Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Australian Energy Regulator

Almost daily the headlines scream about rising power prices. Ours have risen but not really dramatically, not enough to warrant headline news. If people are getting quarterly bills over $1000, they really need to look at what they have running.

Of course we would all like to have cheaper power bills and the government has a plan, which I am not even going to try to understand. One former Prime Minister (Turnbull I think), playing to gallery of the conservatives (and coal energy shareholders), spoke of the need for new coal fired power stations to prevent the blackouts and restrictions we have faced.

What blackouts and restrictions? When was this? The only power blackouts have been caused by weather or small infrastructure failure. In the massive South Australian blackout, a couple of years ago was it, it was weather, small infrastructure failure and poor management decisions.

This was mostly written last year and not published. I am not sure where I was going with it, but I consider it useful enough to publish. This summer in Victoria we did have on afternoon of some suburbs being blacked out, as our coal fired power stations collapsed under the strain during a short hot spell, along with some being out of service for regular maintenance. Why do that when the weather is hot? They do take some time to wind down and start up again, but even so.

To also note, South Australia's large power storage battery, built by electric car maker Elon Musk is performing very well. Now everyone wants a big battery.

The paste below is from the website of the Australian Energy Regulator and defines its role in our energy system. So if you think your power is too expensive, this is where the price is decided, or at least allows a price to be decided by resellers.

I can't remember where the paste came from comparing our prices to those overseas, but it is rather shocking. We are paying just under 20 cents/kWh. Mother was paying about 28 cents. She was not in a position to bargain. Our electricity costs nearly 200% more than Canadians pay. The amount AER decides that a network can recover from customers and that the AER does not set prices is rather a moot point from my point of view.

In 2011/12 average household electricity prices in Australia (just under 25 cents/kWh) were 12% higher than average prices in Japan, 33% higher than the EU, 122% higher than the U.S. and 194% higher than Canada.


  • The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) works to make all Australian energy consumers better off, now and in the future. 
  • We regulate electricity networks and covered gas pipelines, in all jurisdictions except Western Australia. We set the amount of revenue that network businesses can recover from customers for using these networks.
  • We enforce the laws for the National Electricity Market and spot gas markets in southern and eastern Australia. We monitor and report on the conduct of energy businesses and the effectiveness of competition.
  • We protect the interests of household and small business consumers by enforcing the Retail Law. Our retail energy market functions cover New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, the ACT and Queensland. We do not set the prices consumers pay.

15 comments:

  1. You have hit a nerve here. In a ten day period we used three times the electricity we did last quarter. No new appliances, and nothing has changed. Checking with our power company we can have the meter checked ($400), or call an electrician to see what is gobbling the power. Except that it no longer is. I dread the next bill.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. EC, so the power consumption has dropped back down? Refrigerators and electric heating and cooling are what chews up power. You don't have a spare fridge in the garage where the door may have been left ajar?

      Delete
    2. One fridge and no electric heating.

      Delete
    3. I am nonplussed.

      Delete
  2. I don't think our energy bill has ever been that high Andrew. In summer the pool filter goes non stop, I never turn lights off after I leave a room 😊 I think I left my Scots tendencies in Scotland many years ago but still our electric bill hasn't ever been that high.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grace, you don't think...in fact not your job is it. I think pool filters do use quite a bit of power. You leave lights on? Quelle horreur!

      Delete
    2. I know right 😀😀

      Delete
  3. I don't know what I pay per/kWh and can't be bothered getting up to check. I don know electricity should NEVER have been privatised. I just keep my costs down by leaving of all lights except the lamp by my computer, then later in the evenings, that goes of and the lamp by my TV chair goes on. At night the outdoor security lights throw enough light that I don't need my bedside lamp to get to the bathroom or kitchen. I use the dryer as little as possible.
    I do agree that those with huge quarterly bills need to look at where they are wasting power, I know one household where there are TVs in several rooms and they are on most of the time just as background noise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. River no, privatisation of electricity supply didn't work very well, well not for the customers. Ah radios are for background noise, not tvs. Several rooms with tvs and all of them running. I despair. Yes, you only need to turn a light on if you need it, well aside from our lounge room lamps but they are all low power usage now anyway.

      Delete
  4. I have no idea how much we pay in Centimes/kWh. Luckily I am in a financial position not to worry; all my bills are paid by direct debit, and I never see them. However, I do feel extremely sorry for those who count their pennies, and probably have to go without in order to pay for heating etc.

    re River's last paragraph, I have a friend who does the same. First thing in the morning she puts on every light in the house, every TV, and every radio. She then goes outdoors, and stays there. I once turned OFF a light as we left a room, and she called me a 'skinflint'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cro, unless you live in a really cold house here, you can just about manage without heating, and some do. We could if we rugged up, but I don't like rugging up indoors. Your tale of your friend's power usage is astonishing.

      Delete
  5. That is extremely high account for a 1/4, we would be most annoyed if that happened.
    Every second weekend when the g children come to stay they leave the lights on and don't turn them off, so their father is forever telling them to turn them off.
    We always turn lights off when not need, TV's and radio's off when not watching listening and the doors closed for A/C or heating. However we have 3 fridges :) standalone freezer, and two fridges with freezers, saves going to the shop every second day and storing food, drinks and so on.
    Haven't had our first total solar accounts as yet, had part one with normal, it was much cheaper so will be interesting. Yearly normal power account was satisfactory to us even with youngest son living at home and being here whilst we travel north in our winter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Margaret, I think some of the problem with high power consumption is new houses not being designed for the Australian climate, and so require a lot of heating and cooling, and halogen light bulbs, which while cheaper than incandescent, there are a lot more of the them to light a room. It will be interesting to hear how your power bills change.

      Delete
  6. We are careful with our consumption, and over the last year have used less. I think it may be due to the fact that we purchased energy efficient appliances.
    My ex-husbband now works for a power company that produces electricty through hydropower. He and Jack discussed this at length at Savi's party the other day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maribeth, when I suggested that to the person who I was negotiating our tariff with, she laughed and I don't know why. Appliances are getting better and better all the time.

      Delete