The Brisbane-based, Queensland media often talks about competition in the energy market and how this can be great for customers who want to shop around and switch to save. But if you live in regional parts of the Sunshine State, you’ll realise that most of this talk simply doesn’t apply to you.
We often hear from people frustrated that the media talks about 20+ energy providers when, for them, they only have one option. So, what exactly is the deal with energy in regional Queensland? Well, you may have more options than you realise. We explain what’s on offer and how it works below.
On this page:
- What counts as ‘regional’ Queensland on the electricity grid?
- Can I choose my own electricity provider in regional QLD?
- How many electricity providers are there in regional QLD?
- What are electricity prices like in regional QLD?
- Are there any energy rebates or concessions available in regional QLD?
- Am I eligible for a solar feed-in tariff in regional QLD?
- Can I get natural gas in regional QLD?
What counts as ‘regional’ Queensland on the electricity grid?
The important thing to note about the electricity grid in Queensland is that it is broken up into two distribution zones – the Energex network and the Ergon Energy network. The Energex network is responsible for south-east Queensland, while the Ergon Energy network covers essentially the rest, from regional areas such as Emerald and Roma, to far-north areas like Mackay and Cairns.
Below we’ve listed some of the major cities and towns that fall under the Ergon Energy network in regional QLD:
- Airlie Beach
- Charters Towers
- Hervey Bay
Can I choose my own electricity provider in regional QLD?
In theory, most customers, bar a few under certain circumstances, do have the option to choose their own electricity provider in regional QLD. The catch, however, is that there is next to no competition in the area for households to choose from.
This is because this area still technically falls under a ‘regulated’ price market, meaning that a regulatory body, in this case the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA), sets the regulated electricity prices that are passed onto residential and business addresses in regional Queensland. These prices are set once a year.
With all retailers in the area required to offer the same rates for power then, it brings little attraction for new competitors to then enter the market up north and out west. Furthermore, Ergon Energy, the dominating retailer in this area, receives additional financial support from the Queensland Government to help cover its operating costs each year. This is given in the form of a subsidy which pays the difference between the QCA set price and the actual cost of supplying customers for Ergon Energy.
So, while other retailers are technically able to supply regional Queensland if they want, many may choose not to simply as it’s likely not to be cost-effective for them to do so. That being said, there are still some retailers that offer plans in parts of regional Queensland.
How many electricity providers are there in regional QLD?
There are currently only two active electricity providers for households in regional QLD – Ergon Energy and GloBird Energy. With Ergon Energy, households have the choice of a single rate, time of use, demand, economy or farming tariff for their electricity. Those interested in switching to competitor, GloBird Energy, however, will only have the choice of a single rate, demand or controlled load tariff.
Prior to the wholesale market mayhem experienced in June and July of 2022, households on the Ergon Energy network had as many as five retailers to choose from, including Mojo Power, QEnergy, Bright Spark Power and LPE. Most of these retailers however, have either ceased retailing entirely or moved away from offering products in the residential electricity market.
If you were previously with Mojo Power or QEnergy for your electricity services in regional QLD, you’ve likely been switched to a new retailer as part of the Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER) Retailer of Last Resort (RoLR) scheme. If you’re unsure which provider this may have been, you can find out by visiting the government’s Energy Made Easy website.
What are electricity prices like in regional QLD?
Since electricity prices in regional QLD are still regulated, you’ll be paying the same rates no matter the provider you choose for your home. We have listed the current regulated prices for regional QLD in 2023-2024 below. These came into effect on July 1, 2023. Most customers are likely to be on Tariff 11 (single rate), but you’ll have to check your bill or call Ergon Energy to make sure.
Please note, these prices exclude GST. Actual rates may be higher to accommodate GST.
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|Tariff||Supply Charge (c/day)||Peak Usage Rate (c/kWh)||Off-peak Usage Rate (c/kWh)||Shoulder Usage Rate (c/kWh)||Demand Charge ($/kW/month)|
Source: qld.gov.au, Regulated Retail Electricity Tariffs for 2023-2024, excluding GST, for residential customers in regional Queensland.
Are there any energy rebates or concessions available in regional QLD?
The good news is that just like those living in SEQ, you may be eligible for certain rebates or concessions in regional areas.
Through Ergon Energy, you can apply for a rebate to assist with the cost of power. The ‘Electricity Rebate’ can reach up to $372.20 per year (GST inclusive). This is only available to some pensioners, seniors, health care card holders and asylum seekers.
Additional rebates may also be applicable for households managing life support or kidney dialysis equipment or extended heating and cooling support for those with a chronic condition. For more information it is best to visit the Ergon Energy or Queensland Government’s website.
Am I eligible for a solar feed-in tariff in regional QLD?
Yes, solar customers in regional QLD may currently be eligible for a solar feed-in tariff on their solar exports. For 2023-2024, this tariff is offering 13.441 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity exported at any time of day. To be eligible for this payment however, the system must be connected to the Ergon Energy network and approved by the distributor.
Households who had their system installed prior to July 10, 2012 may also still be eligible for the Solar Bonus Scheme, which is set at 44c/kWh. Please note however that this scheme will end on July 1, 2028.
Can I get natural gas in regional QLD?
Depending on your location, you may be able to connect to one of Queensland’s two natural gas networks – the Australian Gas Networks or Allgas Energy.
The Australian Gas Networks covers north of the Brisbane River, Ipswich, Gladstone and Rockhampton, while Allgas Energy looks after the south of the Brisbane River, South Coast, Toowoomba and Oakley.
To see if you may eligible for natural gas in your home is it best to visit either of the above network’s website and check the postcode search for your address.
Alternatively, you may be able to find an LPG supplier in your area.
Image credit: Kitch Bain/shutterstock.com, QCA, Ergon.com.au
Original Author: Monika Gudova