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The Australian energy market might seem complicated, but Selectra is here to help. How do you choose the best energy provider in Australia? What tariff is right for you? And what exactly is the NEM? Let’s keep reading below to find out more about the energy market as well as different providers for electricity and gas in Australia.
Energy Providers in Australia
With over 114 electricity companies and energy providers in Australia, there are plenty of options to choose from.
Choosing the best energy provider really depends on what you’re looking for. Are you looking for smaller, greener power suppliers or are you looking for big-name power suppliers? Regardless of the one you choose, in Australia, you are sure to have options available.
Types of Energy Providers
The Big Three Energy Providers
"The Big Three" is the nickname for the three biggest power suppliers in Australia.
The Big Three are:
The Big Three energy providers are the largest and most historic energy suppliers in the country. The Big Three control around 65% of the energy market share combined.
However, The Big Three also receive the most complaints and tend to have low customer ratings.
What Are Tier 1 Energy Providers?
Along with The Big Three, a few more energy providers make the cut as Tier 1 power suppliers.
A Tier 1 energy company is any power supplier that holds 10% or more of the market share in any energy network region.
Tier 1 energy providers are:
*Lumo Energy and Red Energy are both owned and operated by Snowy Hydro.
All of these tier 1 power suppliers are well known and hold their own as newer energy companies begin to crowd the market.
What Are Tier 2 Energy Providers?
Tier 2 energy providers include any power supplier that holds less than 10% of the energy market share within a network region.
Oftentimes, Tier 2 energy providers offer more niche energy services such as:
- wholesale energy subscriptions
- 100% carbon neutral energy
- green energy
- community project initiatives
As more and more Power suppliers join the National Electricity Market, Tier 2 providers are becoming an attractive alternative to the big-name energy companies.
Australian Owned Energy Companies
Despite having over 114 electricity companies in Australia, few are actually Australian owned.
There are 21 Australian owned energy companies operating within the country.
Below you'll find a list of all the Australian owned energy companies:
Providers That Bundle Electricity & Gas
Bundling electricity and gas with one provider is often the easier choice. You don’t need to deal with more than one energy provider, and your energy provider gets two services from you. While not every electricity provider also offers natural gas, here are some of the best energy providers offering not only gas plans, but electricity as well. It’s important to remember that not every energy provider offers both gas and electricity plans to every location.
Renewable Energy Companies Australia
Below we have ordered Australia's renewable energy companies from Greenest to least green.
Here is a list of the greenest renewable energy companies in Australia:
- Enova Energy
- Diamond Energy
- Momentum Energy
- Aurora Energy
- Indigo Power
- Energy Locals
- Nectr Energy
- Amber Electric
Biggest Energy Companies in Australia
Here is is a list of the biggest residential energy companies in Australia (by market share):
- Origin Energy - 26.90%
- AGL - 22.70%
- EnergyAustralia - 14.90%
- Ergon Energy - 9.50%
- Alinta Energy - 5.40%
- Red Energy - 5.40%
- Aurora Energy - 3.50%
- ActewAGL - 2.50%
- Simply Energy - 2.0%
- Powershop - 1.0%
- Dodo - 0.90%
- Lumo Energy - 0.70%
- Powerdirect - 0.60%
- Energy Locals - 0.50%
- Sumo Power - 0.50%
- Momentum Energy - 0.40%
- ReAmped Energy - 0.40%
- 1st Energy - 0.40%
- Nectr Energy - 0.40%
- Locality Planning Energy - 0.30%
- Flow Systems - 0.20%
- GloBird Energy - 0.20%
- Metered Energy - 0.20%
- Winenergy - 0.20%
- Altogether Group - 0.20%
- Diamond Energy - 0.20%
- Arc Energy - 0.10%
- CovaU - 0.10%
- Mojo Power - 0.10%
- OVO Energy - 0.10%
- Qenergy - 0.10%
- Tango Energy - 0.10%
- Amber Electric - 0.10%
- Discover Energy - 0.00%
- Enova Energy - 0.00%
The National Electricity Market Explained
The National Electricity Market, or the NEM, is the government-controlled network of energy companies whose supply make up the majority of the Australian energy market. This includes energy generation, energy distribution, and energy consumption.
While the National Electricity Market doesn’t cover the entirety of Australia it does include:
- New South Wales (The ACT is included in the NSW region)
- South Australia
Inside the National Electricity Market, there is full retail contestability.
Full contestability in the energy market means customers are free to compare and switch energy providers at will. This is true across Austria except in regional Queensland where the energy is provided by the government-owned power supplier Ergon Energy).
It’s important to note that not every energy provider offers energy in every part of the NEM. More developed states, like New South Wales, have more choice of energy providers than places like Tasmania or the ACT.
If you live outside of the NEM, you don’t have the same freedom of choice as those who do live within its borders.
While parts of the National Electricity Market have been adopted by the Northern Territory, the limited market share means that there are few energy providers who operate in the NT.
In Western Australia, only natural gas is fully contestable, meaning residents can choose their natural gas provider but not their electricity provider.
What is the Default Market Offer?
When comparing energy plans and switching providers, you’ll often notice the “Default Market Offer”, “DMO”, or “Reference Price” mentioned.
Within the National Electricity Market, the government sets the reference price for each distribution network.
In Victoria, the DMO is called the Victorian Default Offer or VDO.
The Default Market Offer has two main functions within the National Electricity Network:
- To protect customers
- To inform customers
Those who don’t want to engage with the energy market are protected by a cap on how much energy providers can charge you. In other words, the DMO isn’t the cheapest option available on the market, but it acts as a price ceiling for consumers who don’t want to compare energy suppliers, switch, change plans. You can rest assured that you won't be taken advantage of by skyrocketing prices.
The Default market offer also helps inform those who want to compare and switch energy providers to find the cheapest deals.
In this case, the DMO is used as a reference (often shown as X% off the reference price), so customers can have a standardized benchmark to compare their potential savings when they switch to a new provider.
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Different Types of Energy Plan
There are different energy plansavailable through each energy company, which are used to calculate how much your energy bill will be every billing cycle.
Energy plans are also known as energy tariffs. All tariffs are measured with a daily supply charge in cents/day, and usage rates in cents/kWh.
Therefore, the price you pay is a combined price of the daily charge for having energy supplied to your property (even if you arent using energy) and the price per unit or amount of energy used.
Variable tariffs are tariffs in which the usage rate fluctuates.
As the price of wholesale energy goes up, the cost of each unit of electricity you use also goes up. With a variable tariff, the rates can go up or down.
The most common energy tariff is the flat-rate tariff. When comparing electricity plans, the estimated cost and rates will be shown for a single-rate tariff.
With a flat-rate tariff (also known as single-rate tariff or a fixed rate tariff), energy customers are charged a daily supply charge, and one flat usage rate, no matter the time of day or appliance used.
This can often be mistaken for meaning that you pay the same amount each month. This is not the case. The flat-rate tariff means that instead of having a variable price for each unit of energy used that can change throughout the year, you will have the same fixed, or flat, rate for each unit.
The best example of a flat rate tariff is to use the analogy of going to the store to purchase apples where apples represent your energy.
You can eat as many as you like a $1 each, but depending on your consumption you will be charged accordingly (more if you eat more, less if you eat less). However, imagine going to the store and finding that yesterday the apples cost $1, and today they cost $2.
A flat rate agreement can be made so that whenever you visit the store, the apples will always cost you $1. This is the way a single rate energy tariif works. Despite the price of each apple staying fixed, you will still be charged more or less depending on the quantity you consume.
Time-of-use Tariffs have different usage rates throughout the day, depending on when demand on the energy grid is usually high (usually during the evening hours), and low (overnight and weekends).
Most time-of-use tariffs are divided into three usage rates:
- Peak hours
- Off-peak ours
- Shoulder hours
Peak ours are when demand on the grid is high and therefore means your energy rates will be higher. Peak hours are usually during the evenings from Monday to Friday when most people are home from work and cooking, doing laundry, using the television, and other energy-intensive home activities.
Off-peak oursare when demand on the energy grid is low, so rates will be lower. For energy in Australia, off-peak times are usually overnight, on the weekends, or times people are often out of the house, sleeping, and not using much electricity.
Shoulder hours are in between peak and off-peak, such as mornings, afternoons before peak hours, and sometimes on the weekends. Power companies set rates during shoulder hours somewhere between peak hour rates and off-peak rates.
Time-of-use tariff can be a good choice for customers who are more likely to use electricity in their home during off-peak hours. If you work overnights, are more likely to do the laundry overnight or run a dishwasher, or are often out during the evenings, time-of-use might be a good tariff for you. Customers who opt for a time-of-use tariff will need a smart meter to track their energy usage.
Controlled Load Tariffs
A controlled load tariff is used for appliances that run on a separate circuit within your home.
Appliances such as water boilers, electric heaters and pool heaters are charged separately from the rest of your household’s energy usage. They often run overnight or during off-peak hours which allows the individual usage rate for these appliances to be lower.
How to Switch Energy Providers in Australia
Since the deregulation of the National Electricity Market, switching energy providers is easier than ever.
In fact, customers can compare electricity and gas plans online, and switch directly through their chosen provider's website, bu calling them, or using a comparison service like Selectra to make the switch for you.
You will most need to provide a valid form of ID and consent to a credit check in order to get the best energy rates available. Once you sign up with your new energy provider, they will take charge of contacting your old provider and letting them know you’ve switched.
Your old provider will take a final meter reading, and send you a final energy bill. After that, you will have been switched to your chosen new energy provider.
When you switch energy providers, you don’t need to worry about losing access to electricity and gas in your house during the switch. As your distributor is the one actually providing energy to your house, your energy service will not be cut out while you transfer to a new provider.
You also don’t need to worry about paying to switch providers. Unless you are fully disconnecting/reconnecting due to moving house or developing a new property, in which case there will probably be an additional fee involved, there is no cost to switching energy providers.
The Best Electricity Providers in Australia
Choosing the best electricity provider in Australia is really a personal choice. For some, that might be the cheapest electricity plan available, while for others they might think it’s getting the most return on the solar panels, or having great customer service.
Below you will find our rankings for some of the best electricity providers in Australia by looking at different criteria from across the web. It’s important to remember when comparing electricity plans and providers that not every provider is available in every state, and the plans they do have available might differ.
- Here is a summary of the best providers in Australia:
- Greenest: Diamond Energy
- Best Customer Service: Diamond Energy
- Customer Top Rated: CovaU Energy
- Best Solar Feed-in Tariff: OVO Energy
- Best Dual Fuel Energy Providers - By State
Choose from the drop-down list below to view more about this year's winners!
Greenest Energy Provider: Diamond Energy
If you’re looking for the greenest energy provider in Australia, then Diamond Energy is an energy provider to consider. Since the Summer 2022 and the closure of Enova energy, Diamond Energy has moved from second place to first place becoming Australia’s greenest energy provider. This ranking is fact-checked and vetted thanks to GreenPeace’s 2022 Green Electricity Guide.
Diamond Energy ranks top among green providers thanks to its transparency and scored 100% on all of the categories and ranking criteria set out by Greenpeace. Here's a quick overview.
- GreenPeace’s Greenest Electricity Provider in 2022
- Generates 100% renewable energy vía solar power
- Continued investment in Australian reneawbles
- Strong supporter of solar power for homes & private residences
- Does not participate in fossil fuel extractions.
Diamond Energy is available in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, & South Australia.
Best Electricity Company by Customer Service: Diamond Energy
Not only is Diamond Energy the greenest energy company in Australia as we have just read above, but they are also consistently ranked as one of the best energy providers for customer service and complaints according to the Australian Energy Regulator annual Retail Markets Report.
According to the AER, Diamond Energy is one of the least-complained about energy providers in Australia, with less than 1% of their 9,478 customers making a complaint about the energy company. This score is based off of a 5 year trend of low customer complaints which is the reason it's beat out other companies for this spot. In addition to low complain numbers, Diamond Energy proves year-after-year to have some of the best customer service in terms of percentage of calls taken in under 30 seconds.
|AER Report Year||Number of Complaints||Complaints as a Percentage of Customers|
Source: AER Retail Market Reports (2021-2022 Q3) & AER Retail Market Reports (2015-2016 to 2019-2021).
|AER Report Year||Percentage of Calls Taken Within 30 Seconds||Average Wait Time of Calls|
Source: AER Retail Market Reports (2015-2016 to 2019-2020).
Best Rated Electricity Company: CovaU Energy
Summer 2022 also has brought us a change in the ranking for the best-rated energy supplier. CovaU Energy has knocked Enova Energy and the runner up Energy Locals out of their spots as the best-reviewed energy providers in Australia.
As a 100% Australian-owned energy company, with coverage across 5 out of 6 states, CovaU Energy has risen the ranks to become Australia's best-reviewed energy supplier. Reviews from across the web show that residential customers have very few bad things to say about CovaU Energy.
CovaU offers 24/7 customer support and according to reviews, it's great. CovaU is available inNew South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, Australian Capital Territory, South Australia, & Tasmania.
|Review Site||Number of Stars|
|TrustPilot||4.9 out of 5 stars|
|Product Review||4.4 out of 5 stars|
|Google Review||4.0 out of 5 stars|
Valid December 2023.
Best Solar Feed-in Tariff Rates: Origin Energy
If you’ve recently invested in solar energy, or have had solar panels for a while, you might be curious to find the best solar feed-in tariff in Australia. A solar feed-in tariff is a rate your energy provider pays to you for the unused solar energy you generate and export back to the grid.
When it comes to the highest feed-in tariffs on the market, very few energy providers have a better deal than Origin Energy and their two solar energy plans.
- Solar Boost: If you already have a solar PV system, this will get you a higher than average solar FiT
- Solar Boost Plus: Purchase a new solar PV system through Origin Energy to unlock the highest FiT available
|State||Origin Basic FiT||Solar Boost Plus FiT|
|New South Wales||7c / kWh||20c / kWh|
|ACT||8c / kWh||20c / kWh|
|Victoria||4.9c / kWh||20c / kWh|
|Queensland||5c / kWh||20c / kWh|
|South Australia||6c / kWh||20c / kWh|
Source: Origin Energy. Valid December 2023.
It’s important to remember Origin Energy Solar Boost Plus is only available to customers who purchase their solar PV systems through Origin Energy. If you already have a solar PV system, with no intention of replacing it, you will only be eligible for Origin Energy Solar Boost.
Origin Energy is available in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, Australian Capital Territory, & South Australia for electricity and offer gas-only plans in Western Australia
Best Gas Providers in Australia
The fact of the matter is that almost no one will ever be truly happy with their energy company, which is why when energy providers consistently get high customer satisfaction ratings and reviews, you can reasonably assume you’ll be happy with them too. Below we take a look at some of the best gas providers in Australia, from providers with the highest ratings and those that offer green energy options.
Best-Rated Gas Providers
Across the web, the three natural gas providers with the highest ratings (according to customers on TrustPilot, Product Review, and Google reviews) are:
|Provider||TrustPilot||Product Review||Google Reviews|
|KleenHeat||3.1 out of 5||4.8 out of 5||N / A|
|CovaU||4.9 out of 5||4.4 out of 5||4.2 out of 5|
|Sumo Energy||4.5 out of 5||3.6 out of 5||3.1 out of 5|
Greenest Gas Providers
Some people will argue that natural gas is cleaner than other energy sources, while some will argue it is not and we should be doing more to push for renewable energy sources. However, at the end of the day some homes do need a natural gas supply and environmentally conscientious energy consumers can all do their part by choosing an energy provider with a proven track record of green, carbon-neutral, or renewable energy generation. Below are three energy providers that, in some way, offer cleaner and greener options when it comes to your natural gas services.
Powershop is, according to the GreenPeace 2022 Green Electricity Guide, one of the greenest energy provider in Australia. While Powershop only retails natural gas to Victoria, they guarantee both electricity and gas services are 100% carbon neutral, at no extra cost to the consumer, in addition to GreenPower.
Origin Energy is one of the few energy providers that offer Green Gas. If you’re an Origin Energy natural gas customer, you can pay an additional $1 per week to offset the greenhouse gas emissions from your natural gas consumption. Origin Energy’s Green Gas program is certified carbon neutral by Australian Government-backed initiative, Climate Active.
While Red Energy doesn’t offer 100% carbon offset natural gas plans, thanks to its parent company Snowy Hydro about 90% of Red Energy’s electricity generation is from renewable resources. If you’re looking to bundle both gas and electricity, you’ll know that most of your electricity usage, at least, is being generated from renewable sources.
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