2016 WA Gas Supplier Ratings

You are viewing the archived 2017 WA gas suppliers ratings. Follow the link to view the current WA gas suppliers ratings.

Alinta Energy vs Kleenheat: How do households in WA rate the state’s two largest natural gas suppliers? Compare them on their customer service, bill clarity and value for money. You can also compare gas prices from Alinta, Kleenheat, AGL and Origin.

See our Ratings Methodology.

2016 award for natural gas suppliers

Most Satisfied Customers | Kleenheat

In Canstar Blue’s inaugural review of gas suppliers in WA, Kleenheat and Alinta Energy have gone head to head, with Kleenheat receiving five-star ratings on customer service, bill clarity and overall customer satisfaction.

While the Western Australian gas market has been fully contestable since 2004, Alinta Energy was the state’s only residential and small business gas retailer for many years. In March 2013, however, Kleenheat launched its WA gas retail service, stepping up as the first serious challenger to Alinta in Perth and other areas along the west coast.

So how do these two gas suppliers compare in the eyes of the people who matter most? Canstar Blue sought to find out by surveying bill-paying customers across WA, with their feedback reflected by the ratings table you see above.

In our inaugural review and ratings for gas suppliers in Western Australia, Kleenheat received five stars for overall satisfaction, as well as top marks on billing clarity and customer service. It also recorded four stars on value for money and energy efficiency advice. It rated three stars on environmentally sustainability.

Kleenheat is part of the Wesfarmers group, which also includes supermarket giant Coles and retail stores such as Target, Kmart and Bunnings.

Alinta Energy was rated four stars overall, as well as four stars for its billing clarity and customer service. It received three stars on value for money and environmentally sustainability. Alinta Energy was acquired in 2017 by Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, a Hong Kong based conglomerate.

Since the release of these ratings, two major gas retailers, AGL and Origin, have entered the fray. Both companies have a strong presence in most of Australia and are looking to extend that success out west. The increased competition in WA should spell good news for customers as retailers are expected to drive down prices in order to win over customers.

But to benefit from this increased competition, customers must frequently compare natural gas products and providers to make sure they’re still getting the best gas service and price. To help customers understand their options and potentially find a better deal on natural gas, Canstar Blue has put together this guide. Our 2017 review also featured in a report on Today Tonight Perth.

Where is natural gas supplied in WA?

wa gas

Our customer ratings are based on the feedback of natural gas customers, rather than those who purchase bottled LPG. In order to connect natural gas to your home or business, you must live in an area with reticulated gas mains. As you can see from the map, supplied by the WA Department of Finance, natural gas is only available in the most populated regions, including areas surrounding Perth, Busselton, Gingin, Albany, Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Geraldton, Mullewa and Carnamah.

Alinta Energy services all of the highlighted areas in the map, while Kleenheat, Origin and AGL only service those regions along the west coast, from Busselton to Geraldton, which includes the greater Perth area. In Kalgoorlie-Boulder and Albany, Alinta is the only natural gas provider.

If natural gas is not available to your property, a gas supplier may be able to arrange a quote from the network operator to extend the gas mains to your home or business. However, this is only practical if the property is already near a gas network. Alternatively, If the property is located in a remote area, the only option for gas might be bottled LPG. Kleenheat and Alinta Energy both operate LPG services in some areas, as do other retailers including Origin Energy, AGL, Elgas and Plusgas.

WA gas prices

Gas prices in Western Australia are regulated by the state government for small use customers. A customer is considered to be ‘small use’ if their property uses less than 1 terajoule (TJ) of natural gas per annum. This will realistically include all households and most small businesses.

The price of natural gas in WA is made up of supply and usage charges.

  • A supply charge is a daily fee for being connected to the mains gas network and applies regardless of whether or not the property uses any natural gas that day
  • Usage charges are incurred for the natural gas actually used. These charges are provided in terms of ‘units’, with one unit equating to 3.6 megajoules of gas – equivalent to 1kWh of electricity

Customers in the Kalgoorlie-Boulder and Albany areas are charged a standard flat rate on gas usage. However, customers in Mid-West/South-West WA (i.e. Perth, Geraldton, Carnamah and surrounding areas), are charged in block usage rates. Under this pricing structure, customers receive one rate for the first 12 units (43.2 MJ) of gas used per day, and a lower rate for any additional gas usage beyond that. To put that into perspective, the average gas oven will use around 12 megajoules an hour.

Below we have listed the natural gas prices for Alinta Energy, Kleenheat, AGL and Origin energy. As you will see, Alinta and Kleenheat’s gas prices are aligned with the maximum price that gas companies are allowed to charge under WA law. AGL and Origin are slightly cheaper, but only by a fraction of a cent. These prices don’t factor in discounts, however, which are as follows:

  • Kleenheat has a 25% pay on time discount off usage charges
  • Alinta Energy has a 25% discount off usage charges for paying by direct debit
  • AGL offers 22% off usage charges for customers who pay by direct debit
  • Origin Energy has a 35% discount for customers who pay by direct debit

It’s also worth saying that AGL and Origin have a couple of other gas offers to consider, including a fixed rate deal in the case of AGL.

Mid-West/South-West WA Gas Prices (Including Perth)

  Regulated cap* Alinta Kleenheat AGL Origin
Supply charge 21.29 c/day 21.29 c/day 21.29 c/day 21.285 c/day 21.286 c/day
First 12 units used on average per day 14.70 c/unit 14.70 c/unit 14.70 c/unit 14.685 c/unit 14.696 c/day
Over 12 units used on average per day 13.26 c/unit 13.26 c/unit 13.26 c/unit 13.244 c/unit 13.255 c/day

*Source: Department of Treasury website. Prices as of August 2017.

Kalgoorlie-Boulder Gas Prices

Regulated price cap* Alinta Energy
Supply charge 47.87 c/day 47.87 c/day
Energy charge 13.64 c/unit 13.64 c/unit

*Source: Department of Treasury website. Prices as of August 2017.

Albany Gas Prices

Regulated price cap* Alinta Energy
Supply charge 22.98 c/day 22.98 c/day
Supply charge additional dwellings 11.48 c/ day 11.48 c/ day
Energy charge 16.71 c/unit 16.71 c/unit

*Source: Department of Treasury website. Prices as of August 2017.

Where does natural gas come from?

Natural gas is produced and refined by large, international fuel companies such as BHP Billiton, BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Santos, Shell and Woodside Energy. Most of Western Australia’s natural gas supply comes from the off-shore Carnarvon, Browse and Bonaparte basins. Once it’s extracted, the gas is transported to mains gas systems across the state via high-pressure gas pipelines.

The natural gas mains system is operated and maintained by ATCO Gas Australia (formerly WA Gas Networks). This is who you should contact if anything goes wrong with your gas supply, or in case of an emergency, such as a gas leak. ATCO is responsible for meter readings and passes this information onto your retailer. Kleenheat or Alinta will then bill you for your gas usage and collect the additional supply charges on behalf of ATCO.

Natural gas for businesses

Kleenheat, Origin Energy, Alinta Energy and AGL all provide natural gas to business customers. Medium to large businesses have a few extra options as Synergy and Perth Energy retail natural gas to customers consuming at least 180 gigajoules (GJ) of gas per annum, or about $6,000 per year. Businesses that don’t use this much natural gas will remain limited to the options we’ve just mentioned.

As WA gas prices are only regulated for customers consuming less than 1 TJ of natural gas per annum, large businesses are free to negotiate rates with their retailer.

What’s next for WA gas?

The Western Australia government has allowed competition in the residential gas market for years, yet only recently have things begun to heat up. As mentioned, AGL and Origin have recently joined the WA natural gas market, while another retailer, Perth Energy, is seeking expressions of interest as it too gears up to supply WA homes with natural gas.

AGL, Origin and other potential newcomers will have their work cut out for them to get a foothold in the WA gas market. Our survey of WA gas customers found that 27% would like to switch gas suppliers but consider the process too daunting. In addition, 21% said they would like to switch but can’t find the time. However, 84% of respondents said they were ‘generally happy’ with their gas supplier.

Interestingly, our research found that natural gas customers in WA are generally more satisfied with their service than customers in other states of Australia. However, with new retailers likely to join the residential gas market in the years to come, customers should regularly review their energy options and compare plans in their area. While WA gas prices remain regulated, the retailers can still compete to offer the best deals and service.

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Frequently asked questions

Canstar Blue commissioned Colmar Brunton to survey 6,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who live in Western Australia and pay the gas bills in their household – in this case, 194 people.

Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then alphabetically. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.