Energy providers

The solar panels on our roof provide us with power, especially when it is sunny. When we make excess power we sell this back to citipower for 8 cents a KWH. This is pretty paltry since the typical purchase price for power is around 20 – 25 cents a KW.

Had this system been installed prior to the end of 2011 we would be selling power back to the grid at at least 60 cents a KWH and we would be getting that price till 2024. This was to encourage Victorians to take up solar energy – a worthy cause and a good offer. This was know as ‘Premium Feed In Tariffs’ or PFiTs. When that ended a new ‘Transitional Feed in Tariff’ was set up (TFiT) at 25 cents/ KWH but ended at the end of 2012. This kind of tariff should be encouraged.

The 8 cents/ KWH we get makes little difference to our bill this means that by far the best time for us to save money is during the day when we can use the power we produce (when we are working). Some of this happens automatically with the fridge being on but we also save if we use the washing machine and dryer during daytime – i.e put laundry on timers. Other than that there’s not much we can do.

That aside we also need to buy power when it is not sunny. This is when things become extremely complicated. In my view it should be a case of ‘we sell electricity at x cents/ KWH. But like mobile phone plans this would make it too easy for customers. It is so complicated that swarms of door knocking energy sales people plague the suburbs and confuse the innocent. With energy accounts there are discounts and fees, various tariffs, signing up bonuses, conditions and contract lengths. To sift through this I found a number of useful websites the ‘get advice’ websites give general information, the compare plans helps you choose energy plans:

To compare plans.
http://www.yourchoice.vic.gov.au/search-results
http://energy.iselect.com.au/electricity/product-details/?iselectElectricityPlanId=elecRED002 (I didn’t fill in my personal details to get access)

To get advice:
http://environmentvictoria.org.au/content/feed-tarrifs
http://forums.whirlpool.net.au

I need to review our energy use better but we’re with AGL now and it seems likely that we can do better.

Also the government should ‘do better’ with feed in tariffs. The argument is that subsidising the development of a solar powered Australia will cost Australians but we all know this is short term nonesense from one of the worlds richest countries.

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