Electricity bills are based on a usage charge for electricity used (cents per kilowatt-hour), plus a daily supply charge (cents per day). These should be listed on your bill. The type of contract you are on may also determine costs.
A flat rate tariff (Tariff 11 in regional Queensland) is the most common tariff for residential customers but other options are available.
Deregulation of retail electricity prices in South East Queensland (SEQ) commenced on 1 July 2016. This means the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) no longer regulates retail electricity prices for residential and small business customers in SEQ (Energex's network service area). Instead, retailers publish their market and standing offers online and on the Australian Energy Regulator’s independent price comparator website, Energy Made Easy. This allows customers to compare and evaluate energy offers.
This reform encourages retailers to set more competitive prices in SEQ, and offer customers a greater range of products and services.
The decision to deregulate prices in SEQ follows the release of recommendations from the Queensland Productivity Commission's Electricity Pricing Inquiry. Customers in the deregulated market will continue to be supported by increased consumer protections under the National Energy Customer Framework (NECF).
In conjunction with the QCA and other stakeholders, the government will monitor the effects and trends associated with price deregulation in SEQ on an ongoing basis, and in particular any impacts on vulnerable customers.
All residential and small business customers (i.e. those consuming less than 100 megawatt hours per year) in regional Queensland have the right to be supplied under a standard retail contract at the regulated (notified) prices, which are set annually by the QCA.
Ergon Energy is a government-owned, non competitive electricity retailer and may only charge its customers the notified prices (i.e. no market contracts, no discounts). Currently, once large or small customers leave Ergon Energy to take up a market contract with another retailer, they cannot return. This is known as non-reversion policy.
However, under the Affordable Energy Plan, the non-reversion policy is changing. Small customers (households and small businesses) will be able to return to Ergon Energy Retail. Upon their return, these customers will be able to access the EasyPay Rewards. This is a rebate for regional households ($75) and small businesses ($120) that register for direct debit and monthly eBilling.
On 31 May 2017, the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) announced new regulated retail prices for regional Queensland for 2017–18.
In the previous 12 months, unprecedented increases in wholesale energy costs have placed significant upward pressure on retail prices for electricity customers across Queensland.
The Queensland Government is concerned about the impact of these price increases on households and businesses, and remains committed to delivering stable electricity prices for Queenslanders. For this reason, the government took immediate action to remove the costs of the Solar Bonus Scheme from electricity bills over the next 3 years.
On 16 June 2017, the QCA released its final determination for regulated retail electricity prices for 2017–18. The regulated electricity prices set by the QCA only apply in regional Queensland and now reflect the reduced network tariffs.
View the final determination for regulated electricity prices on the QCA website.
In response to the QCA announcement on 31 May 2017, the government:
This change will not impact payments made to eligible customers under Queensland's Solar Bonus Scheme. It simply means the costs of the scheme will be met by the Queensland Government instead of electricity consumers.
Due to extreme heat wave events in Queensland and southern states, there has been unprecedented increases in wholesale energy prices across the National Electricity Market. Given these pressures, we are taking additional steps to provide immediate price relief in 2017–18, and are also looking at options to relieve pricing pressure in 2018–19 and beyond.
While Queensland’s electricity supply is not at risk, increasing generation supply in the state will help minimise future price volatility and reinforce our energy security over the coming summers.
To achieve this objective, we have directed Stanwell to return its 385 megawatt Swanbank E gas-fired power station to service in late 2017 in readiness to support the market over the summer period of 2018 and beyond.
To complement the return of Swanbank E, we have also directed Stanwell Corporation to alter its bidding strategies from 1 July to 31 December 2017. This will help put as much downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices as possible.
The Queensland Productivity Commission (QPC) has conducted an inquiry into electricity pricing in Queensland to recommend ways to boost productivity, economic growth, living standards and jobs.
The QPC released its final report with 52 recommendations relating to all major aspects of the electricity sector in Queensland. The final report (PDF) is available on the QPC website.
The government has accepted the majority of the Commission’s recommendations and provided its response to the final report (PDF, 2.1MB).
Some recommendations have already been implemented, including the recommendation to proceed with price deregulation in SEQ. Improvements in retail competition are already being observed with new retailers entering the market.
The QPC recommended the government further investigate what can be done to extend competition to regional Queenslanders, and the government is undertaking further work on this.
Two initiatives to improve outcomes for low income customers and support regional businesses will be delivered in response to the QPC recommendations:
$170.1 million will be provided over 4 years to extend the electricity rebate to Commonwealth Health Care Card holders and asylum seekers, providing support to around 160,000 additional low income families.
Existing recipients of the rebate (e.g. Queensland Seniors Card, Pensioner Concession Card and Department of Veterans Affairs Gold Card holders) will maintain their eligibility.
$10 million will be provided over 2 financial years to implement a package of support for regional business customers to deliver better access to digital metering, more information about tariff options and co-contributions to help customers invest in operation and equipment changes to manage bill impacts.