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.
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.
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.