Did you know Victoria has the dirtiest coal-fired power plants in Australia? Or that it also has the most ripped-off electricity market, with the biggest profit margins for retailers — over three times higher than in New South Wales, Queensland or South Australia?1
Big power is raking it in, exploiting the planet and the public — and you and I are paying the price.
That’s why Environment Victoria has joined forces with Powershop, Australia’s greenest energy retailer, to call for nothing less than a revolution in power supply. Together, we’re offering 100 percent carbon neutral electricity that works to safeguard our climate and generally costs less than the rest.
In October 2014, the Essential Services Commission in Victoria issued a report on electricity prices in the state which found that ‘taking into account all available discounts, the lowest overall prices were most commonly available from Powershop’. Powershop was also ranked one of the cheapest electricity retailers in Victoria in St Vincent de Paul's 2015 Tariff-Tracking project.
Plus, when you switch to Powershop with us, Environment Victoria receives a financial contribution towards its Power Revolution campaign to shift Victoria from dirty brown coal to clean renewables.
And if you want to support renewable energy projects in Australia even further, Powershop offers a range of additional GreenPower products, including an Environment Victoria pack that returns 1c per kilowatt hour back to our campaign.
About Power Revolution
Powered by every switch, our Power Revolution campaign will pressure governments to retire old coal power stations, remove unfair polluter handouts, support clean green renewable energy, reinstate an ambitious emissions reduction target, and ramp up mine rehabilitation so a disaster like the Morwell mine fire never happens again.
In 2015, our partnership with Powershop helped us to:
- expose the social costs of coal power stations
- reveal that the government had granted new coal licences
- successfully campaign to strengthen the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target
- build a mobile billboard promoting clean energy to tour marginal electorates
- set a leadership agenda for the Andrews Government through our 'Six Steps to Leadership' reports on climate change and efficiency.
In 2016, our partnership with Powershop will continue to contribute to these campaigns. We're aiming to:
- secure a strong state-based emissions reduction target
- build support for a Latrobe Valley economic development plan
- ensure the roll-out of a comprehensive energy efficiency home retrofit pilot program to reduce our reliance on dirty power
- lock in significant funding for new renewable energy projects at the 2016/17 State Budget.
Frequently Asked Questions
Powershop and Environment Victoria
1. What is the connection between Powershop and Environment Victoria?
2. What benefit does Environment Victoria receive if I switch?
3. How is Powershop different from other energy retailers?
4. How long has Powershop been operating?
5. What does ‘online power company’ mean?
6. Where Is Powershop available?
7. Is it cheaper? Aren’t renewables more expensive?
1. Where does my electricity come from?
2. What is the source of Powershop's electricity?
3. How is Powershop ‘greener’?
4. So why would I buy GreenPower?
5. What is the Renewable Energy Target (RET)?
6. If I switch to Powershop with Environment Victoria’s Power Revolution campaign, am I purchasing 100 percent green electricity?
1. What do I need to do to switch with Power Revolution?
2. What if I’m on a contract and want to switch?
3. Do I need to contact my existing power company?
4. What if I live in a share house?
5. What if I have rooftop solar? Can I switch and how will this affect feed-in tariffs?
What about Gas?
1. Can I switch my gas account too?
2. Is there a greener company I should go with for gas?
What is the connection between Powershop and Environment Victoria?
Victoria has the dirtiest power supply in Australia – and it also has the most ripped-off electricity market, with bigger profit margins than other states. A 2013 report from the Essential Services Commission stated gross retailer margins were at least three times higher in Victoria than in New South Wales, Queensland or South Australia.1
The system clearly isn’t working in favour of ordinary people.
That’s why Environment Victoria has joined forces with Powershop, Victoria’s greenest energy retailer, to call for a revolution in power supply. Together, we’re offering 100 percent carbon neutral electricity (plus a GreenPower option) that also works to safeguard our climate.
When you switch to Powershop, Environment Victoria receives a financial contribution towards its campaign to shift Victoria from dirty brown coal to clean renewables. Switching through us has double the impact: your money moves from fossil fuels to renewables, and Environment Victoria lobbies on your behalf for the same change at an industry and political level.
What’s more, with Powershop you generally get cheaper power. The Essential Services Commission in Victoria issued a report on electricity prices in the state in October 2014 which found that ‘taking into account all available discounts, the lowest overall prices were most commonly available from Powershop’.2
Plus, Powershop was ranked one of the cheapest electricity retailers in Victoria in St Vincent de Paul's 2015 Tariff-Tracking project.
Environment Victoria is calling on our supporters to join this Power Revolution, transitioning from old dirty power to modern clean power.
What benefit does Environment Victoria receive if I switch?
When you switch to Powershop through Environment Victoria’s Power Revolution campaign Environment Victoria will receive a financial contribution from Powershop. All funds generated as part of this campaign will go towards helping Environment Victoria’s campaign to make the government and industry switch to cleaner energy.
How is Powershop different from other energy retailers?
Powershop is the first energy retailer that operates entirely online. It aims to empower customers by ensuring they know how much electricity they are using, and what it costs, as they use it.
Powershop goes above and beyond to support renewable energy. In June 2014 independent clean energy website Renew Economy analysed energy retailers’ response to the review of the Renewable Energy Target, and found that Powershop was ‘the only retailer to call unequivocally for the current target to be retained’.3
Powershop is backed by Meridian Energy, a 100 percent renewable energy producer with no investments in fossil fuel resources.
Powershop is also Australia’s first and only 100 percent carbon neutral electricity retailer. This means that all of its emissions are offset with the purchase of certified emission reductions, which help countries to develop sustainably and reduce emissions.
How long has Powershop been operating?
Powershop launched in Victoria in late 2013 and since then has gained over 50,000 customers. The company began in New Zealand five years ago, where it is well established. Powershop recently expanded into New South Wales as well.
What does ‘online power company’ mean?
Powershop does not issue any paper bills. You can monitor your electricity use and pay your bills online or on your mobile with an easy-to-use app. You can even pre-purchase power and lock in bigger discounts by buying in advance. This information helps you to use less power.
You can also choose to support renewable energy projects by buying GreenPower packs for specific renewable energy projects through the online shop. For example, you can purchase energy from Powershop’s own wind farms, sugar cane biomass projects, or community-owned renewable energy projects.
Where Is Powershop available?
Powershop Australia is currently available to people living in Victoria and New South Wales.
Is it cheaper? Aren’t renewables more expensive?
Renewable energy is actually pushing the price of electricity down. This is because once a renewable energy plant is built, it is very low-cost to run. When the wind is blowing, for example, other power generators will switch off because their energy is too expensive for the market. This pushes down the wholesale cost of electricity for everyone, so by supporting renewables, you’re helping to reduce energy prices.
A recent review by the Essential Services Commission stated ‘taking into account all available discounts, the lowest overall prices were most commonly available from Powershop’.4 Powershop was ranked one of the cheapest electricity retailers in Victoria in St Vincent de Paul's 2015 Tariff-Tracking project.
While Powershop is generally cheaper than other retailers, Environment Victoria can’t absolutely guarantee it will be cheaper in all circumstances. For an independent analysis of electricity prices in Victoria, see the Essential Services Commission report Energy Retailers Comparative Performance Report—Pricing 2013-14. You can also use the Victorian government's new Energy Compare online tool.
Where does my electricity come from?
No matter which energy retailer you buy your electricity from, it all comes from the same central pool of electricity because energy retailers in the Eastern states of Australia all buy their electricity from the National Energy Market (NEM).
Electricity is produced by generation facilities that are connected directly to the NEM. Energy from renewable sources and from fossil fuels are both fed into the NEM. The government mandates that a certain percentage of the electricity in the NEM comes from renewable sources through the Renewable Energy Target (RET).
What is the source of Powershop's electricity?
Powershop buys its electricity, like all retailers, from the NEM. However, Powershop is owned by Meridian Energy, a 100 percent renewable energy company that owns and runs the Mount Miller and Mount Mercer wind farms.
Mount Miller is situated on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia and produces around 180 gigawatt hours of renewable energy per year. Mount Mercer is near Ballarat and has just begun generating enough electricity to supply over 100,000 households. These wind farms produce more renewable power than Powershop’s customers consume.
Every dollar spent purchasing power from Powershop supports renewable energy generation in Australia.
- Powershop is owned by Meridian Energy, a 100 percent renewable energy company, meaning it invests the money it makes in renewable energy development, not fossil fuels.
- Powershop is 100 percent carbon neutral, so for all the electricity its customers use on the National Electricity market, some of which is unavoidably from non-renewable sources, it buys an equivalent amount of United Nations recognised carbon certificates to offset those emissions.
- Powershop actively supports the Australian Renewable Energy Target (RET) which has been attacked by many of Australia’s other energy retailers.
- Finally, Powershop actively encourages its customers to improve their energy efficiency by using the Powershop app, which informs you how much energy you are using monthly, weekly or even daily. See this video for more information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mntMS_EvICI
This is all in addition to offering 100 percent GreenPower options to customers. We recommend making the Environment Victoria GreenPower offer your default product because it returns 1c a kilowatt back to our Power Revolution campaign.
So why would I buy GreenPower?
When you purchase 100 percent GreenPower from Powershop you are increasing the demand for renewable energy in Australia.
Every retailer in Australia is required to purchase a number of Renewable Energy Certificates to comply with Australian legislation. These certificates are what help drive renewable energy development in Australia. See ‘What is the Renewable Energy Target (RET)?’ for more information.
When you buy GreenPower, you force your retailer to buy more Renewable Energy Certificates than mandated, increasing the demand for renewable energy and driving further investment in renewables in Australia.
What is the Renewable Energy Target (RET)?
The Renewable Energy Target is a policy that encourages the development of renewable energy in Australia. It does this by requiring certain businesses, mainly electricity retailers, to purchase a certain number of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). RECs are created by renewable energy power stations, such as wind farms, that are accredited by the Clean Energy Regulator.
When you switch through Power Revolution you are automatically put onto the standard offer. This is 100 percent carbon neutral, but if you also want to support the Australian renewable energy industry you can choose to buy a certified GreenPower product from Environment Victoria.
GreenPower does incur a slight additional charge of 4.95c per kilowatt hour, which contributes to surrendering Renewable Energy Certificates on your behalf.
Environment Victoria’s GreenPower products are called ‘EV Saver’ and ‘EV Power’. The icon looks like this:
EV Power and EV Saver are as green as it gets. Not only are they 100 percent GreenPower, but Environment Victoria also receives an ongoing contribution of 1c per kilowatt hour of power you purchase (at no extra cost to you!) These funds go towards our campaign to shift Victoria from dirty brown coal to clean renewables.
Environment Victoria has two GreenPower products – EV Saver and EV Power. What's the difference?
- EV Saver is available through the online portal and includes the additional pay-on-time discount of 12 percent.
- EV Power lets you set an Environment Victoria product as your backup option.
How to choose EV Saver through the Powershop online portal
To support Environment Victoria and still get the 12 percent discount, simply log in and choose the ‘EV Saver’ icon and select the number of units you wish to purchase.
For example if your bill is 100 units and you wish to purchase 100 percent GreenPower, then just enter 100 when purchasing power.
With Powershop you have the choice to buy as much or as little GreenPower as you like. For example, you may wish to only purchase 50 percent GreenPower, in which case you would select 50 units for EV Power and 50 units of the online saver. The choice is yours.
If you’re worried about forgetting to log in, don’t be. Powershop sends reminder emails to top up so you know when your bill is due and can log in beforehand. Just remember to do so before your account review is generated.
You can do this on your phone:
Or through the online portal:
Set EV Power as default
Sometimes life gets in the way and you miss that due date. Or perhaps you prefer not to log in every month. Whatever the reason, you can still make sure your default power choice is GreenPower that supports Environment Victoria. There are two ways to do it – on your phone, and on your computer. With this choice any units that are outstanding for the month when the account review is generated will be charged at the price of the default product.
Choosing EV Power on your phone:
Enter your Powershop account, go to Settings and scroll down to Property. The first heading under this is Default Powerpack. Click on that and set the default as EV Power.
Choosing EV Power on your computer:
Enter your Powershop account, go to Settings, Account Preferences, and then Default Powerpack. Click on that and set the default as EV Power.
EV Power is a 100 percent GreenPower product, so it carries an additional cost of 4.95c per kilowatt hour. But there’s also an additional environmental benefit – Environment Victoria receives an ongoing contribution of 1c per kilowatt hour of power you purchase (at no further cost to you above the 4.95c per kilowatt hour charge). And that money goes to supporting our campaign to shift Victoria from dirty brown coal to clean renewables.
What do I need to do to switch with Power Revolution?
Firstly, to ensure that Environment Victoria receives the contribution from your switch, you need to sign up online via www.powershop.com.au/ev
If you just sign up with Powershop, there will be no way for them to know that it was through Environment Victoria. To switch is easy: all you need is your email address, the property address that you want to switch and backup payment details. Powershop will do the rest.
What if I’m on a contract and want to switch?
Powershop does not lock customers into contracts or charge exit fees. If your current retailer charges exit fees, Powershop will even cover you if you are charged for switching (up to $75). Switching online takes under two minutes and you will not have to have that awkward conversation with the energy retailer you are dumping!
Do I need to contact my existing power company?
No, Powershop takes care of the entire switching process for you. You may receive a phone call or letter from your existing power company asking for you back, but remember, you’ve made the right choice. When your previous retailer asks you why you switched, you can say it was to support renewable energy in Australia. They may try to tempt you with further discounts, which you can take up, but if you do your contribution to Environment Victoria will be revoked.
What if I live in a share house?
It’s your job to get your buddies on board! You will all need to use the same provider, but we’re pretty confident that once you tell them all the good bits, they’ll be happy to switch.
Powershop supports residential solar. Customers entitled to the Premium Feed-in Tariff, Transitional Feed-in Tariff or the current Feed-in Tariff, will not lose access to their entitlements. If you are entitled to the old “one for one” Standard Feed-in Tariff that was available to households installing solar generation before 31 December 2012, you will lose access to it by switching retailers, and will revert to the current Feed-in Tariff.
For more information about solar:
- The Victorian Government’s Energy and Resources site to read about standard feed-in tariffs
- The New South Wales Government’s site for more information about their solar bonus scheme
If you are unsure what your feed-in tariff is and would like further information, please contact Powershop on 1800 462 668 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to mention Environment Victoria when contacting Powershop!
Minimum or benchmark feed-in Tariffs are set by the government. Powershop does offer slightly higher Feed-In Tariffs than what is set in these government reviews.
Solar Bonus 60c Scheme
Solar Bonus 20c Scheme
All other customers
Can I switch my gas account too?
Powershop currently only provides electricity, not gas. You can check the government website http://www.yourchoice.vic.gov.au/ for an unbiased comparison of gas providers in Victoria. If you have both your accounts with one retailer now, switching through Environment Victoria’s Power Revolution campaign will only switch your electricity account. If you want to know how this affects your contract, get in touch with Powershop today.
You may also want to consider switching from gas to full electric — a January 2015 report from the Alternative Technology Association found that in most cases and for most households across Australia, switching from gas to efficient electric for space heating, water heating and cooking produced less greenhouse gas emissions.5
All Victorian mains gas is extracted from the Bass Strait by the same method, so there’s not much difference between the large companies.
Environment Victoria does not recommend a particular gas company. But we do recommend checking the website www.yourchoice.vic.gov.au to find the cheapest deal for your area, and then clicking through to see if the retailer invests in renewables.
The controversial practice of fracking for coal seam gas (and other unconventional gas projects) is currently confined to New South Wales and Queensland. Victoria, for now, has a moratorium on unconventional gas. The large energy retailers AGL and Origin Energy are involved in coal seam gas projects in other states, which is another good reason to choose a different retailer from the big three.