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victoria electricity

victorian electricity retail market

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Victoria is the second largest electricity market in Australia with approximately 2.1 million residential customers and 300,000 business customers. There are five electricity networks (called distributors) operating across Victoria, which were created when the SEC was privatised: Citipower, Powercor, Jemena, United Energy and SP Ausnet. These distributors own and maintain the electricity networks in different geographical areas.

Victoria is the only state in Australia that has a fully deregulated retail energy market, meaning that power companies are able to set their own retail prices. However, distribution companies still have to get approval for price changes as they operate geographical monopolies. Most other states and territories have Government established retail and distribution price controls.

electricity suppliers in melbourne & victoria

Electricity suppliers, called retailers, are companies that "retail" electricity directly to consumers and/or businesses. Retailers do not necessarily own the wires and poles; they simply purchase electricity wholesale (or in some cases generate electricity themselves) and resell it to the end consumer. They pay the electricity network operators a fee for using their networks to supply power to households and businesses. This fee is passed on to consumers in the form of a supply charge.

As at November 2012, there were fourteen main energy provider brands retailing electricity to households in Victoria:

melbourne & victoria electricity prices

The amount you pay for power comprises a fixed supply charge (priced in cents per day) plus usage charges per kilowatt hour of electricity that you use (priced in cents per kWh). The more electricity that you consume the higher your usage charges will be so there is always an incentive to use less.

Electric prices usually vary depending upon where you live. Each of the five distributors have different price structures meaning that you will pay different electricity rates even with the same supplier. These price structures are different to reflect differences in the cost of operating and maintaining the network. Size, age, population density and the like are all factors that contribute to different costs.

Power prices also vary depending upon the type of meter you have at your home. Many homes have single-rate meters, which means you pay the same price per kWh regardless of when you use electricity. Some households have off-peak meters tied to specific appliances such as hot water or storage heating that work only at night time; in such cases they pay a lower price for this type of usage. However, the Victorian Government has mandated that all existing meters be replaced by time-of-use meters (also known as smart meters) over the next four years. Smart meters would enable electricity providers to set prices on an hourly basis to encourage you to use less during peak times. However, it would in practice be very difficult for power companies to bill you in such small intervals.

As electricity rates can vary depending upon where you live, the type of electricity meter you have installed and your current electricity provider and plan it is not necessarily a simple task to find cheaper electricity prices in Melbourne and Victoria. However, with Switchwise you can simply enter your postcode on our homepage, answer a few questions about your energy use and we can show you whether we have been able to find cheaper electricity deals from our panel of suppliers.