Getting your utility connections (gas, electricity, water, internet) set up in Australia
Whether you are moving to Australia for the first time or just relocating within the country, getting your essential utilities (gas, electricity, water, internet) set up smoothly and promptly will no doubt be near the top of your to-do list. The basic procedures involved are fairly simple, but the process of choosing the right utility provider and plan for you can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you are new to the country (or region within the country). This article explains the basic steps involved with getting your utility connections set up in Australia so that you can move into your new home comfortably (and save money too!).
Whether you are planning a big move to Australia from overseas for the first time or just relocating within the country, moving can be a stressful (if exciting!) time. Mixed in with apprehension about new jobs or new schools will be dreams of new neighbourhoods to explore, new restaurants to try, and new friends to meet.
It is completely understandable that at such a time getting your electricity hooked up or your water supply connected might not be at the forefront of your mind. Nevertheless, it is essential to take a little time to get the practical elements in place before you move in. Aside from actually finding and securing an apartment or house to live in, you will want to make sure that all your essential utilities will be set up as promptly as possible, preferably on the actual day that you move in.
That way, you will have even more time to focus on your new job and new friends when you do move into your new home in Australia!
You can also contact Selectra at any time for a free consultation on setting up your essential home utilities in Australia. We can help you get this done (and save you money)!
Which utilities are essential in Australian homes?
Home utilities in Australia are generally quite similar to those in most other developed nations. There may be some minor differences depending on the region (/state) of Australia where you will be living.
Each individual house or apartment can also differ slightly based on its appliances, particularly those used for cooking, hot water, or heating.
Here is a quick overview of which utilities are considered essential in Australian homes.
Essential Utilities in Australian Homes
|Utility||Essential in Australian Homes?|
(depends on appliances in the home)
(for most people these days)
(for most people these days)
Water supply (water and sewage) is obviously essential within any home. The company you apply to for your water supply will be determined by the state and municipality in which you live (i.e. there is no real choice involved for consumers).
As for energy within the home (lighting, hot water, heating/air-conditioning, cooking, and operating electronics), getting connected to electricity is also definitely essential. Whether or not your home requires gas, however, will depend on whether your house contains gas appliances (such as a gas range stove), so you should be sure to inquire with the landlord or owner of the property as to whether or not a gas connection will be necessary. Unlike your water supply, you may have some choice when it comes to energy providers, as energy regulations differ by state/region across Australia.
While home internet is not strictly “essential” in terms of survival, most people in Australia these days would consider it essential for work, study, entertainment, and arranging daily life. The options open to you for setting up internet access at your new home in Australia will depend on your needs and your location, though the most popular option is the NBN (National Broadband Network), a government-led initiative which supplies over 90% of Australians with access to high-speed broadband infrastructure. To use the NBN, however, you still need to choose an internet provider, so it still pays to shop around to find the services and prices that you are looking for.
As for telephone service (landline), the majority of people in Australia these days are electing to bypass fixed telephone connections at home and simply use their mobile phones instead. Voice and video calls can also be made via free apps or calling services via broadband or mobile networks, so fewer and fewer Australians see any need for a landline these days.
Read on for more specific details on each of these essential home utilities (water, gas/electricity, home internet) in Australia!
Water Supply in Australia
Water has become something of a sensitive issue in Australia due to the country’s propensity towards drought, which seems to be increasing in recent years, compounded by the fact that Australia has relatively high per capita residential consumption of water.
The water provider that you will apply to for your water supply (water/sewage) is determined by the state and municipality in which you live. There is no real choice for consumers when it comes to water providers.
If you are moving to Australia from overseas, your water bills in Australia may be somewhat high compared to what you are used to.
Average Household Water Bills Per Year (By State)
|State||Average Annual Water Bills|
|Western Australia (Perth)||$748|
|New South Wales/Capital Territory (Sydney, Canberra)||$816|
|South Australia (Adelaide)||$900|
|Queensland (Brisbane, Cairns)||$1004|
Each water bill that you receive will include a flat fee for sewage and flat fee for access to the water supply, plus usage charges for the actual amount of water that you use. As the flat fees are set by the provider, cutting down on water usage is your best bet when it comes to saving money on your water bills.
Water Restrictions in Australia Droughts can lead to water usage restrictions in parts of Australia that regulate the outdoor usage of water (watering lawns/gardens, washing cars, filling pools, etc.) and ask residents to reduce water consumption whenever possible. These restrictions vary by region and time of year, so make sure to stay up to date with local advisories.
For more detailed information on water supply and water providers across different regions of Australia, please visit our page on Getting the water supply connected at your home in Australia.
Gas and Electricity in Australia
As mentioned above, while electricity is obviously an essential utility in every Australian home, whether or not you will require a gas connection depends on the specific house or apartment that you are planning to move into.
Home appliances that may or may not require a gas connection in Australia are primarily related to heating and cooking within your home (stove/oven, interior heating, hot water heaters). Prior to moving in, you should check with your landlord or the owner of the property regarding which appliances, if any, require a gas supply so that you can make the appropriate arrangements with the energy company if necessary.
The amount of choice you will have when it comes to energy providers (gas/electricity) will depend on the laws of the state/region where you plan to live. Many regions of Australia have deregulated their energy sectors to allow for a more competitive energy marketplace where customers can shop around, but some still have state-regulated markets (while others simply have limited options).
Energy Providers in Different Regions of Australia - What are My Options?
|Queensland (Brisbane, Cairns)||Open market (your choice) - South East
State regulated (no choice) - other regions of Queensland
|Western Australia (Perth)||State regulated (no choice)*|
|New South Wales/Capital Territory (Sydney, Canberra)||Open market (your choice)|
|South Australia (Adelaide)||Open market (your choice)|
|Victoria (Melbourne)||Open market (your choice)|
|Northern Territory||Open market (your choice, but limited options)|
|Tasmania||Open market (your choice, but limited options)|
*Gas provision has been deregulated within the city of Perth only, so Perth-based customers can choose their preferred gas provider. This is not currently the case for electricity in Perth, however.
If you are living in one of the states/regions where full retail competition is present within the energy market, shopping around can save you money on your electricity and gas bills.
Here at Selectra we understand that the array of options in the Australian energy market can be bewildering, especially if you are new to the area or the country. We’re here to help! Feel free to contact us at any time for a free consultation on which energy providers in Australia could best suit your needs (and budget!).
For more detailed information on gas supply and gas providers across different regions of Australia, please visit our page on Getting the gas supply connected at your home in Australia.
For more detailed information on electricity supply and electricity providers across different regions of Australia, please visit our page on Getting electricity connected at your home in Australia.
Home Internet in Australia
With the development of the NBN (National Broadband Network) across the nation, Australia has made fast and reliable internet connections via fiber-optic cables the norm for the majority of Australians.
Some Australians do opt not to make use of the NBN, either to save money or due to limited internet needs at home, making use of mobile internet (3G/4G/5G) instead. This number seems to be falling, however, with just 16% of internet users using mobile-only internet at home as of 2020 (down from 21% in 2015). Some areas or buildings are also served by private broadband networks, rather than the NBN.
A wide range of internet providers exist in Australia offering plans (mostly via the NBN network) that generally include unlimited monthly data, no fixed contract periods, and a range of different speed options. You will need to confirm which providers are available for your particular region/state (and your particular building).
Here at Selectra we understand that finding an internet provider in Australia, especially if you are new to the area or the country, can be overwhelming. We’re here to help! Feel free to contact us at any time for a free consultation to find out which internet providers in Australia could best suit your needs (and your budget!).
For more detailed information on NBN home internet providers in Australia, please visit our page on Getting internet service (NBN) set up at your home in Australia.
How do I get my essential utilities set up in Australia?
It might seem like there is a lot to do to get your home utilities set up when moving house in Australia, so it can help to boil things down to the basics.
If you are moving within Australia, you need to…
- Cancel utility services at your current address - call your water and energy providers and arrange for all utility connections to be disconnected on the day after you move out. If you receive gas and electricity from different providers, be sure to contact both to ensure that both your gas and electricity supply are disconnected on time. If you don’t remember to disconnect these utility services on time, you might end up paying bills for water, electricity and gas that you did not use!
- Arrange for utility services to start at your new address - call the water and energy providers for your new home and arrange for connections to be set up starting on the day that you move into your new home (you don’t want to be left without water or power!). Fibre-optic cable internet connections (via NBN or private networks) can sometimes take a bit longer to set up, so you may want to have a mobile internet alternative (mobile phone, pocket Wi-Fi) to keep you connected in the meantime.
If you are moving to Australia from another country, you need to…
- Arrange for utility services to start at your new address - call the water and energy providers for your new home and arrange for connections to be set up starting on the day that you move into your new home (you don’t want to be left without water or power!). If you will be renting your new home, your landlord may be able to help you set up utility connections as well, so be sure to ask. Fibre-optic cable internet connections (via NBN or private networks) can sometimes take a bit longer to set up, so you may want to have a mobile internet alternative (mobile phone, pocket Wi-Fi) to keep you connected in the meantime.
In either case, you should contact utility companies (either online or via telephone) at least 5 business days in advance before you move into your new house or apartment in order to ensure that everything is connected as soon as you arrive. You will need to provide them with the address of your new home, your moving date, and the date that you want utilities connected (if different from the moving date).
Be sure to write down or take a photo of the meter readings (gas, electricity, water) both at your current address (if in Australia) and new address to ensure that you are being charged the right amount by your water and energy providers.
You should be aware that some energy providers do charge an initial connection fee, so you may want to ask about this before you choose your provider.
As for your internet connection, some providers may allow you to transfer service to another address (if moving within Australia), so contact your provider before you move to ask if this is possible.
How can I save money on utility bills in Australia?
In general, the cost of living in Australia is quite high these days, so no doubt you will be looking to save as much money on your utility bills as possible!
There are essentially two basic ways to save money on your utility bills in Australia:
- Reduce usage - water, gas, and electricity in Australia all charge fixed connection rates alongside usage charges, so anything you can do to reduce your usage will help to reduce your utility bills. Please check out our individual articles (links below) on water, gas, and electricity in Australia for plenty of tips on reducing your water and energy usage that will save you money!
- Change utility companies - in states/regions of Australia where energy markets have been deregulated and you can choose your own gas and electricity providers, competition between different companies means that it can be worth your while to shop around for cheaper energy plans.
Here at Selectra we understand that utility providers (water, gas/electricity, home internet) in Australia can be confusing, especially if you are new to the area or the country,. We’re here to help! Feel free to contact us at any time for a free consultation on which energy providers in Australia could best suit your needs (and your budget!).
For more detailed information on getting gas, electricity, and water connected in Australia, along with tips on reducing usage and information on different providers available around the country (and their rates), you can also check out our pages on:
・Getting the gas supply connected at your home in Australia
・Getting electricity connected at your home in Australia
・Getting the water supply connected at your home in Australia
You can also check out our page on Getting internet service (NBN) set up at your home in Australia for detailed information on broadband access and internet providers around the country.
Getting your utilities set up in Australia - FAQ
|Question 1. Which utilities are essential in Australian homes?|
Water and electricity are essential in all homes, but whether or not you will need gas depends on the heating and cooking appliances installed in your house or apartment. Internet service is not strictly essential but most people in Australia these days consider it to be so.
|Question 2. Can I freely choose my utility providers in Australia?|
For your water supply, no. For electricity and gas, it depends on your location. New South Wales (including Canberra), Victoria, South Australia, and the south east of Queensland have deregulated energy markets, leaving consumers free to choose their gas and electricity providers. In Western Australia and the rest of Queensland, energy is state regulated, so you cannot choose your providers. Tasmania and the Northern Territory have deregulated energy markets in theory, but choice is quite limited in reality.
|Question 3. How can I get my utilities connected in Australia?|
Contact your utility companies online or by telephone and give them your new address, your moving date, and the date you would like your utilities connected. Be sure to cancel utility service at your current address (if you are moving within Australia) to avoid unnecessary charges!