Electricity and Gas in Queensland
With regards to electricity and gas, Queensland residents are divided into two regions; those living in South East Queensland who enjoy full retail contestability, and those living in rural and regional Queensland who have their electricity and gas regulated through the government and supplied to them by Ergon Energy. To find out how Queensland residents get their electricity and gas supplied to their houses, as well as find out information about average energy usage in the state and government rebates and concessions for residents, continue reading below.
History of the energy market in Queensland
Queensland is part of the National Electricity Market (NEM), which consists of all the various actors, infrastructure, and regulating bodies involved in energy generation, retail, and distribution. The NEM first began in 1998 and consists of not only Queensland, but also New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria, the ACT, and Tasmania.
Queensland introduced full retail contestability for residents living in Brisbane and the surrounding region in July of 2016, allowing those who lived there to choose and switch between energy providers. However, those outside of South East Queensland still have their energy retailed and distributed to them through historic energy provider, Ergon Energy, which was an agreement made to prevent regional and rural energy prices from increasing exponentially.
Default Market Offer (DMO) in Queensland
While shopping around and comparing energy plans, you’ve probably noticed the “reference price” mentioned. The reference price, or Default Market Offer (DMO) is a price set by the government to protect and inform consumers. The DMO has two main functions:
- To protect consumers from exponential energy prices if they choose not to engage with the energy market and instead remain on the Standing Offer. While the Standing Offer doesn’t necessarily offer the cheapest energy rates on the market it does prevent energy providers from charging you more if you don’t qualify for, or choose not to subscribe to, a discounted Market Offer.
- To inform consumers about energy plan prices and how much less (or in some instances more) expensive an energy retailers market offer is, compared to the standard offer. This is often shown as “X% off the Reference Price” in the details about an energy providers electricity plan.
In Queensland, only those in the South East of the state have the Reference Price. If you’re in rural or regional Queensland, your prices are already set by the government.
According to the Australian Energy Regulator, Queensland energy customers could save approximately $118 per year by switching from the government Standing Offer to a retailers Market Offer
Average energy bills in Queensland
In recent years, energy bills across Australia have risen at alarming rates and it’s no different in Queensland. In 2019, the average electricity bill for Queensland residents has shot up to over $1,700, and households with a pool can be expected to spend even more. However, there is some good news. The AEMC has set energy prices to fall by 7% in 2020 in Queensland thanks to the reopening of a large gas turbine in Ipswich.
If you’re looking to reduce your average electricity and gas costs in Queensland, there are plenty of energy saving measures you can implement as well, to keep your bills low.
- Insulate your home: Make sure windows and doors are sealed, hire someone to install insulation, and/or add insulated curtains to your windows
- Purchase an energy efficient reverse-cycle air conditioner: These are among the most efficient types of dual air conditioners/heaters, and by ensuring it has a high star energy efficiency rating, you’ll keep your energy bills lower during those hot summers and cold winters
- Purchase energy efficient appliances: Replace your old appliances with energy efficient replacements, which will save you more down the line than opting for the cheapest model
- Unplug: Unplug things that don’t need to be plugged in when you’re not using them. These energy vampires can sap the electricity from your home, even when they’re not in use, simply by being plugged in. This includes phones and computers at 100% charge, hair dryers or curlers, and microwaves
Energy rebates and concessions in Queensland
The Queensland government has a number of rebates and concessions residents may be eligible for. Eligibility requirements vary between concessions and rebates. Concessions and rebates in Queensland include:
- Life support rebate for Queensland residents who use a medically necessary oxygen concentrator or kidney dialysis machine
- Electricity and gas rebate for pensioners and seniors, of up to $340.85 per year for electricity and $73.60 per year for gas
- Medical heating and cooling rebate of up to $340.85 per year for Queensland residents with a medical condition with temperature-dependent symptoms
- Home Energy Emergency Assistance Scheme for residents experiencing sudden financial hardship with one-off assistance of up to $720 once every 2 years
Energy providers in SE Queensland
Residents in South East Queensland enjoy the ability to choose their energy provider, and have a number of options to choose from. Below are a selection of energy providers who retail in places such as Brisbane, Ipswich, Toowoomba, the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast. For customers in regional Queensland, however, Ergon Energy is both your energy provider and distributor.
|Provider name||Fuel type available|
|DC Power Co||Electricity|
Ergon Energy: The historic energy provider in Queensland
Ergon Energy is the historic, government-owned energy provider and distributor for Queensland and the only provider for those living in the rural and regional parts of the state. Prior to 2016, customers in South East Queensland who left Ergon Energy were not able to come back if they switched to a different energy provider. Now, however, even if you left Ergon Energy, you can return.
For rural and regional customers, Ergon Energy is not only their energy provider, but also their energy distributor and the one to call in case of emergency or outage. If you’re a rural Ergon Energy customer, their emergency numbers are:
- 13 22 96 for Ergon Energy’s 24/7 emergency contact number
- 13 60 70 for tingles or shocks from an appliance or water taps, available 24/7
Energy distributors in Queensland
While you purchase your energy from an energy provider, it’s your energy distributor who makes sure your house is supplied with the gas and electricity you purchase. Energy distributors are in charge of maintaining and repairing the electricity and gas lines, and in the event of an emergency or power outage, they are the ones to call.
While Ergon Energy is the historic energy provider and distributor, Queensland residents might have their electricity distributed to them by Energex, and their gas distributed by Allgas Energy or Australian Gas Networks.
|Service District||Emergency Number||General Number|
|Ergon Energy (owned by Energy Queensland Limited)||Country & regional QLD||132 296||131 046|
|Energex||Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast & surrounds||Faults: 136 262
Emergencies: 131 962
|Service District||Emergency Number||General Number|
|Allgas Energy||South of the Brisbane River, South Coast, Toowoomba & Oakey||1300 763 106||07 3215 6600|
|Australian Gas Networks (QLD)||Queensland||Gas leak:1800 GAS LEAK
Fault1800 898 220
|1300 001 001|