Residential Energy, Electricity and Gas

Information verified correct on October 28th, 2016

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Powering your home can be as simple or as complicated as you make it; we’re here to make all options clear.

Our lives are built around power, and when it comes to our homes, we are able to customise how we use that power and the best plans for our needs. From smart meters and batteries, to picking energy providers and weighing up environmentally friendly options, there is a lot to become aware of and take into consideration. Let this be your guide.

We’re moving house — what do we do with our electricity and gas?

Step one is to find out whether you’re eligible to choose your energy retailer as the option to switch providers is only open to some residents. Around four in five Australians are able to choose their electricity providers.  Residents in Victoria, New South Wales, ACT, South Australia, and Queensland are able to elect both their gas and electricity providers. Tasmanian residents can choose between gas retailers, but not electricity. Residents of Western Australia or the Northern Territory are unable to choose their retailer for either utility.

Quick links:

How do I sign up with a new provider?

There are many factors to consider when signing up with a new energy provider including:

  • Rates on electricity use
  • Whether they’re available in your area/state
  • Opportunity to save money on-peak, off-peak
  • Contract length
  • Discounts for bundled deals, paying on time
  • Exit fees
  • Customer service quality
Click here for more information on finding a new provider for:

How do I exit my existing contract?

Upon commencing a new energy contract, your previous one will dissolve. It would be beneficial, though, to notify your energy company of your moving date, and take note of this to ensure you get billed appropriately for the partial payment period.

What are the typical usage rates in each state?

StateEnergy expenditure/week ($)

Energy Made Easy has a useful tool on their website for finding the median electricity usage in your neighbourhood.

What's GreenPower?

GreenPower is a government-certified, environmentally responsible energy scheme that allows you to purchase ‘green electricity’, that produced from renewable sources, and fit it into the system. You can purchase different portions of your electricity usage to commit to green electricity (including 100% of it), but this power isn’t directly used to power your home. Instead, it is fed into the system. The GreenPower program is comparable to the Oxfam Unwrapped, purchase a goat for charity, scheme. For more information, read here.

What is South Australia’s Retailer Energy Efficient Scheme?
The Retailer Energy Efficiency Scheme (REES) is a South Australia-based initiative to promote homes and businesses to reduce their energy consumption through retailer-based incentives. Once retailers reach a particular threshold of energy provision, the government applies requirements on future energy efficient schemes. To find out if your current retailer offers any REES options, or to find another retailer that does, you can visit the ESCOSA obliged retailers page.

What is the difference between accumulation, interval, and smart meters?

  • Accumulation

This meter records your total electricity usage, with no information regarding time-of-use, i.e. peak, off-peak etc. These meters must be physically read by a retail employee on a periodic basis such as quarterly.

  • Interval

Interval meters measure your electricity usage at set intervals such as every 30 minutes. This allows your retailer to charge you the appropriate amounts based on time-of-use, cheaper for off-peak and more expensive for peak. These units must also be read manually.

  • Smart

Where the previous two meters involve estimations on your usage, smart meters measure your actual usage. They also establish a wireless communication feed between your unit and your energy provider. This negates the need for a reader to come to your property to connect, disconnect, or read your electricity engagement. Further, it can optimise ‘feed-in’ processes where residents with solar panels direct excess electricity back into the grid. The resident can access and read the smart meters information to find out how and when they can reduce their power consumption.

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How popular is solar power?


Solar panels have recently come down in price, and so they are becoming more and more ubiquitous. As of January 2015 the density of households who generate power from the 1.35 million solar power systems is as follows:


Many retailers offer plans for solar panel owners with discounts on provided electricity and varying rates on feed-in tariffs.

Household size

For a single person household, between 4—10 panels are necessary, a two person household between 11—16, and a three or more person household, over 17 panels may be necessary.

Feed-in tariffs

These tariffs determine how much money you get paid or credited from committing electricity to the grid from your solar panel setup. Currently retailers in Victoria pays 6.2 cents per kilowatt hour, New South Wales between 5.1— 8.0 cents, Australian Capital Territory between 6.0—7.5 cents, Queensland 6.0—12 cents, Tasmania 5.55 cents, South Australia 5.3 cents, Northern Territory pays the same feed-in as the consumption rate, and Western Australia has a variable rate.

For more information on going solar
See our comprehensive guide for solar power.

How do I store my generated energy?

Of course once your energy is generated, you’ll want to store it for use in the nighttime or overcast days. For this, you will need batteries. More and more batteries come onto the market all the time. When selecting a battery there are variety of factors to consider: how quickly the battery loses its capacity, how many charges it can take before it loses capacity, how much return you get on energy as a proportion of how much you put in.

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What is solar hot water?

In a typical household, heating water is one of the largest drains on energy. Solar hot water is a great way to lighten the load on your system. It works basically with glass panels on the roof, getting heated by the sun and thus warming water, which is then stored in a tank for use in your shower, dishwasher, etc. There are many things to consider with solar hot water — for more information read on here.

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How can I save energy?

  • Move hot items from cool places and cool items from hot places, i.e. don’t place your fridge and oven next to each other, and keep your heaters away from your windows.
  • Close doors and don’t bother to heat or cool unoccupied rooms
  • Close up the fireplace when not in use — it’s a funnel to the outside world.
  • For more helpful tips, visit this page
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2 Responses to Residential Energy, Electricity and Gas

  1. Default Gravatar
    allan | July 16, 2015

    can i get seperate account for my granny flat?

    • Staff
      Belinda | July 23, 2015

      Hi Allan,

      Thanks for your enquiry.

      It may be possible for you to set up a separate account for the energy, electricity and gas, but you’ll need to speak to your current provider to organise this.

      In regards to electricity, you’ll generally need to arrange to have a separate electricity meter for your granny flat at the property main meter box. Please note that you’ll receive two bills from your electricity provider- one for the main house, and the other for the granny flat.

      For water or gas, you can generally have private water and gas flow meters located at the granny flat. This will help you in calculating granny flat usage of water and gas when you receive your bill.

      If you’d like to compare different providers, you can fill out the form on this page to speak with an energy broker.


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