Dirt road in Darwin with car speeding past.

Understanding the NT Electricity Market

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This Canstar Blue guide to the Northern Territory energy market will take you through how it all works, answering any questions you may have in the process.

Home to iconic natural treasures, rich Aboriginal history and stunning rugged landscapes — there’s nowhere quite like the Northern Territory. But the territory’s idiosyncrasies don’t stop there. The NT energy market presents some unique challenges, with price regulation and an absence of mains gas at the top of that list. This guide discusses them all to help you choose the right energy provider, plan and price for your your home in the NT.

Northern Territory Electricity Distribution Zones

Power company connecting a house to the grid.

If you live in the Northern Territory, your electricity distributor is government-owned Power and Water Corporation. Power and Water Corporation is responsible for owning and operating the power network in the NT, which includes responsibilities such as supplying electricity to homes and businesses and maintaining power lines, pipes, poles and meters necessary for transmission. The NT distributor services around 244,00 people, 10,000 power lines, 3,000 underground cables and 37,000 poles and towers across 1.3 million square kilometres.

The Northern Territory is separated into three regulated network grids:

  • The Northern Network Grid: The Darwin and Katherine regions, including Batchelor, Adelaide River, Pine Creek, Mataranka and Larrimah, home to around 150,000 people.
  • The Southern Electrical Grid Services: Alice Springs region, home to around 28,000 people.
  • The Tennant Creek Network Grid: Tennant Creek region, home to around 7,000 people.

Northern Territory & Darwin Electricity Providers

Households and businesses in the Northern Territory have a choice of five electricity retailers*:

  • EDL NGD 
  • Jacana Energy
  • Next Business Energy
  • Power and Water Corporation (Both distributor and retailer)
  • Rimfire Energy

*Some of these retailers are only available to business customers. 

Northern Territory Electricity Prices

The Northern Territory has a unique energy pricing model. The government regulates Northern Territory electricity prices for residential and small business customers using less than 750 Megawatt hours (MWh) of power a year. This means that the Northern Territory government sets electricity prices once a year which retailers pass on to their customers, and that electricity usage and supply charges are also the same across the territory.

The Northern Territory is technically open to pricing competition, but state-owned Jacana Energy currently dominates the market with little to no contest. According to the Utilities Commission Northern Territory Electricity Retail Review 2021‑22, there are a few key barriers to competition in the region:

  • The government’s uniform tariff policy regulates the maximum tariff retailers can charge.
  • The requirement for customers to have an interval meter which can cost up to $600 to switch retailers.

That being said, there are a couple of electricity providers currently operating in the territory: government-owned Jacana Energy and challenger brand Rimfire Energy. Rates for both providers are shown below.

Jacana Energy Electricity Prices

A strong majority of residential customers in Darwin and surrounds (85,000 homes) are connected by government-owned Jacana Energy. This retailer offers four residential plans: Everyday Home, Switch to Six, Prepayment and Multipurpose. The Everyday Home plan has a single rate tariff, the Switch to Six plan has a time of use tariff and Multipurpose has a block rate tariff.

Product Usage Rate (incl. GST) Supply Charge (incl. GST)
Everyday Home 28.1117 c/kWh 55.4200 c/day
Switch to Six Peak rate: 33.1600 c/kWh

Off-peak rate: 25.2843 c/kWh

55.4200 c/day
Prepayment 30.9066 c/kWh Included in usage rate
Multipurpose First 45kWh/day: 28.1117 c/kWh

Over 45kWh/day: 32.7158 c/kWh

55.4200 c/day

Prices sourced from Jacana Energy website, September 2023.

Learn more about Jacana electricity tariffs and business offerings on our Jacana Energy brand page.

Rimfire Energy Electricity Prices

Rimfire is the largest non-government electricity provider in the Northern Territory. Due to the Northern Territory’s fully regulated power market, you’ll pay the same rates for power with Rimfire Energy as with state-owned Jacana Energy, however, Rimfire Energy also offers a 2.5% pay on time discount to customers. You’ll need a smart meter installed by Rimfire at a fee to sign up for its single rate standard or time of use plans.

Product Usage Rate (incl. GST) Supply Charge (incl. GST)
Standard 28.1117 c/kWh 55.4200 c/day
Time of use Peak rate: 33.1600 c/kWh

Off-peak rate: 25.2843 c/kWh

55.4200 c/day

Prices sourced from Rimfire Energy website, September 2023.

You can find business tariffs and rates on the Rimfire Energy website.

Northern Territory Solar Feed-in Tariffs

Households with solar have limited options for feed-in tariffs in the Northern Territory. Only two retailers — Jacana Energy and Rimfire Energy — offer solar feed-in tariffs in the NT. The tariffs available are considered to pretty standard when compared to what’s on offer in other states and territories in Australia.

Retailer Minimum Feed-in Tariff (kWh) Maximum Feed-in Tariff (kWh)
Jacana Energy 9.13c 9.13c
Rimfire Energy 12.1c 16.5c*

Prices sourced from respective retailer’s websites, September 2023. *Must install solar system with Rimfire Energy to be eligible.


Natural Gas in the Northern Territory

LPG tanks in the back of a truck.

In the Northern Territory, most households aren’t connected to mains gas. This means that electric stovetops and hot water heating are much more common than in other parts of Australia. The select few that are connected to mains supply primarily reside in Alice Springs, where gas connections are occasionally present. These households are supplied by Australian Gas Networks (AGN). According to the AGN website, there are currently 1,156 homes connected to mains gas in the Northern Territory. 

Due to the lack of accessibility to mains gas, there isn’t a competitive market for natural gas providers in the region. There is, however, a market for Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) supply in the Northern Territory. Rather than getting gas through a pipe, LPG is generally delivered in a gas bottle. In the NT, LPG gas for residential use is available in 45kg, 90kg and 210kg sizes.

LPG Power Companies Darwin & Northern Territory

There is a range of LPG suppliers big and small in Darwin, Alice Springs and the rest of the Northern Territory. Here are some of the bigger names in the game:

Most of these retailers encourage you to schedule regular deliveries to ensure you never run out of gas.

Northern Territory Gas Prices

Paying for gas usage is one thing, but there are also costs that come with renting the bottle itself. Prices for bottled gas can vary depending on your location and who you are purchasing from but generally start at around $140 for a 45kg cylinder. Supply or rental charges will generally set you back around $45 or $50.

According to Elgas, a 45kg gas bottle can last anywhere between a month and a year, depending on how often gas is used. 

How to choose an energy provider in the Northern Territory

With just two providers operating in the Northern Territory, the retail market in the state is notably noncompetitive. A good majority of households will be with Jacana Energy. The incentive to switch is lost in a lack of pricing competition, making NT households base their decision on other value-add features such as customer service or green initiatives. 

On the other hand, the gas market presents a few more options. While gas mains connection isn’t possible for most households, there’s an opportunity to save on power by choosing LPG. Prices aren’t regulated, so there’s value in shopping around for a good deal — especially for households using gas for cooking and heating water. 

Canstar Blue publishes a yearly round-up of LPG providers to help you determine which is the best for you. Click the button below to compare!

Best-Rated LPG Suppliers

Image credit: Andrew_Deer/Shutterstock.com, Sheryl Watson/Shutterstock.com, sweeann/Shutterstock.com

Monika Gudova
Energy Contributor
Monika Gudova has grown her expertise in Australia's retail energy sector over several years at Canstar Blue and elsewhere in the comparison industry. She holds a Bachelor of Journalism and Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies from the University of Wollongong and covers a range of topics.

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