The best electricity providers in Canberra

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girl looking at ipad in front of electricity panel

Who are the best electricity providers in Canberra? Photo: File.

Electricity sure is a wonderous thing. With the first Australian public building lit by electricity around 1879, it now permeates the very fabric of Canberra living. So taken for granted is it’s use, that we often only realise the value of electricity when the power is out.

Indeed, there are many circumstances that trigger an investigative response into electrical providers. You may have recently installed solar, completed a build or renovation, moved house, or simply desire a better deal. Either way, this mission can cause angst amongst even the most seasoned utility hunters.

Anyone who has attempted to properly understand their bill will know this well. There can be tariffs, upon tariffs, a myriad of peaks periods, and rate changes all through the quarter. There are different metres, feed ins for solar, and a plethora of ways to receive a bill and pay.

The truth is it is not rocket science. You just need to know where to look. And, with protection offered by industry regulation within the ACT, all you need to do is research and negotiate well. So, who are the best electricity providers in Canberra? We have featured the best in show below.

What makes a great electricity provider?

Great electricity providers do more than keep the lights on. They power the needs of today, while planning for the needs of tomorrow. Here are a few measures to help assess energy providers:

  • Terrific tariffs. While residents of the ACT benefit from regulated ceiling prices, gains can be made when selecting a tariff. A tariff is effectively the way that energy supply is priced and charged. Tariffs include a combination of fixed and variable costs based on consumption. A great way to snare the best tariff is to consider your individual household needs. As a general guide, low usage households may benefit most from low daily supply rates. High usage households however often benefit from low usage rates, as these constitute a sizable chunk of total costs. Therefore, consider your household energy expenditure and hunt for the best tariff accordingly. Note that metre type does play a role in your ability to extract a deal in this area. In some instances, it may be worth considering upgrading to capture long term savings.
  • The right plans. The supply of electricity to a property comes with a contractual agreement between property owner and provider. These contracts, or plans, cater to typical energy consumption habits for given consumer segments. The reality is that no two customers are truly alike, so find a plan that best represents you. To do this, look at the bigger picture. Consider everything from rates per kwh, to supply charges, through to fees like billing, payment type or late payment. Moreover, consider the contract duration, contract terms, and things like establishment or cancellation costs. Then, consider incentives.
  • Customer benefits. To keep customers honest, some providers offer various incentives to customers. Advertised incentives can take the form of things like discounts and bill credits. Other incentives may be offered for integrating solar systems or combining products like gas. Digging deeper, some providers may offer incentives for direct debit or paperless communication. Much like tariffs, consider your needs and elect to review those that are most valuable to you. One point to keep in mind is that some discounts appear great, however may come with higher charges elsewhere. Always review from top to bottom to get the full picture.
  • Super service. Anyone who has spent more than twenty minutes on hold will value what super customer service offers. Ditto for sketchy call centre phone lines, or the inability to get back to the person handling your case. So, given the investment made into powering our properties find a provider that puts you first. Look for a glowing reputation, happy past customers, and fewer complaints. Even test it out; make a call as an existing and prospective customer and assess your experience.
  • Renewable sourcing. Electricity consumption can be a double-edged sword for the environmentally conscious. On one hand it is a vital service to powering any property, on the other it impacts our planet. Indeed, many of us have integrated solar into our homes and businesses for this exact reason. While it certainly helps, it may not cover all electrical expenditure. So, when shopping around for electricity consider how your provider sources it. Some retailers are investing quite heavily into renewable energy assets, while others not so much. Indeed, many providers even open the door allowing customers to elect the portion of their supply that comes from renewable energy. GreenPower is a great reference point to begin your exploration on renewables. After all, renewable sourcing is money well spent.

The best electricity providers in Canberra

RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.

To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.

EnergyAustralia

As one of Australia’s largest energy providers, EnergyAustralia offering a variety of natural gas and electricity plans to over 1.7 million customers nationally. Their portfolio of generating sites include thermal coal, natural gas, hydro-electric, solar, and wind power.

EnergyAustralia promote simple pricing and straightforward plans, with extra value offered for both electric and gas customers. Moreover, their award-winning customer service features a simple online sign-up process and digital account access.

Renewables and energy efficiency are a key focus, offering customers 100% carbon offset power at not additional cost.

Catherine from QLD had this to say in a customer survey, “Super easy process and very competitive pricing.”

Origin Energy

With over 4 million customers nationally, Origin Energy is one of Australia’s largest integrated electrical and gas providers. Services include not only in electricity and gas but also solar and energy-efficient product options.

Origin Energy offer a range of benefits including an extensive range of energy plans, online account management, flexible payment options, no lock-in contracts or exit fees, simple sign up and next business day connection.

As a GreenPower accredited business they also offer energy options to both large and small businesses.

ActewAGL

Canberra-born ActewAGL is a local energy provider boasting a 100 year plus history in the ACT community. Their all-inclusive energy spans electrical, gas, and solar.

Combining traditional customer service with state-of-the-art products, ActewAGL offers the best of both worlds. Great plans, competitive pricing and flexible payment options are just the start of benefits offered.

Moreover, as a GreenPrower accredited provider ActewAGL’s Greenchoice product allows customers to elect the portion of power sourced from renewables.

Martine P had this to say on Google, “Have been a customer for years, ActewAGL is a terrific supporter of the Canberra community.”

Energy Locals

Newcomer Energy Locals have built a reputation for flipping the traditional provider model on its head. Their focus is on value pricing strategy coupled with clean energy. They charge a fixed membership fee with access to wholesale electricity prices. Moreover, Energy Locals buy carbon offsets to the value of all energy used.

Energy Locals stand apart from the crowd operating not just as an energy provider, but also as a social enterprise. Customers can elect to donate a portion of rates charged toward an organisation of their choosing, such as Starlight Children’s Foundation or the Cancer Council but to name a few. Currently Energy Locals provide electricity only.

David Craig shared his experience with Energy Locals on Google, “Great electricity company, offering 100% Carbon offset at a very competitive price.”

ReAmped Energy

New local market entrant ReAmped Energy is an independent electricity provider operating in several markets across Australia. Their point of difference is structured around simplicity, both in terms of pricing and contracts. As such, they boast low prices minus conditional discounts along with no lock-in contracts.

ReAmped Energy cater to solar and provide renewable sourcing options up to 100% of the total bill. As a primarily digital business core communications are managed online and via app. Currently ReAmped Energy supplies electricity only.

MLS shared this great review on Google, “I’ve had my account with ReAmped for almost 2 years and I’ve always found them helpful. Their app is great, their payment options are flexible and you can do almost anything yourself online….”

If you’re looking to add solar check out our articles on the best solar panel installers and the best commercial solar installers in Canberra.

Should you require electrical services for your home check out our articles on the best electricians, the best air conditioning services, and the best home automation system installers in the region.

Your experience with electricity providers in Canberra

Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.

Have you had experience with any of the electricity providers listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do energy tariffs work?
Your tariff is the amount charged for providing energy under your contract and typically includes both fixed and variable charges. The fixed charge, sometimes called a supply or service charge, is a set sum charged either by day or over the billing period. This essentially covers the energy suppliers cost of supplying energy to your premises. The variable charge is amount paid for each unit of electricity used per billing cycle. It is usually listed as cents per kilowatt hour (c/kWh). Different variable charges may apply to a single bill based on factors like time of day and season. If in doubt, contact your energy supplier for further information.
What are the biggest drains on energy supply in the home?
When it comes to energy zappers there are a few key aspects that come with running a home that place pressure on energy consumption. The biggest drain is often from cooling and heating, either of the home itself, a pool, or hot water system. Next comes refrigeration, and appliances like clothes dryers, washing machines, dishwashers, and televisions.
Can I change my energy retailer?
You most certainly can! While the ACT benefits from a regulated energy industry it does not hurt to shop around to see what other benefits you may be able to harness to either lower price or improve value.
How can I find a better electricity plan?
The best way to start is by assessing your recent electrical bills. Check these to get an idea of the general usage rates and supply rates, any discounts factored in, along with the in-feed tariff for solar owners. Next, compare your existing framework with other options out in the market. Energy Made Easy is a free Australian Government price compassion service what is worth reviewing as part of this step https://www.energymadeeasy.gov.au/. Finally, contact your supplier and ask what they will be prepared to offer to retain you as a client. Be sure to investigate any options provided in further detail before making a commitment.
What type of electricity metre is best?
There are generally three types of electricity metres around: accumulation, interval, and smart metres. Accumulation metres measure how much energy has been used by a property. They are unable to discern what was used when and are read manually by calculating the difference between periods. Interval metres record electricity consumption every 30 minutes with data extracted by a metre read. Smart metres are the latest technology available, recording consumption every 30 minutes and sending data directly to the distributor. As for best, smart readers are most certainly the way to go for any newly installed projects.

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11 Responses to The best electricity providers in Canberra
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rocket17 rocket17 10:19 am 17 Sep 21

We’ve been with ActewAGL 9 years and were originally getting 18.3c per kWh for our solar power generation which matched what we paid them. Now they want to pay us 8c and charge us between 21.95 to 37.43 cents/kWh. We will no longer be a customer of theirs from today. How they are allowed to get away with this pricing is beyond my comprehension.
I’ll diplomatically say, I feel we are being ripped off by them!

greenbamboo greenbamboo 10:12 am 31 Aug 16

your best bet would be ACTEWAGL

dungfungus 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 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 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 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 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 Southmouth 3:08 pm 07 Mar 16

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

dungfungus 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 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 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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