Electricity

Solar, energy storage and local electricity trading

Solar is a good option if you own your roof or can negotiate with the owner. The economics of installing just solar (no storage) is better if you use energy during the day and less at night, and your bills are more than, say $250 per quarter as of 2017 Q1. Solar, storage and local electricity trading is a good option if you use more energy at night. Local electricity trading is not available at the moment in most locations, but that may change soon with providers like LO3 Energy and Power Ledger. However, you can sign up with retailers like Reposit Power to get ‘grid credits’ for producing energy at times of high electricity prices.

Energy monitoring, automatic feedback for plan switching

One way to monitor energy is to get products from retailers that help you to do this, such as Ninja Sphere, which will automatically find the best plan for you based on your energy usage and make it simple to switch over. I don’t know if this device does this for people living outside Australia, you might want to contact the product sellers about this.

Plans comparison website

You may use an and gas contracts comparison website such as Energy Made Easy. However, this website does not list some retailers on the market, such as Click Energy, and may not actually have the best deals available on the market. Click Energy is a good retailer to go with if you have a solar system as they have a 10 c/kWh electricity buyback rate, which is good for the average house as it exports about 60% (Economic analysis retrofits v2). For Energy Made Easy, make sure to use the “Tips for choosing the right energy deal” checklist. As you read this advice you may find that it sounds like quite a hassle, which is why Ninja Sphere is attractive as it makes the process of finding and switching to the best retailer simple. You can use this site to find the best energy deals for you on the market. The comparison tool allows you to compare offers with features such as:

  • exclusive of all discounts, inclusive of non-conditional discounts and inclusive of all discounts (conditional and non-conditional)
  • additional fees and charges (e.g. late payment or direct debit fees),
  • discounts and other incentives for payments on-time,
  • early-exit fees,
  • contract types (fixed term, flexible, flat-rate, time of use),
  • flexible payment options (e.g. direct debit),
  • useful extras (e.g. household energy audits),
  • offers available to solar customers (e.g. electricity buyback rates),  and
  • GreenPower offers—electricity that comes from renewable sources such as wind and solar, but comes at a premium cost compared to “black” electricity which comes from any electricity in the grid, which is predominantly supplied by coal, then gas, followed by about 5% hydro and 5% renewables on a national average. However, it is better economically and environmentally to install a solar photovoltaic (PV) system if you haven’t already done so and to use energy wisely. It is better to use energy wisely first then install a PV system, rather than the other way around, because you will need to generate less energy to meet what you use, and more  money can be saved per unit of energy (e.g. kWh) from using less grid electricity than can be made by exporting electricity to the grid with PV. With GreenPower you can do good for the environment but still is not very sustainable (true sustainability needs to be economically, socially and environmentally sustainable) if it costs more than black electricity. But black electricity is not sustainable either from an environmental and social perspective (global warming, health impacts, etc.) and from an economic perspective (PV is cheaper in the long-run and even in the short-run with a lease agreement or loan!). Keep in mind that renewable energy reduces electricity prices in the long-term, so even though GreenPower is more expensive than conventional electricity, if everybody got GreenPower than electricity prices would be more likely to decrease in the long-term.

For an example of a electricity and gas bills comparison, you can see here: Electricity and gas comparison.

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