Peak plan for power savings

Claire TyrrellThe West Australian
Residents in regional WA could save up to $300 a year.
Camera IconResidents in regional WA could save up to $300 a year. Credit: WA News

Residents in regional WA could save up to $300 a year on their power bill and businesses could save up to $1500 by controlling their peak electricity use, according to Horizon Power.

WA’s regional electricity provider has started trials of a pricing model in Port Hedland where customers are rewarded for using off-peak electricity.

The approach differs from Western Power’s proposed time-of-use tariffs that would charge customers more for electricity during peak times.

Horizon Power wants to charge for electricity like mobile phone providers charge for phone use, based on peak use.

Horizon Power managing director Frank Tudor said he hoped capping electricity use would flatten demand. “The ultimate driver is to reduce peak usage, so what we’d like to see is the peak looking much more like the average,” he said.

He said the idea behind the plan was to reward customers with discounts for staying on a plan. A resident could earn a $300 discount each year and a big business could save $1500.

More than 400 Port Hedland residents are taking part in the three-month trial, which will determine Horizon’s pitch to the State Government to change legislation around pricing models.

“We want to provide incentives for residents to curb their behaviour and make savings as a result of that,” Mr Tudor said.

“We as a utility will benefit in the long term, so will the State, so will taxpayers, by having less network capacity. The peak will come down and we won’t need as much of that capacity that is inefficiently used at the moment.”

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With the advent of electric cars, if everyone charged them during peak times it would result in a cost burden in the billions of dollars for energy providers under the current tariff structure.

“If you look into the medium to long-term future, this is absolutely imperative,” Mr Tudor said. “We must be pricing peak appropriately otherwise the system will break down.”

He said the proposed power plan would encourage more households to embrace renewable energy.

“Solar and batteries can be used to manage overall consumption and particularly peak consumption with batteries, so by providing these plans people will be able to look at how they can drop a plan potentially by buying a battery and solar,” Mr Tudor said.

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