Victoria’s electricity bill postcode lottery

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Did you know that your postcode can have a big impact on the amount you pay for electricity? It’s true. In fact, a household in one suburb of Melbourne could pay hundreds of dollars a year more than another in a neighbouring suburb, even if they have the same electricity provider and plan, and consume the same amount of energy. Why? Because Victoria is divided by five different electricity distribution networks and costs can vary hugely between them.

Comparing energy plans across the five networks, Canstar Blue found that prices can differ depending on your postcode. So, if you’re considering where to buy or rent a home in Melbourne or the surrounding areas, it literally pays to know where your suburb fits into this electricity price lottery.

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Victoria’s Electricity Distribution Networks

Depending on where you live in Victoria, your home will be connected to one of five different distribution networks. These networks are maintained by five different companies who are responsible for managing the infrastructure and ensuring that power safely and efficiently reaches your TV in the evening. These are the companies you need to call in the event of a power outage or fallen power line. They are:

  • Citipower – servicing Melbourne city and inner suburbs
  • Jemena – servicing northern and south-western suburbs
  • Powercor – servicing western suburbs and western Victoria, including Geelong and Ballarat
  • AusNet – servicing outer northern and eastern suburbs, plus eastern Victoria
  • United Energy – servicing southern suburbs and Mornington Peninsula

These electricity distributors pass on their costs to you through your retailer. Distribution costs can account for as much as 50% of your total bill.

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How do electricity prices differ across the networks?

Given that some distribution companies cover wider or more remote areas than others, it makes sense that the costs they pass onto customers will be different. AusNet and Powercor service huge areas of eastern and western Victoria respectively, in addition to outer suburbs of Melbourne, and this is reflected by power prices on these networks being the highest, even for those who live close to the city.

Canstar Blue compared the cheapest electricity plan on the Citipower network against each of the other four distribution networks in Victoria. Keep in mind that these prices are accurate at the time of publication. Please use our comparison tool for an accurate comparison in your area.

  • Citipower: $1,089
  • Jemena: $1,157
  • Powercor: $1,178
  • Ausnet: $1,254
  • United Energy: $1,153

The end result is that just a short distance between suburbs can make a difference to your electricity costs. It also means that the electricity providers that work out cheapest on one network could be different to the cheapest on another.

How do retailer charges differ across the networks?

To determine average costs across the networks, Canstar Blue has compared prices from the big three power companies, AGL, Origin and EnergyAustralia, plus three smaller providers, Alinta Energy, Momentum Energy and Powershop. Incredibly, Powershop took out top spot in three out of the five electricity distribution zones. Keep in mind, this is just a selection of providers and there are many more to choose from.

VIC electricity prices compared across each network

Click on each of the Victorian electricity distribution networks to see how much prices can change, depending on where you live.

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 Citipower network in Melbourne but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/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 Jemena network in Sunbury but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/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 United Energy network in Frankston but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/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 Powercor network in Geelong but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/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 AusNet network in Warragul but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/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.

It’s important to remember that there are many more energy providers in Victoria, but this example goes to show how prices can differ between them. Generally speaking, the big providers are most competitive on the networks covering large regional areas of Victoria (AusNet and Powercor), while smaller retailers like Powershop and Momentum Energy are most competitive on the more central networks.

What can you do about it?

It’s apparent that your location can have a big impact on your energy bills, but what exactly can you do about it? While those looking at where to buy or rent a home would do well to keep these pricing details in mind, consumers who already live on one of the five networks can only consider their existing plan and work out if they could find cheaper prices elsewhere.

As our example shows, retailers are often more competitive on some networks than others, meaning you will need to dive into the details of various plans in order to compare both usage and supply charges. Get an idea of what represents a ‘cheap’ price on your respective network and work from there.

Wherever you live, you can safely assume that if you haven’t switched providers in the last two years, you are probably paying more than you need to, so it pays to shop around.

Please note that these costs were accurate at the time of publication and are provided as a guide only.

Compare Victoria Electricity Providers

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