Reliable and affordable energy

Canberra  households and businesses enjoy some of the lowest electricity tariffs in Australia.  We also enjoy some of most reliable electricity and gas supplies in the country.
Ensuring we continue  to have safe, reliable and affordable energy supplies is a key outcome of the  ACT Sustainable Energy Policy. The Environment and Planning Directorate develops and implements  initiatives to support the policy.

Improving competition and consumer choice

The ACT’s  electricity and gas markets are open to competition. This gives consumers the  option to choose their electricity and gas retailer and a plan that best suits  their needs.
To find out what  electricity and gas offers are in your area and whether you’re on the best  offer, visit Energy Made Easy.

The Energy  Made Easy website provides an independent comparison service between energy  plans and fact sheets for individual electricity and gas offers. Don’t forget  to check out the energy price fact sheets before you enter a contract. The fact  sheets provide important information on contracts, including length of time,  tariffs, fees and discounts.

Price protection

While retailers  offer different electricity plans, the ACT Government protects you, as a  customer, by requiring the Territory’s largest electricity retailer to offer electricity  services at a price regulated by the Independent Competition and Regulatory  Commission.

You can  choose this default plan but should only do so after comparing retailer  offers through Energy  Made Easy before signing a contract. This will  confirm if the default plan is the cheapest and best for your needs.

Price  regulation is effective while developing a competitive market. Over the long  term, consumers will enjoy greater benefits and lower prices through increased market  competition and innovation. When the market is competitive enough to keep  prices down, the ACT Government will  remove electricity price regulation.

Lowering bills by improving energy  efficiency

Actsmart is the ACT Government’s  sustainability hub. If runs free programs for households, schools, community  groups and businesses to help reduce energy, water and waste consumption. Actsmart  also provides free information, tools, guidance and other support, including  education sessions.

B esides  lowering your bills, reducing your energy use and waste help the environment  and makes our community a better place to live.

Households  can also save money through the Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme by contacting their electricity retailer to discuss how to save money  by reducing energy use. The ACT Government requires retailers to roll out  energy efficiency activities, such as replacing inefficient halogen down lights  with efficient and money-saving LED lights (a free program). The scheme benefits  low-income households, by requiring retailers to direct at least 20% of their  activities for these households.

Energy concessions

Certain households  are eligible for an energy concession through the ACT Government. These  households can get an annual rebate for electricity and gas ($338.21 in 2015–16).  Apply for an  annual rebate of up to $426.46 to assist with utility bills, including water,  gas and electricity.

Contact your  retailer to see if you’re eligible for the Energy Concession. The  concession is administered by the Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic  Development Directorate.

Complaints and consumer protections

As a  consumer, you may have an issue that you need your energy provider to address,  such as a special need or a complaint. Contact your energy provider if you:

  • aren’t happy with your service.
  • are in financial stress and finding it hard to pay your bills
  • have a medical condition and need an uninterrupted supply of energy.

The ACT  Government’s National Energy Customer Framework requires electricity and gas retailers and distributors to treat customers  fairly and reasonably.
If your  retailer doesn’t respond to your concerns, or to your satisfaction, contact the ACT  Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Under the  National Energy Customer Framework, the Tribunal is the ombudsman for  electricity and gas utility services in the ACT.

National energy market and energy market  reform program

The ACT is  part of Australia’s interconnected national electricity and gas markets. Jurisdictions  across the country work together in the best interest of consumers, including  through common laws and frameworks. Common markets help promote competition.  They also reduce inefficient barriers to participating in the relatively small ACT  market.

The Council  of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Council oversees and governs the  national electricity and gas markets. The Council has energy ministers from  each jurisdiction, including the ACT. The Environment and Planning Directorate advises  on ACT participation and how the Territory’s energy market links with the national  market.

The  Environment and Planning Directorate is develops and implements national and  local energy market reforms. These reforms improve consumer protection and  lower prices by:

  • promoting competition
  • fairly representing consumers in energy  market processes
  • facilitating new products and  technologies
  • reducing regulatory burden on industry.

Significant  reforms include implementing the National Energy Customer Framework and establishing Energy  Consumers Australia. The ACT Government and other  jurisdictions have also made changes on economic regulation of electricity  networks. These reforms have resulted in lower electricity prices for consumers.

More  information on the national energy market and energy market reform program: COAG Energy Council.

Second electricity connection point

While the  ACT generates some of its own electricity, most of our electricity comes from  the National  Electricity Market.Our

connection to the national grid is secure  and modern. Still, the Government wants to improve the resilience and security  of our supply further. This is why it has approved the construction of a second  electricity connection point at Williamsdale, a  village on the New South Wales – ACT border. This is under construction.

Emergency management, safety and technical  regulation

The  Environment and Planning Directorate’s Director General is also the ACT’s Chief  Technical Regulator for utilities. Effective technical regulation of energy utilities ensures our power system is reliable and safe, for users and staff who  deliver these services.Environment and Planning Directorate also advises  Government on potential or actual interruptions to our electricity and gas  supplies and plans for and coordinates energy emergencies.