So one of the first things I need to do when I get my apartment today is get the electricity on. I've actually already ordered ADSL, which shows you what I think is more important, but without electricity, there is no Internet...
It would appear that in 2007, Queensland opened up its electricity and gas markets to "full retail competition". According to Energex, they do the generation, distribution, and the retailer handles connections, disconnections, billing and green energy.
I still need to deal directly with Energex for power outages, reporting faulty street lights, requesting a tree that's near power lines be trimmed, and so on.
So if the retailers have no say in what price they're paying for the electricity that's being generated by Energex, I'm struggling to see what their point is. I guess they get to differentiate on customer service, but really, that's it?
It was also really hard to find a canonical list of retailers to choose from. I would have thought that'd be linked off Energex's "Choosing your electricity retailer" page, but no, it's buried in the FAQ.
Now it comes down to a case of doing a comparison between 11 retailers and trying to choose one. Or just going with the first one on the list. It's just electricity, people. It's a utility. I do not want to expend as much time on choosing an electricity retailer as I would my ISP (interestingly, it looks like Dodo has gotten in on the electricity retailing act).
But one could say that an upside of having jet lag and being awake since 3am, is that one has time to comparison shop the 11 electricity retailers, except I won't. I'll just write this blog post instead.
I have heard of one horror story, where a homeowner returned to living in his house, and had a nightmare time with one retailer because the previous occupants had an outstanding debt with that retailer, and he was trying to get a connection going with a different retailer, and lots of hilarity ensued. Except it wasn't hilarious. So I'll have to keep an eye on that.
My current thought is to go with AGL, because
- there is brand recognition there from when I lived in Canberra and used ActewAGL
- it looks like I can sign up online without having to talk to anyone (as soon as my damn mobile phone number ports over to Internode and starts working)
- they're first on the list of electricity retailers
What's pretty crazy is that at no point from quickly skimming AGL's landing page for Queensland pricing is there any indication of kWh or an actual price for anything. There's lots of noise about discounts, and flexibility, and other nonsense, but it seems like the actual cost of energy is so buried, it's incredible. It seems to be all about locking in on a contract, which is somewhat amazing. This is just electricity, but they seem to have turned this into a mobile phone plan type of situation. Amazing.
After more digging, it looks like I can pay 5.5 cents per kWh for 100% green energy. Maybe.