Guide to Comparing Energy Prices in South Australia

South Australia’s pioneering implementation of renewable energy puts it at the forefront of green technology. Compare energy plans to find the best deals.

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by Gary Andrews

Last update 1 May 2021

Overview

South Australia has some of the highest energy prices in the world.

It’s important for customers in SA to compare energy plans, because it can help reduce your bill.

However, there is strong competition in South Australia, which means there is a considerable amount of choice that goes into picking your plan.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at the basic overview of electricity, gas, and solar products available in South Australia.

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Electricity in South Australia

Electricity prices in South Australia are the highest in the nation.

In fact, residents of this state pay some of the highest prices for energy in the world.

There are a host of factors that contribute to these high prices, including grid reliability, weather conditions, renewable energy commitment, and the high transmission and distribution cost that energy distributors pay.

Electricity Suppliers

Despite these high prices, the electricity market in South Australia is competitive.

The market is deregulated, and there are nearly 20 retailers customers can choose from.

These companies include:

  • AGL
  • Alinta Energy
  • Amaysim Energy
  • BlueNRG
  • Click Energy
  • Commander Power & Gas
  • Diamond Energy
  • Dodo Power & Gas
  • EnergyAustralia
  • Lumo Energy
  • Momentum Energy
  • Origin Energy
  • People Energy
  • Powerdirect
  • QEnergy
  • Red Energy
  • Sanctuary Energy
  • Simply Energy
  • Tango Energy

Electricity comparison in South Australia is particularly important because of the number of options you have.

Despite these options, most households stick with the “big three” retailers that operate in the state.

These big three are AGL, Origin Energy, and Energy Australia, and they make up roughly 75% of the residential market share.

Although these three companies dominate the electricity market, it doesn’t necessarily translate to the best deal for the customer.

South Australia deregulated their energy market and opened the door to competition back in 2012.

Many customers haven’t considered switching plans since then, which might be why Origin, AGL, and Energy Australia still hold the market share.

Block Pricing

Tariff 110 introduced block pricing to many South Australian residents.

Understanding how block (also known as tiered) pricing works is essential to finding the deal that works best for you.

With block pricing, your electricity consumption is separated into different tiers.

Each ‘block’ of usage is charged at a different rate. Some start low and go up, while in others, the first block is the most expensive.

Most major retailers tier your electricity usage into two or three different blocks, but some include more tiers.

Block pricing can save you money if you compare smart, as some retailers charge high rates on their top tiers to supplement lower rates at their bottom tiers.

A plan like this one benefits people who don’t use very much electricity.

If you constantly exceed the first or second block, you may want to choose a plan that starts with lower prices.

Compare Cheap Gas Prices in SA

Natural gas is South Australia’s biggest source of non-renewable energy.

According to the SA government, roughly 60 percent of the state’s natural gas goes to generating electricity, and the rest is transmitted to homes and businesses.

There is one gas distributor in the state, Australian Gas Networks (formerly Envestra), though gas in some remote areas is supplied by other companies.

People who are unable to connect to the natural gas network may be able to use LPG, either through a reticulated gas network or in bottles.

There are a small number of gas suppliers in SA that dominate the market: AGL and Origin.

However, South Australian residents still have a number of suppliers to choose from, including:

  • AGL
  • Alinta Energy
  • EnergyAustralia
  • Lumo Energy
  • Origin
  • Simply Energy

The suppliers available to you may vary depending on your location and household needs.

Gas savings in SA

Large suppliers control most of the market because they are able to offer gas bills in SA, while the smaller suppliers are only able to bundle it with electricity services.

If you rely on both electricity and gas for your energy, you can compare gas suppliers in SA to see who can give you the best deal.

You may even qualify for cheaper gas in SA when you get multiple services from the same company.

Customers who are looking only for a gas rate comparison in South Australia should still shop around for the lowest price.

Gas prices in South Australia change over time and comparing deals will keep you on top of the market so you can avoid overpaying gas in SA.

Be sure to consider both standard contracts and market contracts when looking at prices.

Market contracts tend to offer the lower price due to bigger discounts.

Concessions are available to eligible customers in SA that can subsidise your energy costs:

Energy bill concession

Supplements electricity and gas payments.

Medical heating and cooling concession

Eligible customers with qualifying medical conditions requiring heating or cooling.

Cost of living concession

Assists low-income customers with gas costs.

Residential park resident concession

Concession for eligible residents of a residential or caravan park to assist with energy bills.

New customers in South Australia can sometimes benefit from connection bonuses, which offer discounts for existing homes with eligible appliances when connecting to the gas main for the first time.

There are stipulations to these offers and they may not be offered year-round.

Tips for SA gas customers

  • Compare prices from a range of suppliers to find the lowest price
  • Ask your supplier about bundling discounts for combining electricity and gas rates in SA
  • Explore available government concessions to assist with your gas bill
  • Ask your supplier about any bonus offers on the market

Solar Energy Prices & Rates in South Australia

South Australia gets about 40 per cent of its power from renewable sources like wind and solar power, and it was the first in Australia to introduce solar feed-in legislation.

Government incentives are encouraging more people to get on board with solar energy in SA by installing a solar panel system on their homes, which can be an efficient way of reducing your electricity bill.

The success of a rooftop solar system depends on the amount of sun in the area, so you should consider the location of your home and its exposure to sunlight before installation.

Over 187,000 homes in South Australia now have rooftop solar panels installed.

Solar power is converted to electricity, used by the household when possible, and any excess energy is fed back into the grid.

Customers have the opportunity to be paid for this electricity provided to the grid, and any feed-in tariffs paid to you will appear as credits on your electricity bill.

South Australia is also trialling a battery storage system that will allow households to store unused energy for their own use before feeding it back to the grid.

Subsidised battery storage systems are offered through the state’s electricity distributor, SA Power Networks.

Solar power savings in SA

The South Australian government’s feed-in scheme is no longer open to new customers, but many suppliers offer their own feed-in tariffs.

There is no required minimum amount for these tariffs, meaning that the amount per kilowatt paid out is set by the supplier.

Solar customers can compare solar suppliers in SA to find the plan that is best for their individual needs.

When conducting a solar energy rate comparison in SA it is not just about finding a supplier who will pay you the most for the kilowatts you generate for the grid.

You should also be looking at the amount charged for kilowatt hours, and consider your overall usage.

The real strength of solar power is its ability to reduce your overall electricity bill, not its perceived earning power.

Eligible solar customers may also be able to apply for electricity concessions through the SA government:

Energy bill concession

Supplements electricity and gas payments.

Medical heating and cooling concession

Eligible customers with qualifying medical conditions requiring heating or cooling.

Cost of living concession

Assists low-income customers with electricity costs.

Residential park resident concession

Concession for eligible residents of a residential or caravan park to assist with energy bills.

Home dialysis electricity concession

Patients who receive kidney dialysis treatment at home may receive assistance.

Tips for SA solar customers

  • Compare retail feed-in tariffs from available suppliers to find cheaper energy in SA
  • Ask your supplier about trialing the battery storage system
  • Avoid overpaying energy bills in SA by applying for energy concessions if you are eligible
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This guide is opinion only and should not be taken as financial advice. Check with a financial professional before making any decisions.