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The Western Australian energy market is a unique beast compared to other Australian states and territories. The state and its capital city, Perth, are highly remote and operate by a different set of rules due to the vast distances covered. This can make it hard to understand the assortment of electricity and gas providers that offer services to Perth residents and decipher precisely who is eligible for what. In some instances, energy consumers have choices between providers; in others, there may be only one option.
It’s a lot to wrap your head around, but luckily, we’re here to help make sense of it all. In our comprehensive guide, we'll break down everything you need to know about choosing a suitable gas or electricity provider in Perth—from developing an understanding of the complex WA energy market, including the South West Interconnected System (SWIS), to making an informed switch where possible. We’ll break down pricing and tariffs, retailers, networks, and more, giving you all the details you need to clarify your options regarding electricity providers in Perth.
Please note that Econnex Comparison only offers quotes for Perth gas plans through our platform and does not currently offer Perth or Western Australia electricity plans.
Western Australia is easily the largest of all Australian states, simultaneously with one of its smallest populations, and that brings a unique set of challenges for the provision of energy. The distances to be covered are vast, and the infrastructure needs to be built to last. As such, the electricity market within WA is broken into multiple regions, each with its own set of regulations and providers. Those regions are:
The city of Perth itself falls within the SWIS, so it’s worth exploring the particulars of that network more intimately.
The South West Interconnected System, commonly known as SWIS, is crucial to Western Australia's energy infrastructure. Operated by Western Power (a Western Australian State Government-owned corporation), the SWIS covers the state’s most populated areas, extending from the southwest coast to as far north as Kalbarri. If you reside within this network, your options for selecting an electricity retailer may be limited, depending on factors such as your annual electricity consumption. It all depends on whether you qualify as a ‘Contestable’ or ‘Non-Contestable’ customer.
Clarifying whether you are a contestable or non-contestable customer is the first step in navigating the electricity market in Perth. Your status as one or the other determines your options for choosing an electricity provider and, consequently, the rates you will pay. By understanding the intricacies of the SWIS and the customer categories, you can make more informed decisions when you compare electricity providers in Perth and select a retailer that best suits your needs if a choice is available.
The Western Australian Government plays a significant role in regulating the electricity market for non-contestable customers. Unlike other states where prices in the energy market are largely deregulated, Western Australia maintains a regulated market to ensure uniform pricing and service quality. This regulation is essential for consumers within the South West Interconnected System (SWIS), where the majority of non-contestable customers reside.
For these non-contestable customers, electricity prices are set by the Western Australian Government. This regulated pricing aims to ensure that all consumers, regardless of their location within the SWIS, pay a similar rate for electricity. The government's involvement in price-setting helps to mitigate the impact of market fluctuations and keeps electricity prices relatively stable.
If you are a non-contestable customer within the SWIS, Synergy is likely your primary electricity provider. As a government-regulated entity, Synergy is responsible for supplying electricity at the rates set by the Western Australian Government. This ensures you won't be subject to price hikes based on market volatility.
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Unlike non-contestable customers, whom Synergy generally supplies at highly regulated prices, contestable customers have more freedom to choose from various electricity providers. However, it's essential to note that the Western Australian government still oversees the state’s Wholesale Electricity Market (WEM) to ensure fair competition and pricing. Each provider may offer different plans, features, and incentives. It’s therefore crucial to compare these aspects carefully to choose the most cost-effective and suitable option for your needs.
For contestable customers, including eligible businesses that use more than 50KWh of electricity annually, the following energy providers in Perth may offer a choice of plan:
For non-contestable customers in Perth, including most households, electricity prices are regulated by the Western Australian Government. This means that Synergy, the primary supplier for these customers, may only charge energy rates that the state has predetermined and legislated. However, contestable customers, who have the freedom to choose their Perth electricity providers, may find that prices are influenced by market competition in addition to government oversight.
As of the time of writing (October 2023), Synergy offers the following plans for residents and home businesses:
The Western Australian Government often offers subsidies and grants to encourage the adoption of renewable energy sources like solar and wind power. These incentives can significantly reduce the upfront costs of installing solar panels or wind turbines, making it a more viable option for many households and businesses. Such incentive programs include:
One of the most significant shifts in the Australian energy sector is the growing focus on renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. Western Australia is known to contain abundant natural resources, making it an ideal location for renewable energy projects. As these technologies become more affordable and efficient, we can expect a significant portion of Perth's electricity to come from renewable sources.
The adoption of smart grids and smart meters is another trend to watch. These technologies allow for more efficient electricity distribution and give consumers better control over their usage. As smart grids become more widespread, we can expect more dynamic pricing models that reward consumers for using electricity during off-peak hours.
While the electricity market in Western Australia is currently tightly regulated, especially in the SWIS, there has been ongoing debate about the potential for further deregulation. If this occurs, it could introduce more energy retailer competition into the market, potentially driving down prices and offering consumers more choices. However, deregulation is a complex issue that requires careful consideration of its impact on consumers and providers alike.
While Econnex Comparison doesn't currently offer electricity plans for the Western Australian market, we do provide a selection of gas plans for eligible customers. Customers can search their postcode on our intuitive platform to reveal applicable gas plans offered by our panel of retailers in their area. Moreover, if you find a plan that suits you, you can complete your application online from one platform. No sponsored products, advertisements or third-party links. It is just simple, unbiased comparison technology that puts the power of choice in your hands.