Diary of a geek

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Andrew Pollock

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Monday, 01 April 2013

On Queensland electricity retailers

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.

[13:19] [life/repatexpat] [permalink]

Day #1 of repatriation

Well, we're back in Brisbane, for good. Now starts the long and involved process of bootstrapping a new life for myself. Fortunately it's slightly more familiar territory than starting up in the US was.

The tenants in my Hawthorne apartment have agreed to terminate their lease early, and I should get the keys tomorrow. The lease on my Woolloongabba apartment ends on Friday I think, and all of our stuff is scheduled to be delivered there next Monday.

My primary goal is to get my apartment habitable for Zoe and I as soon as possible. That means beds and a fridge, and Zoe's going to need some way of being kept entertained while I'm running around like a chook with its head cut off, which is most likely going to mean a TV and a DVD player.

This week is going to be spent doing a lot of running around. I need to get a car, get a Queensland driver's licence, get the electricity on, get the ADSL on, buy appliances, furnish Zoe's room, furnish my room, heck, furnish the whole apartment, really. It's going to be very full on busy. I don't want to race out and buy anything today, even though the shops seem to be open, because I want to measure up my apartment first.

The day's sole purchase was an electric screwdriver from Bunnings. There will be much Ikea assembly in my future.

[10:54] [life/repatexpat] [permalink]