Tasmanian Energy Tariffs
To help you better understand your Tariffs, we’ve provided an overview of the current Residential status quo for power usage in Tasmania.
NOTE: In response to increasing power costs, many consumers have been asking about adding battery storage to solar systems. Answers to common questions regarding this topical issue can be found under Solar Power Hybrid on our website.
A Tariff is an agreed cost for providing energy between Tasmanian consumers and Aurora. It includes both fixed (supply) and variable (consumption-based) charges.
In this state there are a number of Tariffs which collectively determine the total cost of your power bill. Table 1 provides a brief summary of current Aurora Residential Tariffs, updated as at 1 July this year (2017):
Tariffs and Solar Installation
As may be seen from Table 1, power is not cheap. To reduce the financial and environmental cost of power, increasing numbers of customers are offsetting power consumption by installing residential solar PV (photo-volatic) systems. This enables customers to generate power for their own consumption, and to export surplus power back to the grid. Surplus power is purchased by Aurora at a rate determined by the Customers’ feed-in Tariff.
A feed-in Tariff is the amount paid by an electricity retailer to a customer who exports (‘feeds’) electricity to the grid. In Tasmania, this is paid as a dollar-based deduction from the Customers’ electricity bill. Table 2 shows the current Residential Feed-in Tariffs for Tasmania:
Unfortunately the benefit customers can receive from Solar systems is curtailed by the fact that a solar system may only be linked to ONE Tariff (commonly Tariff 31).
This means that surplus power not used by a designated Tariff is exported back to the grid, where it is sold, perforce, to Aurora at a relatively low rate.* Power must then be re-purchased (at a minimum of twice the Feed-in rate) to supply other Tariff/s on the same residence, even when solar systems technically generate sufficient energy to meet all residential power needs.
In an effort to address this issue, the Tasmanian Renewable Energy Association (TREA) made a submission to the Tasmanian Economic Regulator supporting the introduction of a new ‘opt-in’ Time-of-Use Tariff (Tariff 93). ‘Opt-in’ means that customers may choose to switch from their current tariffs to this new tariff at their own discretion. As noted in Table 1, this will involve a small fee to TasNetworks for installing a new meter.
[*Unless you are on the Legacy Feed-In Tariff. Refer to Table 2 above.]
This ‘Time of Use’ Tariff is based on two time-specific cost periods, Peak and Off-Peak. As seen in Figure 1, Peak periods are from 7-10am and 4-9pm AEST Monday to Friday, and are set to a premium power charge (31.307c/kWh). All other times (including weekends) are classified as Off-Peak, with an attractively low energy charge (14.577c/kWh). Please note: As these times are Australian Eastern Standard Times, they will not follow daylight saving changes.
Figure 1: Peak and Off-Peak Periods for the ‘Time of Use’ Tariff. Figure courtesy of TREA
It is a significant benefit of this Tariff that there are no restrictions on the use of supply. This will enable customers to combine multiple Tariffs into one, maximising power consumption from residential solar systems.
Table 3 (below) gives a comparison of the new ‘Time of Use’ Tariff 93 compared with ‘standard’ non-Legacy Solar array:
Despite real advantages from well-managed power consumption under this Tariff, consideration should be given to heating, hot-water, or any other device which would draw on substantial amounts of energy. If they habitually run or are much used during the peak-periods, this Tariff may not be the best option, or battery storage may be required to supplement power supply during these times.
For those with Battery storage, this Tariff offers significant benefits. Batteries could be charged either from a solar array or the grid during off-peak times to ensure sufficient energy is available to power a residence during Peak times, allowing significant savings on grid-sourced energy consumption.
For more information on Tasmania’s Tariff and renewable energy situation visit the Tasmanian Renewable Energy Association which we are member of.