Perth Electricity Prices Compared

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Households in Western Australia may not have a choice of electricity provider, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a choice of electricity tariff. Synergy, as the only electricity supplier for residential customers in the Perth area, provides either a ‘single rate’ or ‘flexible pricing’ option. This means that, depending on your energy usage habits, a change of tariff could deliver savings on your power bills. In this article, we explain the difference between these two tariffs and offer a guide as to which may be the best bet for your household budget.

Your Electricity Retailer… Synergy

If you live in the south west corner of Western Australia, then your home will be connected to the South West Interconnected System – the electricity distribution network that supplies residential customers from Albany to Kalbarri, including metropolitan Perth. In this area, Synergy is currently the only authorised electricity retailer and there is no opportunity to switch. The prices that Synergy charges for power are regulated by the WA government.

The governing Labor party in WA does broadly support the deregulation of the electricity market, so one day things could change. But for now, you have to make the best of the situation with Synergy. It’s a similar story in regional WA, with Horizon Power the sole electricity supplier. The gas market in WA is also still regulated, but there are five different gas suppliers to choose from, which is proving good for competition.

While there is no electricity competition in the Perth area, there are at least two different electricity tariffs to pick from, resulting in different usage rates and varying overall energy costs. Picking the right tariff for your household’s needs is crucial to reducing your bills.

Synergy Home Plan (A1) Tariff

This is Synergy’s single rate tariff for households in the Perth area. With this tariff, households are charged the same electricity usage rate regardless of the time of day they use energy. Usage and supply charges are as follows:

Charge Price (Inc GST)
Supply Charge 101.5493 cents per day
Electricity Usage 28.3272 cents per kWh

Source: Synergy website, December 2018

Synergy describes this tariff as its most simple and says it will result in easy to understand bills.

Synergy Smart Home Plan Tariff

This is Synergy’s flexible pricing, or ‘time of use’, tariff for households in Perth and the surrounding areas. With it, customers are charged different electricity usage rates depending on the time of day they use power. The usages times are split into three categories – peak, off-peak & ‘shoulder’ (the time between peak and off-peak) – and rates vary significantly.

Charge Price (Inc GST)
Supply Charge 101.5493 cents per day
Peak Electricity Usage 53.8714 cents per kWh
Everyday Off-Peak Electricity Usage 14.8405 cents per kWh
Weekday Shoulder Electricity Usage 28.2139 cents per kWh
Weekend Shoulder Electricity Usage 28.2139 cents per kWh

Source: Synergy website, December 2018

While the daily supply charge with Synergy’s time of use tariff is the same as its single rate plan, you can see how dramatically usage charges vary, from as low as 14.8c per kWh to as high as 53.8c per kWh.

  • Peak usage rates apply between 3pm and 9pm weekdays
  • Everyday off-peak rates apply between 9pm and 7am every day of the week
  • Weekday shoulder rates apply between 7am and 3pm Monday to Friday
  • Weekend shoulder rates apply between 7am and 9pm Saturdays and Sundays

Households must have a smart meter installed to access Synergy’s time of use electricity tariff.

Which Synergy tariff is right for me?

Working out which of these two Synergy electricity tariffs will be cheaper for your household is no easy task. Usage rates with the Smart Home Tariff come in noticeably cheaper than usage rates on the A1 Tariff during off-peak times, but there is minimal difference between A1 Tariff rates and shoulder charges on the time of use plan. Peak time prices on the Home Smart Tariff are close to double those of the A1 Tariff.

So what does all this mean? It means that choosing the product best for your circumstances comes down to when you use power – and how much you use. To offer a guide as to which Synergy tariff works out the cheapest overall, Canstar Blue has done the number crunching. Based on varying assumptions around peak, off-peak and shoulder time electricity usage, the following table shows expected annual bills for typical households in the Perth area on the time of use tariff. We also show expected costs for households on the single rate tariff.

  • To do this, we assume in time of use example 1 that a household uses 40% of its electricity at peak times, 30% at off-peak times and 30% at shoulder periods
  • In time of use example 2, we assume that a household uses 30% of its energy at peak times, 40% during off-peak times and 30% at shoulder periods
  • In time of use example 3, we assume that a household uses 30% of its energy at peak times, 30% in off-peak hours and 40% during shoulder periods

We found that, based on the above assumptions, households on the single rate tariff would be better offer off in all three cases – more than $200 a year in one case. The following table shows annual costs for a household on the Synergy single rate tariff, plus all three time of use examples.

Tariff Type Annual Electricity Costs
Single Rate $2,314
TOU Example 1 $2,740
TOU Example 2 $2,468
TOU Example 3 $2,560

Calculations based on daily electricity usage of 18.8kWh. Weekend usage assumes 30% off-peak, 70% shoulder. December 2018

We found that a household would have to reduce its peak time energy usage to 20% – with 40% at off-peak hours and 40% shoulder – before the time of use tariff becomes the cheaper option. In this case, the savings would be around $100 a year. If a household managed to reduce its peak time usage to just 10% of its total energy consumption, savings of around $200 are possible.

Is the Synergy time of use tariff worth it?

If you’re able to shift the vast majority of your daily electricity consumption to off-peak hours, the time of use tariff could deliver modest savings. However, it seems unlikely that anyone but shift workers who are not at home in the early hours of the evening would be able to achieve this. If you don’t think reducing your peak time energy usage to less than 20% of your total consumption is a realistic proposition, the time of use tariff is probably not right for you.

The risk would be that a household switches to the time of use tariff but does not manage to significantly change its energy consumption habits. As the table above shows, overall costs increase significantly when you use more electricity at peak times. With this in mind, customers considering the time of use option should have a good understanding of their energy consumption needs and also think carefully about how their usage habits might change over time before signing up.

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