Advertisement

Electricity Refunds / Cheapest provider in ACT?

By 22 February 2014 14

Got a couple of questions for the RA community:

If your electricity company (in this case ACTEWAGL) has you overpaying for electricity, are you entitled to a refund for the credit accumulated in your account?

9 months ago I moved into a 1 bedroom apartment by myself, and signed up to ACTEWAGL for electricity. With my prev. provider in Queanbeyan a few years earlier (Country Energy) I had paid $30 a fortnight direct debit and this nicely covered my yearly electricity bill. ACTEWAGL wanted me to pay $50 a fortnight, and I had to argue with them to get them to agree to $40 a fortnight instead, which I still thought was excessive but presumed charges had gone up that much in the intervening years.

Well 9 months later, my account is almost $100 a credit, and this includes not only all my electricty usage since then but also the almost $100 connection fee I had to pay to get electricity turned on which I never paid separately and let the direct debit cover as well. So over the past 9 months, I have paid almost $100 connection fee, my full electricity bill, and still have almost $100 in credit – yes it seems that $40 a fortnight was excessive after all, and I am damm glad I didn’t let them bully me into $50 a fortnight like they originally wanted now.

Is ACTEWAGL obligated to refund me the credit amount to my bank account upon request? I will certainly be lowering my fortnightly charge to around $30-33 a fortnight (which should still leave me slightly in credit every 12 months) but I want the extra money I have paid so far back, I am on a low income and that almost $100 is a fair bit of money to me atm.

My second question is, is there a better option in the ACT? I’m not the biggest fan of ACTEWAGL and partly went with them purely from name recognition more than anything else. Suggestions for a better provider for someone living on their own with low electricity usage RA’ers? Thanks in advance for your replies.

o/

Please login to post your comments
14 Responses to
Electricity Refunds / Cheapest provider in ACT?
tommy 2:03 pm
22 Feb 14
#1

Hi. We had some credit with Actew that had built up to a few hundred $. They happily paid it back into the bank account.

patrick_keogh 6:38 pm
22 Feb 14
#2

Well we all hold the readership of the RA in the highest regard, but wouldn’t it have been simpler to just ask ActewAGL to make the refund?

Deref 6:39 pm
22 Feb 14
#3

“Is ACTEWAGL obligated to refund me the credit amount to my bank account upon request?”

The word you’re looking for is “obliged”.

But yes, I’d think so.

Antagonist 7:45 pm
22 Feb 14
#4

tommy said :

Hi. We had some credit with Actew that had built up to a few hundred $. They happily paid it back into the bank account.

+1. Ask and ye shall receive.

As for your second question, the answer is no. There are no other choices for electricity providers in the ACT. ACTEWAGL (or whatever branding they have spent millions of dollars on) have a monopoly here.

yoyo23 7:43 am
23 Feb 14
#5

Antagonist said :

As for your second question, the answer is no. There are no other choices for electricity providers in the ACT. ACTEWAGL (or whatever branding they have spent millions of dollars on) have a monopoly here.

Not entirely true Antagonist. Whilst ACTEWAGL have the monopoly on the wholesale market in the ACT, you are free to choose a retail provider. Think of it like the Telstra ADSL back in the day or where you could choose who your STD (that’s long distance calls) provider was – it still used Telstra but would be billed by someone else.

I used Energy Australia for about 4 years. They gave me about 3-5% off electricity and gas for locking me into a 2 year contract. There are heaps of retailers out there, but in my opinion, there isn’t that much they can offer you, and any discount you receive has risks that you will pay more for going outside the terms & conditions.

Mordd, Google something like “electricity provider act” and you can spend time researching other providers, but I can’t recommend any as I generally don’t like resellers of any kind in any industry.

Madam Cholet 7:51 am
23 Feb 14
#6

Antagonist said :

tommy said :

Hi. We had some credit with Actew that had built up to a few hundred $. They happily paid it back into the bank account.

+1. Ask and ye shall receive.

As for your second question, the answer is no. There are no other choices for electricity providers in the ACT. ACTEWAGL (or whatever branding they have spent millions of dollars on) have a monopoly here.

I was with another mob some years ago – the main ones in Sydney whose name eludes me this morning. I moved back to Actewagl after that. So I’m not sure your statement is correct.

caf 12:09 am
24 Feb 14
#7

yoyo23 said :

Antagonist said :

As for your second question, the answer is no. There are no other choices for electricity providers in the ACT. ACTEWAGL (or whatever branding they have spent millions of dollars on) have a monopoly here.

Not entirely true Antagonist. Whilst ACTEWAGL have the monopoly on the wholesale market in the ACT, you are free to choose a retail provider. Think of it like the Telstra ADSL back in the day or where you could choose who your STD (that’s long distance calls) provider was – it still used Telstra but would be billed by someone else.

That’s not exactly right either. ActewAGL Retail is one of several retailers licensed to operate in the ACT; ActewAGL Distribution is the only distribution network (obviously – there is only one physical network of wires in the ACT).

Retailers directly purchase electricity through a combination of long-term contracts with generators and short-term purchases on the electricity spot market. The retailer also pays the local distributor on your behalf for connecting you to the network and transporting the electricity across the network to you. So the retailers aren’t just “reselling” electricity from ActewAGL Distribution – they’re onselling electricity from the national market to you, but also paying ActewAL Distribution a cut to cover the cost of the local infrastructure.

Mordd 1:47 am
24 Feb 14
#8

patrick_keogh said :

Well we all hold the readership of the RA in the highest regard, but wouldn’t it have been simpler to just ask ActewAGL to make the refund?

I was hoping to bolster my case before calling them, and as it was the w/end I couldn’t call them so thought it didn’t hurt to ask. It seemed contextual to the second question as well.

Deref said :

“Is ACTEWAGL obligated to refund me the credit amount to my bank account upon request?”

The word you’re looking for is “obliged”.

But yes, I’d think so.

Thanks, we all need to be reminded occasionally of the proper english!

yoyo23 said :

Antagonist said :

As for your second question, the answer is no. There are no other choices for electricity providers in the ACT. ACTEWAGL (or whatever branding they have spent millions of dollars on) have a monopoly here.

Not entirely true Antagonist. Whilst ACTEWAGL have the monopoly on the wholesale market in the ACT, you are free to choose a retail provider. Think of it like the Telstra ADSL back in the day or where you could choose who your STD (that’s long distance calls) provider was – it still used Telstra but would be billed by someone else.

I used Energy Australia for about 4 years. They gave me about 3-5% off electricity and gas for locking me into a 2 year contract. There are heaps of retailers out there, but in my opinion, there isn’t that much they can offer you, and any discount you receive has risks that you will pay more for going outside the terms & conditions.

Mordd, Google something like “electricity provider act” and you can spend time researching other providers, but I can’t recommend any as I generally don’t like resellers of any kind in any industry.

I did a bit of google research and quite quickly got a headache trying to compare complex terms and conditions from one against another, that’s why I was hoping the RA community might be able to save me the headache and point me to someone better, i guess i’ll just stay as is if there really isn’t much difference though.

JC 6:59 am
24 Feb 14
#9

yoyo23 said :

Not entirely true Antagonist. Whilst ACTEWAGL have the monopoly on the wholesale market in the ACT, you are free to choose a retail provider. Think of it like the Telstra ADSL back in the day or where you could choose who your STD (that’s long distance calls) provider was – it still used Telstra but would be billed by someone else.

Not entirely true YoYo. ACTEWAGL have a monopoly on the distribution network, not the wholesale market. What happens is your new provider pays an access fee to ACTEWAGL they then buy your useage from the power generators.

Also slightly different to the telephone market. With the telephone market it isn’t like the old STD arrangements, it is more like where you can now get Optus/iiNET et al to provide your complete service. It is still a Telstra cable connected to a Telstra exchange connecting using Telstra trunks etc, just that your paying a different carrier who in turn is paying Telstra to access their gear. The difference with the STD market is what Telstra would do is route your call to a gateway owned by the carrier of your selection, they would then switch the call on their long distance network before putting it back into Telstra.

PS as for ADSL might surprise you but there are still lots of people (I am one) who have no choice but to use what is essentially a Telstra wholesale service. Most places serviced by a RIM for example, which is most of Gungahlin, though a lot of that now has NBN, where guess the same applies, just change Telstra to NBNCo.

MERC600 4:33 pm
24 Feb 14
#10

While on things leccy. Was surprised to read our new airport terminal and runway lights are powered by a couple of gas turbines during peak daylight consumption times.

They had to have backup power anyway, but by installing a larger system , which they had to fork out big bucks, they say they can still save cash.

Not sure if that includes some of the 101 office blocks as well.
I don’t know if ACTEW would be all that impressed.

Sandman 5:36 pm
24 Feb 14
#11

MERC600 said :

While on things leccy. Was surprised to read our new airport terminal and runway lights are powered by a couple of gas turbines during peak daylight consumption times.

They had to have backup power anyway, but by installing a larger system , which they had to fork out big bucks, they say they can still save cash.

Not sure if that includes some of the 101 office blocks as well.
I don’t know if ACTEW would be all that impressed.

I’m sure Terry Snow would shove a small nuclear reactor out there if he thought he could get away with it.
The gas turbines make perfect sense though. Why not have your own power plant at peak times when you have that many buildings to service.

madscientist 6:50 pm
24 Feb 14
#12

MERC600 said :

While on things leccy. Was surprised to read our new airport terminal and runway lights are powered by a couple of gas turbines during peak daylight consumption times.

They had to have backup power anyway, but by installing a larger system , which they had to fork out big bucks, they say they can still save cash.

Not sure if that includes some of the 101 office blocks as well.
I don’t know if ACTEW would be all that impressed.

Actually, ACTEW would probably have given them some sort of subsidy to do so. Peak power demand during the day costs providers big dollars, so if big users reduce their peak load (for example with gas cogeneration), the distributor can avoid having to make network augmentations which don’t get used for most of the time.

In regards to finding a cheaper provider – good luck with that. The ACT already has the cheapest power in the country (see this report http://www.aemc.gov.au/Media/docs/2013-Residential-Electricity-Price-Trends-Final-Report-723596d1-fe66-43da-aeb6-1ee16770391e-0.PDF)- there’s not much of an inflated retail margin for other providers to “discount” for you.

dungfungus 9:12 am
25 Feb 14
#13

Sandman said :

MERC600 said :

While on things leccy. Was surprised to read our new airport terminal and runway lights are powered by a couple of gas turbines during peak daylight consumption times.

They had to have backup power anyway, but by installing a larger system , which they had to fork out big bucks, they say they can still save cash.

Not sure if that includes some of the 101 office blocks as well.
I don’t know if ACTEW would be all that impressed.

I’m sure Terry Snow would shove a small nuclear reactor out there if he thought he could get away with it.
The gas turbines make perfect sense though. Why not have your own power plant at peak times when you have that many buildings to service.

Big bucks are to be made by selling generated electricty to the grid in peak demand times.
I know of some large industries who will sell their forward allocation back to the grid in preference to having a production run if the price is right.
Hydro generators are buying off-peak electricity (from coal powered stations) to pump water up hill to storage so they can sell “hydro” power in peak demand times at a premium price.

Mordd 2:08 am
28 Feb 14
#14

Just to follow up on this, I called ACTEWAGL, and after one of the most frustrating and insulting calls to a customer service rep I have experienced in a long time, I had them cancel the direct debit arrangement, refund me the credited amount, and informed them they had lost a customer thanks to their attitude.

Then I called Energy Australia after a lot more googling for alternative options and they were able to take over the service provision at a cheaper rate than I had previously been getting and were more than happy to take my money instead and provide top notch customer service while doing so. So good riddance ACTEWAGL you won’t be getting my money ever again. Thanks all for your comments.

Follow
Follow The RiotACT
Get Premium Membership
Advertisement
The-RiotACT.com Newsletter Sign Up

Images of Canberra

Advertisement
Sponsors
RiotACT Proudly Supports
Advertisement
Copyright © 2014 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.