the Western Australian community.
- Horizon Power. Owned by the Western Australian state government, Horizon Power provides energy to residential customers outside the SWIS. Horizon Power is active in creating a more environmentally-friendly energy network and is working to generate more power from renewables and create a more efficient state.
Businesses in Western Australia may have the choice of the providers:
- Rottnest Island Authority
- Horizon Power
- Perth Energy
- AER Retail
- Amanda Energy
- Change Energy
Like electricity, gas distributors are fixed depending on the region.
Consumers in Western Australia have had a choice of gas provider since 2013. These are:
- Alinta Energy
- Origin Energy
- Simply Energy
Electricity pricing in Western Australia
As with your choice of energy retailer, how much you pay for your electricity in Western Australia depends largely on where you live. Residents within the SWIS who use less than 50 megawatt-hours of electricity a year are subject to government-regulated energy rates. Most households will not use more than 50 megawatt-hours a year and as such fall into this category.
WA residents using more than 50 megawatt-hours a year or those who live outside the SWIS have the ability to choose their electricity retailer and potentially negotiate lower rates than set by the government.
Gas pricing in Western Australia
Gas pricing in Western Australia is regulated by the government, with a fixed cap preventing retailers from charging above a set price. Retailers can undercut this cap in an effort to beat out the competition though, so it's worth shopping around to ensure you get the best deal.
How can I switch gas providers?
While gas prices are regulated in most urban areas in WA, the market is fully contestable, meaning you can switch providers as you wish.
Switching providers is relatively easy and is simply a matter of:
- Finding a new energy provider
- Contacting the new provider to arrange the switch
Your energy flow should not be interrupted during the switching process, but you should always contact your old and new providers if you have any concerns.
What to keep in mind when switching gas providers
While you may be able to save money by switching, there are a number of factors to consider to ensure you actually get a better deal.
- Tariffs. Tariffs can be divided into a supply charge, which is the service fee for using the network, and a rates charge, which is based on usage. Different providers will have different tariffs, so it's important to find the one that best suits your needs.
- Customer service. Extra competition has improved the customer service of many providers and this is something to keep in mind when switching.
- Discounts. While gas prices are regulated in WA, providers may offer special deals or discounts to get you to switch.
- Termination fees. Some energy providers charge a fee when you terminate a contract before the end period. Early termination fees generally range from $40 to $100 and must be specified in your contract.
- Contract terms. When shopping for energy, check the contract terms carefully. For example, many providers automatically roll over your contract when it expires, which can be convenient but may come with higher charges.