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Electricity distributors in NSW

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Distribution network service providers, often referred to as ‘distributors’, are responsible for maintaining the electricity network. Distributors maintain poles, wires, stations and substations that deliver electricity to homes across Australia.

There are three distributors in New South Wales, each operating across distinct networks. Those distributors are Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy and Essential Energy. This Canstar Blue article introduces and explains what the three NSW distributors do and why it’s important to know who your distributor is.

What is an electricity distributor?

Electricity distributors are responsible for building and maintaining the energy infrastructure that delivers low-voltage electricity to premises across NSW.

Most electricity is created by large, centralised generators, including coal stations, wind turbines and gas stations. The power produced is converted to ‘high-voltage’ electricity and transported long distances via ‘transmission networks’.

The electricity is then converted to low-voltage electricity using a transformer substation. Once the electricity is a low enough voltage, it can then be delivered to homes and businesses across the network using poles and power lines. It is these lines, poles and stations that the electricity distributors build and maintain.

What does an electricity distributor do in New South Wales?

New South Wales is slightly different to other states, in that distributors are not generally responsible for connecting your home to the grid. In many cases, customers will need to engage their own ‘Accredited Service Provider’ (ASP) to undertake ‘contestable services’.

Contestable services include underground and overhead connection services, service equipment supply, transformer services, switchgear services, augmentations and design work.

Your electricity distributor is who you should contact to report a power outage or damage to energy infrastructure (e.g. fallen powerlines).

Distribution networks are also responsible for designing electricity tariffs; however, the implementation of these tariffs and the exact rates you’re charged are left to electricity retailers. Your retailer is also responsible for issuing and managing your electricity bills – not your distributor.

The following is a quick guide to what electricity distributors in NSW do and don’t do for customers.

Distributors do: Distributors do not:
  • Manage shared electricity infrastructure
  • Repair damage to the network and restore power after outages
  • Propose peak, off-peak and shoulder tariffs
  • Manage streetlights
  • Issue electricity bills
  • Construct or repair individual premise connections
  • Repair electrical faults not related to the shared network
  • Provide metering services (non-legacy)

NSW electricity plans

Review a range of electricity plans below by clicking on your electricity distribution area. Use our comparison tool for specific quotes based on your postcode.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Ausgrid network in Sydney but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 3911kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Endeavour Energy network in Wollongong but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4913kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Essential Energy network in Coffs Harbour but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4613kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Who is my electricity distributor?

There are three electricity distributors in New South Wales: Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy, and Essential Energy. The three distributors are very similar from a network customer’s point of view, though rates and tariffs may vary slightly.

AusgridAusgrid Logo

The Ausgrid Network distributes electricity to 1.8 million customers, covering the wider Sydney area, the Central Coast and the Hunter Valley. You can confirm whether you are on the Ausgrid network using its postcode network check.

Ausgrid became a new company on 1 December 2016, with a new CEO and ownership structure: IFM Investors and AustralianSuper (50.4%) and NSW Government
(49.6%). According to Ausgrid, it is focused on prioritising customers’ needs with affordable prices, network reliability and sustainable technologies.

Customers can use the Ausgrid website to report outages, damage to power poles and wires, graffiti and street light faults. Customers can also contact Ausgrid to trim trees that are growing too close to power lines. To report dangerous hazards, call Ausgrid using the number below.

Contact Ausgrid:

  • Report hazard or loss of supply: 13 13 88
  • General enquiries: 13 13 65

Endeavour EnergyEndeavour Energy

The Endeavour Energy distribution network neighbours the Ausgrid network on its south and west sides. It distributes electricity to 2.7 million people in households and businesses across Sydney’s greater west, the Blue Mountains, Southern Highlands, the Illawarra and the South Coast.

The Endeavour Energy network consists of 416,000 power poles, 185 major substations and 32,000 distribution substations connected by nearly 50,000 kilometres of cables. The company is 50.4% owned by Australian-led consortium investors and 49.6% owned by the New South Wales government.

Customers on the Endeavour Energy distribution network can report power outages, faulty streetlights, fallen power lines and damage to network assets using the following:

Contact Endeavour Energy:

  • Emergency: 131 003
  • General enquiries: 133 718

Essential EnergyEssential Energy

The Essential Energy distribution network spans 95% of regional and rural New South Wales, as well as small parts of southern Queensland. Some of the major urban centres covered by the Essential network include Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Tamworth, Dubbo, Bathurst and Wagga Wagga.

Essential Energy claims to be more than just a ‘poles and wires’ company. Its Essential Communities Program aims to support local community groups across its New South Wales network area through a range of funding opportunities, including the Community Choices program.

Customers on the Essential Energy distribution network can report outages, faulty lights, trees near powerlines and damage to network assets by using the following:

Contact Essential Energy:

  • Emergency: 13 20 80
  • Electricity supply interruptions: 13 20 80
  • General enquiries: 13 23 91

Essential Energy also have an outage notification system (SMS) and an online ‘StormTracker’ to keep its customers informed about network conditions.

Map of NSW electricity distributors

NSW distributor map

What does an electricity retailer do?

Electricity retailers are different to electricity distributors. Electricity retailers are in charge of individual electricity accounts and power bills. So while an electricity distribution network cannot be chosen (unless customers move house), you’re free to chose between electricity retailers in NSW.

With the free Canstar Blue comparison tool below, you can research available electricity providers in your area and find the best energy deal for your home.

Electricity prices in NSW

Here are some sponsored deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Ausgrid energy network in Sydney but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 3911kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area and to see other products in our database that may be available. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Ausgrid network in Sydney but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 3911kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area and to see other products in our database that may be available. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Image credits: Andy Tam/Shutterstock.com, AusGrid, Endeavour Energy, Essential Energy, SolarQuotes.com.au

Katrina Hasdell
Energy Content Producer
Katrina Hasdell is an Energy Content Producer at Canstar Blue, where she covers Australia’s retail energy market. Katrina is dedicated to providing consumers with easy-to-read information on their energy options so they can get better deals on electricity, solar power and more.

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