Power Trial Extended

The application deadline for farmers to join a trial of off-peak and demand-based electricity tariffs has been extended to Tuesday, 2 May.

demand-based electricity tariffsEnergy Minister Mark Bailey says the extension of the deadline was a result of the devastation and flooding which followed TC Debbie across much of regional Queensland.

“We’re recruiting up to 200 farmers to participate in three separate trials that will help in developing future tariffs for primary producers.”

“We want to achieve a diverse and representative selection in each trial group to assist us better in understanding the potential for offering controlled load and seasonal demand tariffs as an alternative to the current transitional agricultural tariffs that expire in 2020.

The first trial involves the use of a controlled load tariff to supply key farm loads, including irrigation pumps and ancillary farm equipment.

The aim is to understand the implications for farms in switching from tariffs with power available 24/7 to a controlled load tariff with limited hours of supply at a lower price.

For the purposes of this trial, participants will be placed on Tariff 33, an economy tariff used by many households for hot water systems, pool pumps and other equipment that does not need continuous power.

The second group would trial the use of Tariff 24, a new seasonal time of use demand tariff.

It is expected some customers will make immediate savings on this demand tariff but, given the uncertainty, participants in this group will have a safety net to ensure they pay no more than what they would have on their current tariff.

The third group will remain on their current tariffs, but would receive a free digital electricity meter that records energy consumption and demand in 30 minute intervals.

Their usage data will help Ergon improve its understanding of the load profiles of agricultural customers under current arrangements and give participating customers detailed insight into their energy use profile, helping them to compare all tariff options.

The first two trials would run until June next year and the third trial until June 2019.

All participants will receive a free digital meter and, at completion of the trial, they can choose to receive detailed analysis to help them transition to the most suitable tariff option.

Application forms are available from Ergon or online at ergon.com.au/agtarifftrial and must be submitted by May 2.