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Understanding Your Power Bills

Small and Large Users

Retailers normally have two categories for customers, based on the size of their usage and the tariff on which they are charged for energy.

Small to Medium Energy Businesses (SME)

SME users are considered to use between 0-160'000-kWh of electricity per year (0-100'000kWh Queensland).

Typical SME users include small businesses and residential premises. Such customers receive ‘bundled rates’ on their bills. These rates are inclusive of all components and pass-through charges, lacking an itemised detailed costing of each element. It is now possible in some areas for SME’s to aggregate their load and go to the market as one in order to achieve improved bargaining positions.

However, it is not commonly known, that if you don't call your energy retailer Every 12 months and ask for the latest Deal, you will no longer receive there Discount price, even though nearly all electricity retailers don't actually pay for the power you consume ...Click here to read how deceptive Energy Retailers are!

Large Contract Users are Commercial & Industrial (C&I)

C&I users consume anywhere upward of 160MWh+ per year (100MWh+ in Queensland). Such customers receive ‘unbundled rates’ on their bills. Each component is individually itemised to give a better indication of its proportion of the overall energy cost. This allows C&I customers to identify potential ways to lessen the impact of certain components, such as base commodity rates.

Commercial energy rates varies from $0.08 kWh Peak rate, $0.06 Shoulder rate, and down to $0.04 kWh for Off-peak rate.

Even so, commercial consumers charges are calculated behind a deceptive "Jedi cloak of invisibility", with very hard to understand and diversionary charge algorithm's, that very few people understand, nor want to, when all they want is a fare go!

Energy bills consist of the following price components:

  • Cost of electricity (commodity price).
  • Network charges (the cost to transmit and distribute of electricity, from generators through wires to end-users).
  • Retail margin (the on-sell cost from retailer to customer, deceptively inflated by Retail power companies by up to 50%).
  • Government and market charges (e.g. AEMO charges).
  • The costs of environmental schemes and other add-ons (National - LRET, SRES, State - VEET, ESS, GEC).

For those that investigate it, the bulk of your bill is made up of network charges and the commodity cost of electricity. Network charges continue to increase year-on-year to support upgrades to an ageing network infrastructure to meet demand across the NEM.  Renewable energy charges have also increased and make up the environmental proportion of your bill.

National Metering Identifier (NMI) – is a ten-character unique identifier located on your electricity bill used to identify your supply point. The structure of the NMI consists of alphanumeric components that contain no spaces. Depending on your zone, the first 2 to 5 digits identify the electricity network of you meter. Your NMI may also contain a checksum value as an eleventh digit.

Metering Installation Registration Number (MIRN) – is a ten-character unique identifier located on your power bill used to identify your supply point. The structure of the MIRN consists of alphanumeric components that contain no spaces. In relation to the first characters 3 characters, the first digit identifies the energy category (5 signifies gas); the second digit represents the state; and the third digit denotes the distributor.

Network Charges

The actual commodity cost of electricity is just one element of your electricity bill. The majority of your bill is made up of other various charges from stakeholders in the supply chain. The overall cost of your electricity can be greatly affected by these charges. For example, while the commodity cost remains relatively competitive, maintenance on network infrastructure has seen bills dramatically increase as these charges are passed on from the retailer to the consumer.

Transmission Losses are incurred during the transport of electricity from the generator to the through poles and wires of the network.

Distribution Losses are incurred during the transport and delivery of electricity through a network’s poles and wires to the end user.

Environmental Charges

Renewable Energy Target (RETs)The scheme requires 20% of Australia’s electricity to be produced from renewable energy sources by 2020. Australian electricity retailers and large wholesale purchasers of electricity must meet annual targets, creating a financial incentive for investment in renewable energy sources through the creation and sale of certificates.  The scheme is split into two parts: the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET) and the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES). Energy users nationwide are subject to both charges.

Energy Savings Scheme (ESS) in New South Wales – Introduced 1 July 2009 by the NSW Government, the scheme encourages greater efficiency of electricity use in households, industry and commerce. Energy users in NSW are subject to this charge, itemised as “ESS” or “ESCs” on an unbundled bill.

The NSW Greenhouse Gas Abatement Certificates (NGACs) scheme ceased operation on 30 June 2012.

Gas Electricity Certificates (GEC) in Queensland – The Queensland Gas Scheme began in 2005 and was established to boost the state's gas industry and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Under the scheme, Queensland electricity retailers and other liable parties are required to source a prescribed percentage (currently 15%) of their electricity from gas-fired generation. Energy users in Queensland are subject to this charge, itemised as “CEGs” on an unbundled bill.

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