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The difference between electricity tariffs

Wondering what the differences are between the various tariffs? Us too. 

Just kidding. We know all about this stuff. The different tariffs are largely determined by your type of meter and by the local distributor in your area (the people who look after the poles and wires). Let us explain:

There are three types of electricity tariffs

  • single rate
  • time of use, and
  • controlled load.

Single rate tariffs

This tariff means there are no peak or off-peak periods, you pay the same rate whatever time of day you use energy.

The rate is usually lower than the peak rate of a time of use tariff. A single rate could be a good way to go if:

  • You are at home a lot in the evening Monday to Friday. 
  • You need to use your appliances, like your washing machine or dishwasher, more during weekdays.

 Single rate tariffs are sometimes called:

  • flat rate
  • standard rate 
  • anytime rate, or
  • peak rate.

Single rate tariffs are available to everyone. You don’t need a smart meter to get a single rate tariff offer.

Time of use tariffs

This means the rates change at different set times of the day.

  • Peak—electricity costs the most. Peak rates usually apply in the late afternoon/evening on Monday to Friday. In Ausgrid in NSW this is 2pm-8pm on weekdays.
  • Shoulder—electricity costs a bit less than peak. Shoulder rates usually apply in between peak and off-peak periods. In Ausgrid in NSW this is 7am-2pm and 8pm-10pm on weekdays, and 7am-10pm on weekends.
  • Off-peak—electricity is cheapest. Off-peak rates apply outside of the times listed above.

These times can differ across different distribution areas, please refer to the relevant electricity price fact sheet for the peak, shoulder and off-peak times in your region.  

A time of use tariff offer could be a good choice if:

  • You are out a lot in the evenings Monday to Friday. 
  • You are at home during the day or on weekends. 
  • You use your appliances more on the weekend.

To get a time of use tariff, you need a smart meter that measures your electricity usage at different times of the day.

You can ask for a smart meter to be installed but this may add an additional cost. Please talk to us about how we can help.

Controlled load tariffs

For some appliances, you can be charged a controlled load tariff for fixed appliances (meaning they have fixed power wiring) such as:

  • slab or underfloor heating, or
  • electric hot water systems.

This means that the energy used by these appliances is charged separately. Sometimes the appliance has its own meter.

It is usually only for appliances that run overnight or in off-peak times. The local poles and wires operator is able to reduce the flow of energy to these appliances at peak times. This eases pressure on the network, which is why the prices for these rates are lower.

 Controlled Load 1 vs Controlled Load 2 

  • Controlled Load 1 is for electricity that’s usually available for a set number of hours each day. In the Ausgrid region which covers Sydney, for example, this is a 6 hour duration between 10pm and 7am.
  • Controlled Load 2 is for electricity that’s usually available for a longer period each day hours per day, often split into two periods. In Ausgrid this is:
    • More than 6 hours between 8pm and 7am, and
    • More than 4 hours between 7am and 5pm

These times can differ across different distribution areas, please refer to the relevant electricity price fact sheet for your region. 

Learn more

What type of tariff am I currently on?

You should be able to see this on your bill. If you’re in doubt, just email us a copy of your current retailer’s bill or send us the NMI that you’ll find on it. We can then check the national electricity market to see how your meter has been configured. Our address is or you can call us on 1300 MY ENERGY. 

What type of tariff is best for me?

Unless you have a PhD in maths, or are very bored, this isn’t a question most people want to answer. We love this stuff though! If you drop us an email with a copy of a recent bill, we’ll put the numbers through our systems and let you know.

Remember, we don’t earn money from the number of units of energy our customers use, so we’re as incentivised as you to get you on the right tariff.

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