Tasmania Has A New Electricity Retailer

1st Energy - Tasmania

As of the beginning of this week, a new electricity retailer is operating in Tasmania – and it’s looking to grab the attention of solar power system owners.

1st Energy commenced operations in the Apple Isle on Monday. The company also operates in New South Wales and Queensland.

“We’re the first competitor retailer to enter the Tasmanian market and believe that our mix of energy savings and great Australian based customer service is something Tasmanians are looking for,” says the company’s web site.

Getting down to $, how do the two compare? Here’s the standard residential rates and feed in tariff information for both.

Aurora Energy

General charges (Tariff 31)

– Daily supply charges: 94.636 ¢/day
– General usage rates: 26.431 ¢/kWh

Controlled load (Tariff 41)

– Daily supply charges: 17.646 ¢/day
– General usage rates: 17.164 ¢/kWh

Solar Feed In Tariff

– Transitional feed-in tariff1: 13.541 cents/kWh
– Standard feed-in tariff: 8.541 cents/kWh

Update: Apologies, I had the standard and transitional FiT rates the wrong way around.

Further details

1st Energy

General charges (Tariff 31)

– Daily supply charge: 94.63 cents/day
– General usage rates: 26.42 cents/kWh

Controlled load (Tariff 41)

– Daily supply charge: 17.64 cents/day
– Controlled load usage: 17.16 cents/kWh

Solar Feed In Tariff

– Transitional feed-in tariff: 18.541 cents/kWh
– Standard feed-in tariff: 13.541 cents/kWh

1st Energy also charges $66.74 for both connection and disconnection.

Further details

NOTE: I think I read somewhere 1st Energy’s feed in tariff rate is only for the first 12 months – something worth checking if making enquiries. The Energy Made Easy web site states: “Receive an additional 5 cents on top of any regulator set feed-in tariff,” but there’s no mention of a 12 month limit.

In terms of rates, there’s very little separating the two except for 1st Energy’s solar feed in tariff rate being 5c higher than Aurora’s. 1st Energy is also offering a 5% “pay on time” discount for the first 12 months according to the Energy Made Easy website.

The company will no doubt scoop up some business from Tasmanians particularly cranky with Aurora Energy for whatever reason and the 5c will be attractive to solar owners2. Competition can be a great thing, but it remains to be seen if 1st Energy will be any real competition for non-solar owners and not just a protest switch for disgruntled Aurora customers.

If considering a switch to 1st Energy, as with any change of electricity retailer, be sure to check for devils in the detail of any contract.

Footnotes

  1. Tasmanians who installed solar power systems prior to the end of August 2013 receive the transitional FiT, which applies until December 31, 2019; then they’ll be flipped to the standard feed in tariff. More on this here.
  2. According to the most recent figures available from Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator, there are approximately 33,734 small scale (<100kW) solar power systems installed in Tasmania
About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. 1st Energy pricing structures are identical to Aurora’s but 1st Energy customers have a choice of either a 5% pay on time discount (on ‘usage’ not on daily charges) or an extra 5c FiT but not both. The claim about 12 months is probably a confusion due to the fact that the state government is paying 5c extra on top of the standard 8.541c/kWh feed-in tariff for the half of Tasmanian solar owners that were on the legacy FiT until last year. The state government’s 5c will last until 31 Dec 2019. 1st Energy are offering an additional 5c (on their solar Bonus Plans only) and this presumably is ongoing. So if you currently get 8.541c the 1st Energy solar bonus will pay 13.541c and if you currently get 13.541c the 1st Energy solar bonus will pay 18.541c (until it drops to 13.541c on 1 Jan 2020.

  2. Jack Gilding says:

    Note that section 8 of 1st Energy’s Standard Retail Contract provides that standing offer charges may be changed once every 6 months and that they are not required to notify you personally of these changes until your next bill. Aurora’s standing offers change every year on 1 July.

  3. It might work for Tasmania, but a quick check for the NSW-Ausgrid Area and ..

    Wow … not even in the ballpark.
    – 5.1c FIT (+10c is common)
    – 31c Consumption / Single Rate (25-30c is common)

    Nothing to see here.

    • You can get a 20c FiT across NSW (and good usage tariffs) if you shop around:

      https://www.solarquotes.com.au/energy/

      • Alex Simmons says:

        So much depends on the individual case.

        I’ve not found a high FIT plan (e.g. AGL’s 20c/kWh) that’s worth it *for us*.

        Rest of the plan makes the overall cost higher than many lower FIT plans with better import rates.

        I’ve also not found a plan comparison tool that does a proper comparison for NSW users. The one on Solar Quotes lumps all grid import into one category (flat rate) when there are multiple tariffs possible.

        The best deal I can get based on our energy flows is a TOU based plan. Considerably cheaper than the best flat rate plan.

        The energymadeeasy site does not provide for input of grid export numbers, which means its recommendations are not overly helpful either.

        • Daniel Debreceny says:

          Most retailer plans have a FIT:Consumption ratio <1:2.

          AGL Solar Saver has a FIT:consumption ratio of <1:1.7, so if you export more than you consume, it works out well.

          My house has total consumption 14kWh/day, with 6kWh from the grid, 12kWh from solar, and then we export on (annual) average about 14kWh/day.

          That puts us at about -$30/mnth, with grid import being green power.

          Down from $160 /mnth without solar.

          We went for a premium solaredge / DC optimiser / LG / 7.68kW system, and payback is about 6.5years, due to heavy shading in early

          morning/evening (we get about 60% of an unshaded systems total generation).

  4. I know this is about tariff’s and Fit rebates and first post so bear with me, I have lived in a Transit van for 5 years after a divorce, and work as a shearer staying at shearing sheds for power.
    I had one 120w fold out solar panel and 2 x 110ah Gel batteries with a 2000w inverter purchased 2013 and all still good, but inverter beeped 50% and shuts down 2nd day if lucky. I bought 2 more similar solar for same price as the 1st to be 360w on roof and no beeps to worry me.
    I use a 40w laptop, fan, Engel 40l that average 3.3ah each, a little modem, with 21w light, the inverter 1.6ah and recently wired in a Sirocco fan 0.7ah on 1 speed replacing the 40w fan though smaller.
    My dad left me a rental property I will own once things are settled and used your site to get solar quotes (Google maps rooftop) about $10k for 10kW, yes a pine tree shades the afternoon sun, but that must also take the heat off as well.
    My question is really about power consumption, gas stove and hot water, though gas isn’t cheap anymore it’s eco friendly.
    I know batteries are dear but an investor with Redflow battery shares and think the best way to control retirement expenses is to go off the grid completely and buy a little electric car and one day a wheelchair.
    Is there a post about replacing old appliances with low power consumption products? Like the Solaredge DC optimiser mentioned, or stoves, hotplates. Is gas hot water better than having a water cylinder?

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Hi

      If your property is already connected to the grid you are much better off staying grid connected. This is better for the environment because your surplus solar power can be sent into the grid and reduce fossil fuel generation and its better for you financially because you can receive a feed-in tariff for it. You can still get a battery system while connected to the grid, but they don’t pay for themselves yet. Once they do pay will be the time to get one.

      It is will be much cheaper in the long run to use a hot water cylinder than gas. To make sure the hot water system mostly uses solar electricity you can put a timer on it so it only switches on during the day. (I recommend a timer you can adjust yourself.) The smaller the heating element in the hot water system the more solar electricity and the less grid electricity is likely to be used. I’ve written about this here:

      https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/solar-hot-water-timer/

      I don’t think we have any articles specifically on replacing old appliances, but if you have a very old fridge you will generally come out ahead by replacing it.

      https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/buy-an-energy-efficient-fridge/

      It also makes sense to change over to LED lights if that hasn’t been done already. Modern air conditioners are more energy efficient than old ones, but the savings generally aren’t worth replacing them before their time, especially for solar households.

  5. Dr Chris Kear says:

    Finn, you’ve completely missed the very important, and well hidden by Aurora, Tariff 93 time of use tariff.

    Are first energy doing time of use? Changing to TOU saved me hundreds of dollars last year. I do hope 1st E are bringing one of these too!

    • yes Chris, 1st Energy do Time of Use: Same tariff number (93) and same rates as Aurora, but choice of one of two sweetners, 5c extra FiT or 5% pay on time discount:
      https://1stenergy.com.au/residential/basic-price-plan-document-residential/
      (pick the Tas tab.)

      • Thanks for that, Jack.

        Now it costs $66 to join and another $66 to leave if there’s a problem like them changing the tariff.

        To get that back. Hmm, when I will get 5c per kWh. that 20×132 =2.64 MWh I will need to generate to break even.

        Currently I’m feeding in as little as I can but PVoutput.org tells me that I’m exporting about 6MWh per year, so I guess it’ll take me roughly 4 months to break even on their plan, assuming they make me leave after the first year.

        So, it could be worth it. If they play fair.

        I wonder if I would have to pay Tasnetworks anything in addition, to change over?

        Chris.

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