Cost Reflective Tariffs

Cost Reflective Tariffs encouraged people to move their electricity consumption from peak times to off-peak periods by adjusting the price charged at certain times each day.

This helped reduce the overall peak load and is referred to as load shifting, a common practice in many other places in Australia. Cost reflective tariffs better represent the cost to generate and provide power to customers during peak and off-peak periods.

As part of the Alice Solar City project a cost reflective trial was conducted. This trial concluded on 31 May 2013 and residents could claim the No Worse off Safety Net until 14 June 2013.

Alice Solar City saw 370 residents sign up to this trial (and a further 277 joined the trial as part of installing a BP Solar PV system). Alice Solar City monitored the consumption patterns of the participants, producing results that will inform future energy policy. 

Smart Meter

As part of the package, those residents taking part in the trial had their power meter replaced with a Smart Meter.

As soon as the Smart Meter was installed, the residents moved from the flat rate electricity tariff (currently 25.83 cents/kWh all day everyday) to the split tariffs (see rates below).

The Power and Water smart meter will remain in place and continue to be remotely read. This arrangement will be reviewed by Power and Water 12 months after the trial has concluded.

If you have a smart meter and want to know more about how to read the display, take a look at this easy to use guide.

In-house Display

As part of the trial, householders also received an interactive in-house display (IHD). This small, portable LCD display communicates with the Smart Meter and using the touch-screen householders are able to see a graph of current energy consumption, CO2 emissions and historical consumption data. In-house display

You can download a copy of the In-House display manual here.  You can download the instructions for changing the tariffs on your IHD here.

There was no upfront charge for the in-house displays and although they remain the property of the Power and Water Corporation, residents were given the option of retaining the display after the end of the trial.

The IHD is not available to be rolled out to any other homes. If you are interested in options to get a display for your home, visit our appliances page for some third party options that are available.

IHD maintenance and service issues post-Alice Solar City

If you experience connection issues or faults with your in-house display from the 14th of June 2013 onwards, you will need to contact:

Neil Rilatt
Solice Energy Solutions
m: 0487 154 675
e: neil@solice.com.au
w: solice.com.au

Tariffs

 The most recent residential Cost Reflective Tariffs in Alice Springs from January 1st, 2013  until 31 May 2013 were: 

  • Peak:  9am – 6pm Monday  to Friday, including public holidays: 37.75 cents / kWh
  •  Off-peak:  All other times, including weekends: 21.89 cents / kWh 
  • Daily fixed charges: Standard charges as per a normal account (48.08 cents / day)

When the trial ended on 31 May 2013 the households reverted back to the standard flat tariff of 25.83 cents /kWh. Residents with an in-house display will need to change the tariffs in the IHD on 1 June 2013 to 25.83 cents.

For the electricity cost information in your IHD to be accurate, you will need to update the tariffs whenever Power and Water raise their prices. For information on how to update your IHD, click here.

Was anyone worse off financially?

Depending on the time of electricity consumption, participants in the CRT trial could have end up being charged more for their electricity consumption than they would have on the standard domestic tariff. To address this risk, the Cost Reflective Tariff trial included a No Worse off Safety Net, whereby participants could claim a credit if they had paid more than they would otherwise have on the flat tariff.

Alice Solar City developed an on-line calculator to help residents assess if they were worse off under CRT than the flat rate tariff - Click here to view to the calculator

How to take advantage of cheaper power costs under CRT

By taking advantage of cheaper off peak power available under CRT, residents could reduce the cost of their energy bill.

  • If three-quarters of the total household electricity used was during the off-peak period, the CRT would reduce the cost of the electricity bill compared to a flat rate tariff.
  • Where possible, appliances such as computers, washing machines, and pool pumps should have been used during off peak times.
  • Residents should be mindful of using the air conditioner during the day.
  • Residents should try to avoid using too much electricity during the peak periods; turn appliances off stand-by, turn off unused fridges, don't leave lights on during the day, etc.

Despite the CRT trial ending, residents of Alice Springs can still make a difference to the community by maintaining the habit of using as much of their electricity during off-peak times as possible. If enough households do this, peak load at the Power Station is reduced, which can defer expensive infrastructure upgrades.