Who is my energy distributor?

Most of us know who our electricity retailer is – they’re the ones we begrudgingly pay hundreds of dollars to every few months. It’s less likely, however, that you know who your distributor is, or even what a distributor does for that matter.

It might seem like a bunch of useless energy jargon, but when things go wrong with your power supply, it’s important to know who your distributor is. Canstar Blue research also found that your distribution network may affect how much you pay for electricity.

What is an energy distributor?

An energy distributor is responsible for delivering electricity and gas to homes and businesses across Australia. It is the distributor, not the retailer, who owns and maintains all the powerlines, poles, pipes and meters that make the transmission of power and natural gas possible.

Energy retailers, who we pay our bills to, play a very different role. Retailers buy electricity and gas from generators before reselling it to customers at a higher price. The price customers pay for electricity reflects the retailer’s service charge, the price of the electricity and gas itself, and the distributor’s transmission charges which the retailer collects on their behalf. Distribution costs can make up as much as 50% of your total energy bill.

electricity-process

Another way to illustrate this difference is to think about phone companies. There are plenty of mobile phone service providers (Virgin, Amaysim, Vaya etc), however these companies don’t own the network of phone lines and towers that make mobile services possible. This infrastructure is owned by the big telcos, Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. Those three companies allow the smaller providers to pay to use their infrastructure, and in return the smaller telcos get access to the best phone networks in the country.

In a similar fashion, your energy retailer is one of those smaller companies. While they’re the service provider you buy energy from, they usually don’t own the infrastructure that produces the power, or delivers it to your home.

Why is it important to know who my distributor is?

Because the distributor is responsible for the maintenance of the all the energy infrastructure, they are the first point of contact if something goes wrong. If you experience a blackout, for example, it is the distributor who must come out and fix it – not the retailer.

Most distributors will list any scheduled maintenance or reported network issues on their website and let you know when you might expect power back. They also have phone numbers for emergencies such as fallen powerlines or struck gas pipes, so it’s a good idea to know who to call.

A list of gas and electricity distributors

Not sure who your distributor is? Here’s a list of all the electricity and gas distribution networks across Australia.

Queensland

Electricity

Distribution Network

Location

Energex Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast & surrounds
Ergon Energy Country and regional QLD

Gas

Distribution Network

Location

Allgas Energy (gas) South of the Brisbane River, South Coast, Toowoomba & Oakey
Australian Gas Networks Australian Gas Networks (gas) – Nationwide

New South Wales

Electricity

Distribution Network

Location

Endeavour Energy Southern/western metropolitan Sydney and surrounds
Essential Energy Country & regional NSW, southern regional QLD
Ausgrid Inner, northern & eastern metropolitan Sydney and surrounds]

Gas

Distribution Network

Location

Central Ranges System Tamworth
Jemena Gas Networks NSW Sydney, Newcastle, Central Coast, Wollongong and parts of country NSW
Wagga Wagga Gas Distribution Network Wagga Wagga

 ACT

Electricity

Distribution Network

Location

Essential Energy A small portion of the ACT

Gas

Distribution Network

Location

ActewAGL All of the ACT

 South Australia

Electricity

Distribution Network

Location

SA Power Networks All of SA

Gas

Distribution Network

Location

Australian Gas Networks SA Nationwide

Victoria

Electricity

Distribution Network

Location

Citipower Melbourne City and inner suburbs
Jemena Northern and south-western suburbs
Powercor Australia Western suburbs and western Victoria
AusNet Services Outer northern and eastern suburbs and eastern Victoria
United Energy Distribution Southern suburbs and Mornington Peninsula

Gas

Distribution Network

Location

Australian Gas Networks Nationwide
Multinet Gas Eastern suburbs
AusNet Services Outer northern and eastern suburbs and eastern Victoria

Tasmania

Electricity

Distribution Network

Location

TasNetworks All of Tas

Gas

Distribution Network

Location

Tas Gas Networks All of Tas

Northern Territory

Electricity

Distribution Network

Location

Power and Water Corporation All of NT

Gas

Distribution Network

Location

Australian Gas Networks SA Nationwide

Western Australia

Electricity

Distribution Network

Location

Western Power South West Interconnected System
Horizon Power Rural Western Australia

Western Australia gas customers should refer to the Public Utilities Office, the Economic Regulation Authority of Western Australia, or the Energy Ombudsman Western Australia for any energy-related queries.

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