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Victoria's Energy Nightmare

As the only energy management consultancy with eight different services, our retail procurement focus on behalf of commercial and industrial electricity users is on the customer’s appetite for risk and market timing.

Without Choice Energy, businesses often forgo the optimum steps when securing the best available contracted rates, thus needlessly throwing their money away.


The energy market is very similar to the stock market where energy wholesale pricing is based on market trends and the cost of generation to create the power. So, an increase in global gas pricing (gas is used to produce electricity) has an adverse effect on the wholesale electricity cost. The same goes for coal, brown coal (basically they burn mud) and other non-renewable energy sources. Without a renewed and constant understanding of the market, it can seem very complicated which makes decision making no easy task.

Australia’s cheapest large-scale power generation comes from coal-fired power stations. In 2016, the South Australian government closed its last coal-fired power stations at Port Augusta and Playford. However, they completely overestimated how quickly large-scale renewable energy resources (wind and solar) could be built to meet the demand previously met by Port Augusta and Playford. Blackouts aside, since July 2015 the cost of power in South Australia has risen from around $50 per MWh to $124 per MWh- more than double in less than 2 years.

Because South Australia relies on other states to top up the lack of generation, this has had a big domino effect when, more noticeably, a recent SA heatwave left over 30,000 properties without power.

Until it closed in March 2017, Hazelwood was Victoria’s second-biggest generator. The 1,600-megawatt capacity power station generated 25% of Victoria’s power and 5% of Australia’s National Energy Market. Due to the closure, 800 people lost their jobs and the cost of wholesale power rose 265% in a 12-month period, causing bill shock – again because demand outweighed supply. Victoria’s market conditions draw parallels to those in South Australia with large market contracts as high as 19c/kWh for peak times.

What should businesses be doing to mitigate the risk of being hit with substantial price shocks?

Businesses unsure of the optimal procurement options available should seek advice from a third-party energy consultant. Waiting to see what happens to the wholesale price of power is a big mistake as timing is everything. Choice Energy has helped thousands of customers to forward-purchase and secure energy rates up to 24-months in advance.

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