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Changes in Legislation for Victoria, SA and Act

Changes have been made to the legislation in certain states and territories of Australia, including Victoria, South Australia (SA) and the Australian Central Territory (ACT), which will make doing an electricity comparison even easier.

Victoria

In September 2013, the Minister for Energy and Resources in Victoria, Nicholas Kotsiras, announced that flexible energy pricing options would be brought in.

If you are living in a Victorian household wondering how to lower your electricity prices, this is good news.

Those who use smart meters will benefit from this change as the energy used during off-peak times will be cheaper than the power used during shoulder or off-peak times of day.

This means it won't cost you as much to charge your mobile phone at night as it would in the morning.

Peak electricity times are typically weekday afternoons and evenings as this is when demand for this service is at its highest, when everyone gets home from school and work.

There is also a shoulder period where demand is not quite as high as the peak but not as low as off-peak times, which is generally the period between 10 a.m and 7 a.m. These times could vary, however, depending on the electricity suppliers.

Whether or not this plan is the best deal for you depends on your usage. If you traditionally use most of your power during the peak period, you might be best to stick to your current provider.

Not only will flexible pricing options provide you with more choice and control over your bills, it also means people may use less electricity during the peak hours, which could reduce demand.

In turn, this means there may be less need for expensive energy infrastructure upgrades, a cost that would have been passed on to consumers.

You can choose to trial flexible pricing up until the end of March 2015 and can switch back if you are not satisfied with the service -  without the worry of paying an administration fee.

The choice is completely up to you and you can even choose to have a flat rate.

Victoria's government, however, has said changing your habits could help you save money. For example, if you have a 3.5 star rated dishwasher, you could save around $20 - $40 over the course of a year by running it during off-peak times.

A 8 kg, 1.5 star clothes dryer used during off peak times rather than during the day could see you reduce your electricity prices by around $50 a year.

These savings all add up over time, it just means you may need to make a change to your habits by using these appliances at night time rather than during the day.

This is where your smart meter comes in handy as this tool can show you when during the day your household is consuming energy.

South Australia

On February 1 2013, the National Energy Retail Law got off to a great start in South Australia.

It made provisions for jobs the Australian Energy regulator can commence,  including monitoring and complying with the other relevant laws while managing market entry and exit through the process of allowing retailers to sell energy.

In April 2014 the essential services commission will make a decision about the 2015 - 18 networks service standard framework.

A draft proposal of this agreement has already been announced and is based on the high levels of satisfaction being reported by South Australian residents.

It aims to improve network reliability service standards and targets as well as performance monitoring and reporting, while also continuing to maintain its network reliability service standards and targets.

The Australian Electricity Regulator (AER) has given ElectraNet transmission a revenue cap for the period to 2018, which means it cannot exceed $1,578 million while it is providing customers with electricity.

Australian Capital Territory

A new change is set to take place starting July 1, 2014 in ACT with price direction being brought in for franchise customers.

This means from this date, those who purchase their electricity on a standard customer contract will find it easier to do an electricity comparison.

This applies to people who use less than 100 MWh per year, as they can either purchase their power from ActewAGL at a standard tariff or enter into an alternative agreement with any of the other electricity suppliers licensed in the ACT.

By opening up competition in the area and creating opportunities for new suppliers to provide electricity, the cost of electricity in the territory could drop as they compete for new business.

Posted by Liam Tunney