Australian news, and some related international items

Western Australia’s State-owned regional power provider Horizon encourages off-peak electricity use

Peak power users to pay more, The , 

Households that guzzle power during periods of peak demand would be charged more for the right to be connected to the grid under a mobile phone-style payment trial aimed at slashing costs for consumers.

In a move that could pave the way for electricity pricing reform across WA, State-owned regional power provider Horizon has tested charging customers according to how much pressure they put on the grid during peak demand times.

During the four months to March 31, more than 400 residential and small business customers were put on to payments plans and given a monthly “allowance” of energy they could use between 1pm and 8pm.

Those homes that used the most power during the peak were charged a higher monthly fixed sum than customers that drew relatively little from the grid…….

Horizon Power managing director Frank Tudor said the trial was aimed at cutting pressure on the grid during peak times — and thereby avoiding the need for costly upgrades to its capacity — by giving customers more choice and control over their bills.

Mr Tudor noted that under the trial households that were able to shift their use to off-peak periods could become eligible for a cheaper fixed plan, while they would avoid “bill shocks” from one month to the next.

He said the pilot also highlighted the benefits of advanced meters, which showed how much each customer typically uses during the peak and enabled Horizon to target individual allowances.

“A mobile phone style of electricity plan would give customers more choice and control over their electricity bills,” he said.

“This pricing structure is also sophisticated enough to adapt to new technologies like solar PV and battery storage solutions and to apportion charges to customers fairly but, at the same time, is simple enough to be easily understood by users.”

According to Mr Tudor, 97 per cent of customers were willing to change their behaviour to take advantage of the incentives.

He also said mobile phone-style payment plans would help rather than hinder the uptake of technologies such as solar panels and batteries.

April 19, 2017 - Posted by | energy, Western Australia

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