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Ask RiotACT: best (and cheapest) utilities in Canberra

By chrysalis - 7 March 2016 10

Ask RiotACT

Hello, have you lived here for a while? Can you give me, a newcomer to the area, any opinions about which electricity company offers the cheapest rates?   The place I am moving into has electric wall heaters as the only heating option for the approaching chilly winter. I’m just trying to get an idea of how much I’ll be up for in winter heating bills.

Any help is appreciated.

 

What’s Your opinion?


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10 Responses to
Ask RiotACT: best (and cheapest) utilities in Canberra
greenbamboo 10:12 am 31 Aug 16

your best bet would be ACTEWAGL

dungfungus 9:28 am 08 Mar 16

rommeldog56 said :

dungfungus said :

Is it correct to say that as the supply of ACTEW’s renewables becomes a bigger portion of supply to ACT residents the price will increase commensurately?
That being the case can “conscientious objectors” choose to get power from another supplier who will have cheaper, mainly coal generated electricity?

No – ACTEWAGL advised me that customers will have no choice but to pay the higher “green” electricity charges. Its not “optional”.

If the alternate electricity providers do not adopt the same “Green” pricing structure, it will be very interesting to see how many customers electricity customers ACTEWAGL lose. If I were running a commercial business where cost of inputs was important, I would certainly go to the cheapest most suitable electricity provider. As will many pensioners, self funded retirees, the disabled, aged, etc.

ACTEWAGL pays a “dividend” or a return/fee to the ACT Government. So, is it any wonder that the ACT Gov’t has chosen mot to provide better incentives to homeowners and developers to install their own solar power (to the level of self sufficiency) and has followed the “green” energy solution through ACTEWAGL !!!

Now, I wonder how much all our electricity bill really will increase……..

If the increases in water supply charges is an benchmark then we will be buying more blankets.
It is time for the government to sell ACTEW – they had a chance a number of years ago but declined.
There is no way it can continue to exist in a genuine competitive market especially with the amount of debt it is carrying. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-12-20/review-recommends-actew-water-energy-services-be-split/5170062

rommeldog56 7:49 am 08 Mar 16

dungfungus said :

Is it correct to say that as the supply of ACTEW’s renewables becomes a bigger portion of supply to ACT residents the price will increase commensurately?
That being the case can “conscientious objectors” choose to get power from another supplier who will have cheaper, mainly coal generated electricity?

No – ACTEWAGL advised me that customers will have no choice but to pay the higher “green” electricity charges. Its not “optional”. If the alternate electricity providers do not adopt the same “Green” pricing structure, it will be very interesting to see how many customers electricity customers ACTEWAGL lose. If I were running a commercial business where cost of inputs was important, I would certainly go to the cheapest most suitable electricity provider. As will many pensioners, self funded retirees, the disabled, aged, etc.

ACTEWAGL pays a “dividend” or a return/fee to the ACT Government. So, is it any wonder that the ACT Gov’t has chosen mot to provide better incentives to homeowners and developers to install their own solar power (to the level of self sufficiency) and has followed the “green” energy solution through ACTEWAGL !!!

Now, I wonder how much all our electricity bill really will increase……..

wildturkeycanoe 6:29 am 08 Mar 16

arescarti42 said :

-Depending on your needs, use a radiant heater (e.g. the ones with the glowing bars) rather than the panel heaters. They’re not any more efficient (unlike reverse cycle), but because they direct it directly on you rather than heating up the air/furniture and other things in your house, they use less electricity (e.g. you could be as comfortable sitting in front of a 500w radiant heater as you would be with a 2400w wall heater heating up the whole room).

-Rug up and avoid heating as much as possible.

I second the advice to ditch the electric wall furnace, the most expensive form of heating next to gas wall furnaces. You may well save the entire cost of installing a small split system in your first winter power bill, as wall heaters can really chew up the electrons and not even warm up the house. They also can be fire hazards if flammable clothing is left in front of the outlet or if the dust inside isn’t cleaned out once in a while.
Heavy block-out curtains also help to keep the cold out and the heat in, plus using the windows to vent out heat and bring in the cool night-time air.

arescarti42 10:05 pm 07 Mar 16

ActewAGL is the only distributor of electricity and gas in the ACT – other companies just sell their services. As such connection and usage charges will be pretty much the same, but each will give different discounts for direct debit/bundling etc. Origin was doing a $100 grocery voucher a few months back, which was the best deal when I last moved house.

As for your electric wall heaters, unfortunately the reality is they’re probably going to be very expensive to run. My suggestions are:

-Install reverse cycle air conditioning if you can (25-30% of the cost to run)

-If you’re likely to be using them most at peak times (i.e. 7am-9am and 5pm-8pm) then get a fixed rate electricity plan, rather than a time of use plan

-Depending on your needs, use a radiant heater (e.g. the ones with the glowing bars) rather than the panel heaters. They’re not any more efficient (unlike reverse cycle), but because they direct it directly on you rather than heating up the air/furniture and other things in your house, they use less electricity (e.g. you could be as comfortable sitting in front of a 500w radiant heater as you would be with a 2400w wall heater heating up the whole room).

-Rug up and avoid heating as much as possible.

MrPC 5:55 pm 07 Mar 16

If using electric heating, consider going onto a time of use plan. That may involve getting a new power meter installed. Coal fired power is ridiculously cheap overnight and on weekends, and there is a lot of solar power around that will eventually make power cheap mid morning til early afternoon too.

If you can keep your power usage low on weekday evenings when power is expensive, you feel a lot more free to burn through the power at other times with impunity – like firing up electric heaters on timer switches from 2am til 6am when it’s actually cold.

Southmouth 3:08 pm 07 Mar 16

Your choice is not so much which supplier but more cold or poor.

dungfungus 2:44 pm 07 Mar 16

csdaly said :

I can depend on the amount of electricity you use and type of household. You could try the comparator on the Australian Energy Regulator’s site (http://www.aer.gov.au/consumers/switching-retailers). ACTEW has been and continues to be quite dominant in the ACT market. Market dominance can impact the level of price competition.

Is it correct to say that as the supply of ACTEW’s renewables becomes a bigger portion of supply to ACT residents the price will increase commensurately?
That being the case can “conscientious objectors” choose to get power from another supplier who will have cheaper, mainly coal generated electricity?

wildturkeycanoe 2:43 pm 07 Mar 16

They all make wonderful promises if you sign up on a contract for certain term, pay your bill on time or direct debit regularly. Price wise per kWh they would be pretty much the same so it is probably best to ring around and see who can get you the best package. I don’t know if Actew still do bundle discounts as the water branch is now a separate entity.
Actually, looking just then the only option you have is Energy Australia [terrible reviews], Origin [slightly better but still bad reviews] or Actew. You can’t look up prices without entering details on their website unfortunately so you have to do the legwork yourself.

csdaly 1:30 pm 07 Mar 16

I can depend on the amount of electricity you use and type of household. You could try the comparator on the Australian Energy Regulator’s site (http://www.aer.gov.au/consumers/switching-retailers). ACTEW has been and continues to be quite dominant in the ACT market. Market dominance can impact the level of price competition.

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