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Electricity Markets in Australia: A 2021 Guide


Electricity is a hot-button topic in Australia, with lots of disagreement. Stick with coal, or go full-steam on renewables? Tap gas reserves or leave them alone? There are hours of news and views and politics galore, but one thing we can all agree on is that we Aussies are paying too much for power. If you’re an Australian consumer, you’re living in one of the world’s most expensive power markets.

So, it’s understandable if you’re groaning every time you open your power bill. But there’s a bit of good news. In recent years, the electricity market has become more competitive, so there are often newer, better deals out there. On top of that, there’s been government pressure on electricity market misconduct. Combined with a drop in wholesale electricity prices, this means more reason than ever to compare electricity providers in Australia.

With that in mind, here’s a brief rundown of electricity markets in the major states of Australia.

NSW Electricity Market

In NSW, electricity has been deregulated (i.e. privatised) since 2002, when Full Retail Competition was introduced; they also now have price deregulation, meaning retailers are free to set their prices. This means that NSW electricity providers compete for market share, motivating them to provide better service at a lower price. In total, there are over 30 NSW electricity providers; some of the prominent names are:

Red Energy
Alinta Energy
Dodo Power & Gas
Click Energy
Energy Australia
Origin Energy

The AEMC finds NSW residents switching from the Default Market Offer to the minimum market offer can save up to $470.

VIC Electricity Market

Full Retail Competition was introduced in VIC in the same year as NSW. VIC was also the first market to embrace price deregulation (in 2009). Victoria now boasts 24 electricity providers; explore Electricity Providers Victoria for details.

So, what does the AEMC find for this market? Switching to the minimum offer can reap savings of up to $330.

QLD Electricity Market

This is the cheapest market for electricity and is expected to fall by another 14% by FY22. In 2020, the average Queenslander spent only $1,367 on their annual electricity bill.

Regional QLD is still a regulated market, meaning consumers there can’t choose their electricity provider: they’re automatic with Ergon Energy. Instead, they receive a government subsidy to make sure they’re not paying more than South East Queensland (SEQ) residents. However, SEQ residents have an impressive 22 electricity providers to choose from! For the list, head to Electricity Providers QLD.

SEQ only deregulated its power market in 2016, and many QLD residents are still on default market offers. The AEMC estimates they can save up to $289 by switching to the cheapest plan.

SA Electricity Market

This is the most expensive Australian electricity market, with the average South Australian paying a whopping $1,759. On the upside, SA is leading the way in renewable power generation, and was powered by 60% renewables last year; also, by FY22, electricity prices are expected to fall overall by 11%.

SA residents who switch from the default market offer can save an impressive $442! For details, visit Electricity Providers SA.

That’s a wrap! So, don’t want to pay more for power than you have to? Energy comparison is an easy way to understand what’s available, at a glance. Remember, it’s not just about the dollar value quoted; read the fine print, and make sure that the contract conditions are right for how you use power. Want to know more? Visit Econnex’s robust energy comparison tool and see if you can find a better deal.

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