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Need to know: energy providers in Western Australia
- Western Australia is split into two main regions, dividing the South West Interconnected System (SWIS) with the rest of the state.
- The energy market in Western Australia has not been fully deregulated and operates differently in the two regions.
- Most residential electricity customers are limited to a single electricity provider, Synergy.
- Many residents are able to choose their gas provider.
Explained in further detail below, if you live in the south west, your power will be supplied by Synergy. If you live anywhere else in Western Australia, you will have to purchase energy from Horizon. Both providers will charge a set supply charge per day just to have you hooked up to the grid.
Horizon Energy uses a fixed price A2 tariff for all residential properties. This means you will pay a flat amount per unit of power you use.
If your building is part residential and part business, you may be subject to a K2 tariff, which changes the rate depending on how much electricity you've already used that day.
Synergy customers in Perth and the south west have access to two different tariff structures: a fixed rate or time of use.
The fixed rate tariff is the same system as that offered by Horizon, where you pay a set amount for every unit of power you use.
Under the time of rate tariff, the day is split up into three periods:
- Peak. 3pm–9pm weekdays, when most households are using power.
- Off-peak. 9pm–7am all week, when households are using the least electricity.
- Shoulder. All other times.
What tariff type should I go for?
Currently, Synergy's peak rates are nearly double the fixed rate, meaning that a time of use tariff may only be worth it if you use a great majority of your power during off-peak periods.
Best energy retailers that are available in West Australia
Although there is no 'best' retailer, to give you a general guide, here are 4 top electricity and gas retailers by complaints percentage.
|Retailer||Number of customers||Number of complaints||Complaints as a proportion of customers|
Source: AER, Annual retail markets report 2019-20 (Table 2.1 & 5.2). We looked at complaints to the 4 electricity retailers in West Australia (by customers) and ranked them by the smallest proportion of complaints to a retailers' total customers. If you want a better idea of who the best energy provider is in Australia overall, check out our picks.
Plans from main providers in WA: What's on offer?
AGL - Set and Forget
Variable rate natural gas billed every 2 months with no lock-in contract. You can get a discount on your total bill so long as you pay by direct debit, with a benefit period of 12 months.
Alinta - Fair +Go 35
Get variable rate natural gas, billed quarterly and with flexible payment methods. This plan involves a guaranteed discount on your usage charges with a benefit period of 1 year. You must sign up online to access this plan.
Origin - Max Saver Usage
This plan provides natural gas at a variable rate with bills delivered quarterly. There's no lock-in contract, but you do have to pay by direct debit, have a smart meter, and agree to purely online billing and communications. There is a guaranteed discount attached with a 12 month benefit period.
Kleenheat - Monthly Energiser
Billed monthly, this plan offers natural gas on a variable rate with a guaranteed discount on your total usage charge for a period of 2 years. Signing up to this plan requires you to agree to pay only by direct debit and receive all your bills and communications online.
Note: Plan information last checked on July 2020.
How does the energy market work in Western Australia?
The energy market in Western Australia is divided into two regions, each of which has its own set of regulations. While there are a number of electricity retailers in the state, most residential customers are limited to a single provider.
Electricity prices in Western Australia are regulated by the state government and gas prices are regulated in the major metropolitan areas. How much you pay for your electricity in Western Australia depends largely on where you live.
Region 1: South West Interconnected System
Most people in Perth fall into the South West Interconnected System (SWIS). There are non-contestable customers and contestable customers.
Contestable customers can choose their energy retailer if they use more than 50 megawatt-hours of electricity per year. These customers can potentially negotiate lower rates than set by the government. However, this mostly applies to businesses.
Non-contestable customers (less than 50 megawatt-hours of electricity use per year) are supplied by Synergy.
The average household only consumes around six megawatt-hours of electricity per year, which means almost all residential customers are considered non-contestable.
Western Australian residents in the SWIS that use more than 50 megawatt-hours per year are able to choose their electricity retailer.
Region 2: Regional Western Australia
For customers outside the SWIS, Horizon Power is the only retail electricity provider.
Western Australia energy retailers
The following energy retailers operate in Western Australia:
|Provider||⚡ Electricity||♨️ Gas||☀️ Solar|
*Only for those who are in Perth and use more than 50mWh of electricity
How much is the energy rebate in WA?
An energy rebate is a certain amount of money you get back on your energy bill. You can only access most energy rebates if you fulfill a certain requirement, like being a valid concession card holder.
The rebate will be paid either as a flat sum or a percentage of your overall energy bill. Western Australian residents may be eligible for the following energy discounts:
- Energy Concession Extension Scheme (ECES)
- Hardship Utility Grant Scheme (HUGS)
If you want to see what energy rebates exist in Western Australia and if you're eligible, our guide to energy rebates and concessions has more information under the Western Australia section.
When are off-peak and on-peak periods in WA?
In Western Australia, power usage is divided into three periods: peak, off-peak, and shoulder. Time-of-use tariffs will have different rates for each period, while single rate plans treat all your usage as peak period consumption.
- Peak. 3pm - 9pm weekdays. This is the time of highest demand and has the highest usage rates.
- Off-peak. 9pm - 7am every day. During off-peak periods, consumption across the state is lowest, so prices are low, too.
- Shoulder. All other periods (7am - 3pm weekdays, 7am - 9pm weekends). Intermediate period between peak and off-peak, with rates that usually fall somewhere between the two.
Time-of-use tariffs are only available on certain plans in the southwest of WA. They don't exist for regional power customers.
How to read a meter in WA
To read your meter, you might choose to have a technician read it, or do it yourself. A technician read is straightforward: all you need to do is make sure they can access your meter. Alternatively, you may choose to read it yourself, either because you prefer to or because you live in a hard-to-access area.
Reading your meter yourself requires a bit of safety. Check your meter and its meter housing for any damage from animals and water, or any visibly burned or melted parts. The meter-reading method depends on your meter type, which is also explained in our meter reading guide in more detail.
- Smart meter. A smart meter will record usage automatically about every half hour. Manual readings of smart meters are impossible, and you'll have to visit your retailer's page to check a usage chart.
- Clock face meter. Write down the number on each clock face from left to right. If the dial is in between two numbers, choose the lower. Ignore the dial labelled 1/10. Your usage will be your meter reading minus your previous bill's meter reading.
- Electronic meter. The "display" button will show your usage or cycle through several readings. Write down all the values your meter displays.
How often will you get your bill?
According to Western Australian regulations, you must receive your bill:
- For electricity, at least once every three months. Some retailers may send it monthly or allow you to opt in to monthly billing.
- For gas, at least once every 105 days. Once again, your retailer may choose to send it more frequently than this.
If you've had to receive a reminder for payment on your last three bills, the retailer has the right to send you bills more frequently than once a month.
How do you connect electricity in WA?
Moving house involves transferring your energy account from one property to another. You'll need to switch off the lights at the old place and make sure there's power being supplied to the new. Here are a couple of ways to make the switch:
- Use your retailer. If you're in the southwest of Western Australia, you can contact Synergy and let them know you're moving. They'll sort it all out for you. In regional WA, contact Horizon Power, instead.
- Get your agent or landlord to do it. If you rent a place, your landlord may be responsible for the energy account at the property. You should sit down and go through the details with your landlord, and they'll get it all sorted with the energy distributor.
In Western Australia, there is only a single electricity or gas distributor depending on where you live. Here are the connection and disconnection fees for energy:
|Distributor||Connection fee||Disconnection fee|
|Western Power (electricity)||$31.10||$31.10|
|Atco Gas Australia (natural gas)||$29.71||$54.64|
How to switch energy providers in Western Australia
If you're a contestable customer or business owner in the SWIS, switching energy providers is relatively simple. All you have to do is find a new energy provider and contact the new provider to arrange the switch.
Frequently asked questions about energy in Western Australia
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