How should WA businesses compare business electricity quotes? - Amanda Energy See what you could save


How should WA businesses compare business electricity quotes?

Navigating business electricity pricing and the various energy plans, contracts and electricity supply agreements available in the market can be a daunting task. Not to mention that energy retailers often use different terminology when describing their products. In this article we aim to ‘break it down’ so when you compare business electricity plans you can better understand their differences and the impact they may have on the price you pay for business energy.

Firstly, are you a contestable customer?

It is important to understand if you’re a contestable customer so you can establish whether you can access the different business energy plans available in the market.

If you are based in Western Australia and your business energy is supplied by the SWIS (South West Interconnected System) and you are not a ‘contestable customer’, there is only one energy retailer available to you, Synergy.

However, if you are a contestable customer, you have the option of multiple energy providers as well as many different types of pricing, energy plans and contracts.  As a quick guide to answering the question “am I a contestable business customer?” – you need to use more than 50 MWh (about $15,300) of electricity per year.  More information on whether you can choose your power retailer is available from the economic regulation authority here

How is your business energy being quoted?

When comparing business energy quotes, it is important to make sure you compare apples with apples.  However, it’s very difficult to compare energy plans when different energy retailers are quoting on different options.  

For example, a provider could quote on the basis of:

  • Bundled pricing with a flat rate
  • Bundled pricing with a variable rate
  • Unbundled pricing

What is bundled electricity pricing?

Bundled pricing is where all the various costs that make up the electricity charges on your bill are bundled into a ‘peak’ charge, an ‘off-peak’ charge, and a ‘daily supply’ charge.  Bundling business electricity charges together into these simplified categories makes it easier for a business to compare electricity costs across different retailers. For most small to medium businesses this is a good way to get and compare available electricity pricing and plans.

What is ‘peak’ and ‘off-peak’ time?

Peak is defined as electricity used between the times of 8am and 10pm, Monday to Friday, including public holidays. Off-peak is all other times outside peak time. Generally speaking, the price of power you use during peak time is more expensive than off-peak. With this in mind, it is important for businesses to consider the time of use as well as how they use electricity.  

Flat and variable rate pricing

In addition to peak and off peak charges, there is also the option of a flat or variable rate.  With a flat rate this means that you are charged the same amount for your off peak and peak electricity usage. 

Whilst a flat rate makes things easy to understand, you may find a better deal for your business by taking the time to investigate variable rates, particularly if your business uses most power during off peak times. In order to save here, it is important to understand your power usage – think about how your business operates, and whether there are regular patterns to your overall electricity usage. 

For many businesses the decision of whether to go with a flat rate plan or take advantage of lower off peak rates can have significant cost implications for their overall energy bills. 

A good energy retailer will help you compare electricity plans and find the one that is right for you by analysing your energy usage and considering the needs of your business as well as your future plans. More information is available on our blog on how to get the best rates from business electricity providers in WA.

What is unbundled electricity pricing?

Large business electricity customers (that have high energy consumption) may want the ability to scrutinise their bills in more detail and examine ways to save, which is where unbundled pricing can be an advantage. With unbundled pricing, the individual components that make up your energy bill are passed on to the customer. Unbundled electricity pricing can be broken down into:

  • Energy charges
  • Network charges
  • Metering charges
  • Service charges
  • Environmental charges
  • Market charges

Businesses that have the ability to control their electricity usage (or have backup generators/alternative energy sources) may be able to make significant reductions on some of these elements that make up their electricity charges and save substantial amounts on energy costs.

Amanda Energy works with large business customers not just to get the lowest cost per unit but to help them get the lowest total energy spend. We look at options for solar generation, peak consumption, maximum demand optimisation and transmission tariff selection. 

Key takeaways

Compare apples with apples. A flat rate may not necessarily be a better deal than a variable rate depending on when your business uses electricity.

Understand peak and off-peak times and when you do business.

Meet with an energy retailer who is willing to spend some time with you to help you understand the available options and find which is best for your business.

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