October 4, 2012

Households in Sydney and the Hunter have a chance to save money on their energy bills by signing up to take part in new voluntary energy retail trials.

EnergyAustralia has today announced it has signed up as the retail partner for the Australian Government’s Smart Grid, Smart City Project.
As part of the project, EnergyAustralia is running a series of product trials, which customers can elect to participate in, including:
  • Air-conditioning cycling – households who opt into this product will be given rebates of between $15 and $40 for allowing their air-conditioners compressor to be switched off for 30** minute intervals in peak times, up to six occasions from January to March. The air-conditioner’s fan will continue to operate. Customers could receive up to $240 in total;
  • Dynamic pricing – households who opt into this product can substantially benefit from a low tariff for the majority of the year and will be notified by SMS before a peak pricing period occurs so they can avoid high prices by turning off appliances. As part of the trial, there will be up to 14 peak events a year, lasting from one to four hours***;
  • Discounts for staying in credit – customers who opt into this product will get a 12.5 per cent discount for keeping their account in credit.  Customers will receive SMS alerts to notify them when their estimated balance is low and they should top up to avoid losing the discount. If a customer does not stay in credit, their energy supply will not be impacted. Instead they will lose their discount if they go into debit; and
  • Seasonal time of use – customers who opt into this product will have no peak rates in spring and autumn, but will have a peak rate in summer and winter as well as the usual shoulder and off-peak rates which could save smart energy users money.
The first round of invitations has been sent to 55,000 existing EnergyAustralia customers asking them to register their interest in the trial.
Group Executive Manager of Retail, Adrian Merrick, said the trial aimed to assess which products provided the most benefit to customers. 
“These voluntary trials are about learning and understanding what consumers want and need to save money and take control of their energy use,” Mr Merrick said.
“As energy costs rise, it’s important we find new ways to support our customers and that’s what these trials are all about.
“We want to see if these innovative offers help people better understand their energy consumption, save on their electricity bills and at the same time letting us know if the products are what our customers want in the future.”
The trials are voluntary for selected households and will continue until September next year. 
The pricing trials will be offered to selected households in the Smart Grid, Smart City trial areas across Sydney, including Ku-ring-gai, Newington and Auburn, as well as Newcastle, Upper Hunter, Lake Macquarie, Cessnock and Muswellbrook.
People who register their interest in the trials will undergo a brief survey to assess their suitability.
This Australian Government-funded pricing trial aims to have more than 8000 households participating to test the benefits for consumers and reduce peak demand on the electricity grid.
Households taking part in the trial will have a new generation smart meter installed to allow them to monitor their energy use, costs and help them save on their bills. 
EnergyAustralia will be holding information seminars about these trials on:
  • Thursday, 20 September, 2012, 12.30-1.30pm or 6-7pm at the Smart Grid, Smart City Centre, 19 Honeysuckle Drive, Newcastle 2300 (Located West of the Honeysuckle Hotel);
  • Friday 21 September 2012, 12.30-1.30pm, Ausgrid Auditorium, Ausgrid Head Office, Ground Floor, 570 George Street, Sydney, 2000 (opposite Town Hall)
For more information go to 
About Smart Grid, Smart City
Smart Grid, Smart City is a three-year, $100 million Australian Government project across five sites in Newcastle, Sydney and the Upper Hunter. Smart Grid, Smart City creates a testing ground for new energy technologies to help shape the future of energy use across the country.
Ausgrid is delivering the project, with a consortium, on behalf of the Australian Government. EnergyAustralia is the project’s retail partner. 
Smart grids provide instant information about the electricity network to make it more efficient, reduce interruptions, support more renewable energy and give households more control over their energy use.
** Please note this has now been changed to 15 minute intervals.
*** Please note this has now been changed to one to three hours.