When we move home or build a new house, we know we have the option to choose which energy supplier we want to use to supply us with the energy we use to power our homes. But it hasn’t always been this way. Since 1994, the energy industry in Australia has been through significant changes.Deregulation
Before 1994, consumers in Australia could not choose their energy supplier. Rather, there was an assigned energy supplier to your area, or in the case of Victoria, one energy supplier available to the entire state. In 1994, however, things started to change, when Victoria led the charge in deregulating (or privatising) the industry and opening it up to other independent companies. The goal of this change was to foster competition in the energy industry and in the process bring down prices. It was also to give consumers a say in which company they chose as their energy supplier.
Deregulation of the industry soon followed in NSW, Queensland, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory. Today, Australians living in these states enjoy the right to choose an energy supplier that suits their energy needs and budget.
The Northern Territory, Tasmania and Western Australia are not deregulated, and thus continue to have default energy suppliers for different areas of that state.
The green energy movement
The second biggest change in the energy industry in the past two decades has been the shift towards, demand, and generation of green power. As climate change concerns grow, and people become more aware of their individual environmental footprint, many Australians are implementing green energy practices. There are a number of ways to do this, but one particular example has been supported by the Australian government. The government’s GreenPower program allows consumers to offset their gas or electricity use by choosing to pay for a percentage of their gas or electricity use to the replaced by green energy. The government adds this green energy to the energy grids, which can then be bought by energy suppliers on behalf of the customer.
As energy suppliers feel the demand and need for green energy and environmentally friendly practices in the home, they have also provided a number of devices – such as smart meters and standby power devices – that make it easy to implement small day-to-day energy consumption patterns changes that allow you to be part of the green energy movement.
So before you blindly sign up to the energy supplier that the previous tenant or home owner used, do your research and exercise your right to choose your own energy supplier (if you live in NSW, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia or ACT). This will help you make the right decision for your budget and energy needs. There are also endless ways to make a different to the impact your energy use has on the environment – changes to the energy industry have gone a long way to recognizing the need and making it easier for consumers to make that change through their energy use.