THE TRUTH ABOUT ENERGY TARIFFS

Learn how the Queensland energy tariffs work and how you can get the most out of them to suit your needs.

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Truth about energy tariffs in QLD

Many Australians share the belief that economy tariffs are great for appliances like hot water systems and pool pumps that don’t need a constant supply of power.  But as more and more Australian households switch to solar, these tariffs are no longer the most economic option. Read on to learn how the Queensland energy tariffs work and how you can get the most out of them by switching to a solar-hybrid battery system.


WHAT IS AN ENERGY TARIFF?

Put simply, a tariff is the price you’re charged for the energy you use. In Queensland, tariffs vary and depend on the type of meter you have and who your energy distributer is (e.g. Ergon Energy, Energex). Tariffs can include:

  • General supply tariffs
  • Time of use tariffs
  • Demand tariffs
  • Economy tariffs
  • Farming tariffs

For the purpose of this article, we will focus on the General supply tariffs and Economy tariffs as they are the most widely used. This includes:

  • Tariff 11 – General supply
  • Tariff 31 – Economy (8-hours per day)
  • Tariff 33 – Economy (18-hours per day)

HOW DO ENERGY TARIFFS WORK?

TARIFF 11

For most Queensland households, Tariff 11 is the general supply tariff. This tariff allows you to power appliances on a constant basis or at a regular time each day. This is used for standard lighting, power, air-conditioning and other circuits which require constant supply of power.

TARIFF 31

Tariff 31 is reserved for electric hot water systems holding 250L or more, that only need to reheat at night. Power is available for a minimum of 8 hours per day on this tariff. The typical tariff hours are 9pm to 5am; however, the times when power is switched off may change from day to day and vary in duration at the discretion of the energy distributor.

TARIFF 33

Tariff 33 is most commonly used for pool pumps, electric hot water systems holding 125L or more, heat pump systems holding 270L or more and solar hot water systems(with boosters) holding 160L or more. Power is available for a minimum of 18hours each day on this tariff. Typically power is not available on this tariff between 6pm and 9pm; however, like tariff 31, the times when power is switched off may vary and is at the discretion of the distributor.

The graphic above shows an average home with an electric hot water system, pool and solar array. In this home, the electric hot water system is situated on Tariff 33 and can draw power from the grid for 8hours per day to heat water at $0.14 per kilowatt (14c/kW). The pool pump is on Tariff 33 and can draw power from the grid for up to 18hours per day at $0.17 per kilowatt (17c/kW).

All other appliances and circuits including the general lighting and power circuits are on Tariff 11. This allows continuous electricity supply 24 hours per day and is supplied at $0.24 per kilowatt (24c/kW) for any electricity used from the grid. 

The solar system is connected to the switchboard and will supply electricity to the general lighting and power circuits first and foremost. Unused solar power is sold back to the grid for $0.06 per kilowatt (6c/kW). 

Please note: These are average tariff rates and have calculated from current pricing provided by Queensland energy retailers.

DO ECONOMY ENERGY TARIFFS AFFECT MY SOLAR?

The short answer is yes, by still having some of your appliances on an economy tariff, you may not be making the most of your solar system.

The average solar feed-in tariff in Queensland is currently 6.6c/kW with many retailers sitting around the 4c/kW mark. This is drastically lower than the original 50c/kW+ feed-in tariffs offered during the solar booms of yesteryear. Energy retailers have been engaged in a race to the bottom of-likes over recent years as more and more Queensland homes opt to install solar.

If you’re on a low feed-in tariff, the best way to make the most out of your solar energy is to use or store the power generated during the day. 

This means instead of having your electric hot water system on Tariff 31, you can move this over to T11 and install a timer so that the system will only heat when your solar system is generating power. Similarly, pool pumps can also be placed on a timer and utilize the solar energy.

For the example depicted above, by moving the hot water system from T31 to T11 and making use of the solar power during the day, the homeowner is saving approximately $183.45 per quarter. This has been calculated below:

Hot Water System running for 4hrs x 3600W = 14.4kWh per day
14.4kWh x 91 days x $0.14 = $183.45 per quarter

The savings are even larger when moving the pool pump from T33 to solar is considered. The homeowner will save approximately $148.51 per quarter as shown below:

Pool Pump running for 8hrs x 1200W = 9.6kWh per day
9.6kWh x 91 days x $0.17 = $148.51 per quarter

By doing this, you can reduce your energy consumed from the grid through using higher-value solar energy during the day.  This is illustrated in the solar generation chart below which shows a standard 6.6kW solar system with 5kW inverter.

HOW ELSE CAN I MAKE THE MOST OUT OF MY SOLAR AND THE T11 TARIFF?

The absolute best way to make the most out of your solar system and switching your appliances to the T11 tariff is by installing a solar battery.

The excess energy produced during the day will charge your solar battery, allowing you to use ‘free’ energy produced during the day to power your home at night and – depending on your equipment – during blackouts or grid outages.

By installing a solar battery, you will reduce the amount of energy purchased from the grid, in-turn limiting the usage charge on your electricity bill. 

Goodhew Electrical and Solar have a range of hybrid solar battery systems to meet your needs. Give us a call and chat to a Goodhew Solar Consultant today for more information.

6.6kW HYBRID SOLAR SYSTEM

$ 12,991
  • 18x LONGI Tier 1 370W Black Frame Solar Panels
  • 5kW Smart Hybrid Inverter with touch display and WiFi connectivity
  • 10.1kWh Alpha ESS Lithium-Ion battery
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ABOUT GOODHEW ELECTRICAL AND SOLAR

Goodhew Electrical and Solar is a local Cleveland-based company specialising in solar power, off-grid systems, electrical, lighting and air conditioning. The business was founded in 2007 and proudly services all of Queensland and Northern New South Wales. 

At Goodhew Electrical and Solar, it’s not just about installing panels on a roof – it’s about so much more – an end-to-end process with ongoing customer care for the lifetime of the system. We work with our customers to design an system for their needs – whether it is to offset growing energy costs, eliminate power bills through credit or to be completely self-sufficient. We then install the system using only qualified, fully-employed CEC accredited installers (no subcontractors). 

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