Electricity retailers and on-sellers
Information for electricity customers of Urth Energy.
This guide helps you make an informed decision when choosing an electricity retailer. It also provides information to help on-supply customers calculate on-selling charges.
Your retailer will bill you directly for the electricity you use. The amount you pay includes the cost of transporting the electricity along your distributor's poles and wires to your property.
Contact your retailer directly if you have questions about your:
- electricity bill (including payment difficulties)
- electricity prices
- payment options
- green power options
- connection (including disconnecting or reconnecting).
Tips for choosing or changing electricity retailer
How to shop around
Customers in South East Queensland are able to choose their electricity retailer. This means you can shop around for an electricity retail offer that suits your household or small business.
There are many ways to shop around for electricity. Just remember:
- Click the Australian Government’s free and independent comparison site Energy Made Easy
- Call your current retailer and ask for a better deal
- Ask someone you trust for help to shop around.
You do have a ten day cooling off period if you change your mind.
Things to remember
Some offers may include a pay on time discount or require you to enter into a direct debit arrangement to receive a greater discount. Other offers may pay you different feed-in-tariffs for rooftop solar. Offers may also include late payment or other fees.
Different conditions apply to different offers so it is important to read the offer conditions before you enter into a new contract.
You can switch retailers if you already have the Solar Bonus Scheme that closed on 10 July 2012 provided you maintain your eligibility.
Electricity retail price deregulation
Retail electricity prices in South East Queensland (SEQ) will be deregulated from 1 July 2016. Over time, electricity retailers are expected to provide customers with a greater range of offers following deregulation. This means that electricity customers in SEQ (i.e. Energex’s network service area) will increasingly have more choice.
Regional customers outside of SEQ (see below) are not affected by these changes.
The Queensland Government has launched a comprehensive electricity consumer education campaign to help customers shop around for a better electricity deal. Visit qld.gov.au/energysave to see how shopping around is not hard, doesn’t take long and could save you money.
To receive updates, you can also follow us on social media.
And remember to regularly shop around to make sure you are always on the best electricity plan for your circumstances.
For customers outside South East Queensland
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).
Once large or small customers leave Ergon Energy to take up a market contract with another retailer, they cannot return. This is known as the non-reversion policy.
Under the Energy Affordability Plan the non-reversion policy is changing. Small customers – households and small businesses – will be able to return to Ergon Retail. These customers upon their return to Ergon Retail will be to access the Easy Pay Reward - a rebate for regional households ($75) and small businesses ($120) that register for direct debit and monthly eBilling.
Find out more
On-selling electricity refers to an arrangement where the owner, occupier or user of a premises supplies and sells electricity to premise occupants.
Examples of on-sellers (also referred to as ‘embedded network owners’) include:
- shopping centre owners
- caravan park owners
- owners of manufactured home parks
- owners of blocks of flats
- bodies corporate associated with blocks of residential or commercial units.
Regulation and licensing of on-sellers
The National Energy Retail Law and Rules commenced in Queensland on 1 July 2015. The rules set out the exemptions for anyone on-selling energy to tenants under the National Energy Customer Framework (NECF).
All on-sellers of electricity must apply to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) for an exemption from the requirement to hold a retailer authorisation, unless in a deemed class. The AER exempt selling (retail) guideline details the types of exemptions available and the application procedures.
On-sellers who own, operate or control a privately owned network must also obtain an exemption from the requirement to register as a network service operator with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).
The AER monitors and enforces compliance with obligations under the retail law, rules and regulations. Visit the Australian Energy Regulator website for more information or to lodge a complaint.
Customer access to retail market offers
From 1 December 2017, changes to the national electricity rules for embedded networks will make it easier for embedded network customers to access retail market offers in order to buy energy direct from an authorised energy retailer rather than their on-seller.
The AER has recently released a notification of transitional arrangements which gives on-sellers additional time to comply with the new rules. As a result, embedded network customers may not be able to access a retailer until 31 March 2018.
The changes will create a new accredited provider role - embedded network manager - to link customers to the National Electricity Market without the need to establish a direct connection to the electricity network. Customers will be able to continue to purchase electricity from their on-seller if they wish.
- Find out more about changes to the rules for embedded networks.
The AEMC has also recently commenced a review of the regulatory arrangements for embedded networks to identify and assess issues for customers and identify solutions. The review will consider the exemptions framework, customer protections and barriers to embedded network customers accessing competitive retail offers.
- Find out more about the review of regulatory arrangements for embedded networks and the public consultation process.
Under the national rules, on-sellers must abide by the conditions set by the AER under their exemption class when selling electricity or gas to tenants. In particular, the legislation limits the amount an on-seller can charge for electricity and requires all on-sellers to claim for government concessions on behalf of eligible recipients.
- Find out more about customer protection in the AER exempt selling (retail) guideline.
On-supply customers who are unable to resolve disputes with their on-seller can get more information by visiting our dispute resolution page.
Public consultation on a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS), entitled On-supply customer access to energy rebates and the Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland (PDF, 443.2KB), has now closed. Further updates will be provided once the department has considered the options.
Calculating electricity on-supply charges
Various State legislation specifies what you can charge your residential customers, for example:
- the Manufactured Homes (Residential Parks) Act 2003 applies to owners/managers of Residential Parks who on-supply electricity to manufactured home owners – contact the Residential Services Unit of the Department of Housing and Public Works for more information;
- The Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 applies to tenancy agreements for caravans, caravan sites, houseboats and rented manufactured homes – contact the Residential Tenancies Authority Queensland for more information; and
- The Body Corporate and Community Management Regulation 2008 applies to Bodies Corporate who on-supply electricity to home owners – contact the Office of the Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management for more information.
- For more information on your obligations as an on-seller of energy, refer to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) website.
Information for Urth Energy electricity customers
On Thursday, 2 February 2017, Urth Energy Pty Ltd’s authorisation to trade in the National Electricity Market was revoked, following its entry into administration. This means Urth Energy can no longer supply customers with electricity.
The National Energy Retail Law protects customers of failed energy retailers. If you are a customer of Urth Energy, you will not be disconnected. Your electricity will continue to be supplied by another retailer without you having to do anything; this is the Retailer of Last Resort scheme. The Australian Energy Regulator is responsible for administering this.
For further information please visit the Australian Energy Regulator's (AER) website or call the AER Hotline on 1300 055 390.
Solar feed-in tariff
For customers who are currently receiving 44 centSolar Bonus Scheme feed-in tariff (noting you may also being receiving an amount in addition to this from your retailer), you will continue to receive the tariff provided ongoing eligibility requirements are met.