Tariff Guide 2023 - Peak & Off-Peak Electricity Times

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It’s been a long day at work and you’ve just come home to enjoy some Netflix & chill and perhaps also perform other (less enjoyable but nonetheless necessary) household chores. You put some load of washing, make some dinner and get ready to call it a day.

This is a fairly common scenario in most Aussies' households… and it’s likely costing you more money than it should. By understanding how peak & off-peak electricity hours work and applying some clever energy practices, you can potentially reduce your gas & electricity bill rates by 2/3 of their cost.

Which are the best times to save money on my electricity bill? You will find cheaper electricity late at night or early in the morning. These are typically off-peak hours and thus the best times to save money on your electricity bill.

What are Peak & Off-Peak Electricity Times?

(And Why Are They Important?)

Peak and Off-Peak electricity times are the time intervals during a day in which energy consumption is at its highest (peak electricity times) or at its lowest (electricity off-peak hours) and retailers will charge you accordingly. This is how it works:

Peak electricity times:

  • Certain hours of the day when electricity is at its most expensive due to high demand.

This is the time of the day when the grid that provides electricity to millions of Aussies is experiencing high strain. Basically, during peak electricity hours, most people are using power-hungry electronic devices that rely on electricity (Heating, TVs, washing machines, etc.). In peak hours, retailers will increase the charges for electricity based on demand. Peak electricity times vary depending on each state but usually are between 3 pm & 9 pm on weekdays.

Off-peak electricity times:

  • Certain hours of the day when electricity is at its less expensive due to low demand.

Contrary to peak electricity hours, off-peak electricity times experience significantly less demand for energy - this occurs approximately between 10 pm & 7 am, which is generally when everyone is at work, outside of their households or asleep. During off-peak electricity times, energy retailers will charge you lower rates.

Shoulder:

  • The hours of the day between peak & off-peak electricity times.

Finally, shoulder times are the intervals between peak and off-peak electricity times. The energy demand sits somewhere in the middle and charge rates average between low and high prices.

Why You Should Know the Difference Between Peak & Off-Peak Choosing the right type of tariff can make a world of difference. A time of use tariff, for example, will help you save money if you use your appliances during off-peak hours, whereas a single rate tariff will be good for you if your energy habits are those of the average Aussie.

Here is a a Summary Table of Peak & Off-Peak Electricity Time Frames & Energy Demand:

Off-Peak Electricity Time Frames & Energy Demand
Avg. Time of Day (weekdays)Energy DemandCharge Rates
Peak time3 pm - 9 pmHigh
Shoulder7 am - 3 pm & 9 pm - 10 pmMedium
Off-Peak time10 pm - 7 amLow

If you pay for peak & off-peak electricity rates or not will depend on your electricity tariff.

Before Signing Up for a Tariff

Having a proper understanding of peak & peak electricity times will help you better choose your electricity plans and tariffs.

Here is a checklist of everything you should consider before signing up for an electricity plan:

  1. See if your household bound to a specific tariff
  2. See what kind of meter you have
  3. Decide what electricity tariff works best for your energy use habits
  4. Ask the retailer what options they have available for you
  5. Compare the plans from various providers and study what tariffs they include

Tariff Tips Electricity is charged higher or lower depending on the time of day. This is good for some and bad for others. It's important to compare your consumption habits to the hours in the table to see when you use most of your energy. Then see if it may be better to change to a tariff that better aligns with your consumption habits.

Electricity Tariffs - Am I Paying for Peak & Off-Peak Rates?

Whether you pay for peak & off-peak electricity rates or not will depend on your electricity tariff. This is typically not something you can choose as it’s usually determined by the wiring of your home and the type of meter installed.

There are various types of electricity tariffs in Australia. These are the most common:

  1. Single rate tariff
  2. Time of use tariff
  3. Controlled load tariff
  4. Demand tariffs

If you have the option to choose one of the different electricity tariffs you want to pay is a decision you need to make carefully, as every person’s energy use is different and going for a particular tariff that does not properly align with your electricity use will potentially cost you a lot of money.

NOTE: Some tariffs will require you to have a particular type of meter installed or ask you to install a smart meter. When comparing electricity plans, always remember to ask your provider what type of meter the plan needs.

Types of Electricity Tariffs - Which tariff is best for you?

Deciding what tariff works best for you is ultimately up to your energy consumption habits and needs. Let’s explore each electricity tariff a bit deeper and go over their advantages & disadvantages:

Single Rate Tariffs

Single rate tariffs do not consider peak & off-peak electricity times. With a single-rate electricity tariff, you get charged the same amount of money regardless of when you use your appliances. Single rate electricity tariffs are by far the most popular choice for Australians as they are often the most convenient. You will also sometimes hear them referred to as peak, demand, standard or flat rate electricity tariffs.

A single rate tariff is good for you if:

  • You follow the average working schedule, use your appliances during peak times and switch them off during off-peak hours.

Time of Use Tariffs

Time of Use tariffs do just as the name suggests - they charge you differently depending on what time of the day you consume electricity. Here is where peak and off-peak times come into play. If you use your appliances & other power-hungry devices during peak hours, retailers will charge you significantly more than with a single rate tariff. On the other hand, consuming energy during off-peak hours will help you save big money.

A Time use tariff is good for you if:

  • Your schedule is flexible enough to allow you to use your appliances during off-peak electricity times and turn them off during peak electricity hours.

Controlled load tariff

Controlled load electricity tariffs charge the use of large, high-energy appliances that are metered separately from the rest. Some examples of these appliances would include hot water systems, underfloor-heating or pool pumps. These tariffs are great for managing power-hungry systems without having your bill price go off the roof, but the electricity will only be supplied to these appliances for a limited number of hours daily.

A controlled load tariff is good for you if:

  • You have large, power-hungry appliances in your household and use them at the same time every day.

Demand Tariffs

Demand tariffs include both the standard electricity usage plus an extra fee - the “demand” or “capacity” charge. This demand charge is calculated by measuring the maximum energy consumption of all the household appliances at a given period and then added to the standard electricity usage rates. It encourages low-intensity energy use and is typically used in businesses, but lately also in residential households.

A demand tariff is good for you if:

  • You are very conservative with your electricity use. These tariffs usually have significantly lower standard electricity rates.

Peak & Off-Peak Times By State

NSW

Peak: 2pm to 8pm

Shoulder: 7am to 2pm & 8pm to 10pm

Off-Peak: 10pm to 7am

QLD

Peak: 4pm to 8pm

Shoulder: 7am to 4pm & 8pm to 10pm

Off-Peak: 10pm to 7am

VIC

Peak: 3pm to 9pm

Shoulder: 7am to 3pm & 9pm to 10pm

Off-Peak: 12am to 7am & 10pm to 12pm

SA

Peak: 12am to 1am, 6am to 10am & 3pm to 12am

Shoulder: 10am to 3pm

Off-Peak: 1am to 6am

 

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