Most residents of Western Australia can't choose their electricity providers, but they can switch gas suppliers.
The energy market in Western Australia, unlike most Australian states, has not been fully deregulated. Two companies sell most of Western Australia's domestic electricity: Synergy and Horizon Power. Which of the two sells you your electricity depends on where you live. For gas, on the other hand, Western Australians can choose between a number of providers including Alinta Energy, Kleenheat, AGL, Origin Energy and Perth Energy.
The Western Australian electricity market is divided into the South West Interconnected System (SWIS), the North West Interconnected System (NWIS) and the Esperance System. Residents living within the SWIS have no choice in their energy retailer and must purchase electricity through Synergy. Outside the SWIS, customers are free to choose their energy retailer, although Horizon Power is currently the only retailer operating in many areas of the state.
- 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 one 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.
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.
Consumers in Western Australia have had a choice of gas provider since 2013. The two largest providers are Kleenheat and Alinta, but WA residents can also choose to buy their gas through AGL, Perth Energy or Origin Energy.
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, however, so it's worth shopping around to ensure you get the best deal.