As a result of government policy to allow more competition in the energy industry, some customers are now able to choose their retailer. These customers are called ‘contestable customers'.
Customers of exempt retailers may not be able to choose their retailer (for more information see exempt retailers and distributors).
If you are able to choose your retailer, your choice will be limited by the number of retailers available to you. For example, some retailers only supply to business customers, and in some areas there is only one retailer.
All gas customers are free to choose their retailer. However, Synergy is currently not allowed to supply you with gas if you use less than 0.18 TJ of gas per year (about $6,200).
You are a contestable customer and can choose your electricity retailer if:
- you use more than 50 MWh (about $14,200) of electricity per year; or
- your distributor is not Western Power (i.e. you do not live in the SWIS area).
If you own several properties, you cannot combine the amount of electricity that you use at each property to determine whether you are contestable or not.
If you use less than 50 MWh of electricity per year (about $14,200) and are connected to Western Power’s distribution network, you will not be able to choose your retailer. As a non-contestable customer living within the SWIS network, you will be supplied by Synergy.
Finding a retailer
All retailers who supply small use customers with energy must have a ‘standard form contract’ that has been approved by the ERA.
The ERA website shows all retailers with approved standard form contracts for gas and electricity. Contacts and more information provides a list of these retailers. You can phone the retailers to see if they can supply energy to your address.
Transfer between retailers
If you are a contestable customer and you choose to transfer from your existing retailer to a new retailer, simply contact the new retailer and request to be transferred. The new retailer will organise the transfer on your behalf.
All gas contracts and some electricity contracts will state that the contract ends if you enter into a new contract with another retailer and you have transferred to that retailer.
Your previous retailer is not allowed to bill you for any energy consumed after you transfer to your new retailer.
If your electricity contract does not state that the contract will end when you enter into a new contract, you must notify your old retailer to ensure the contract is terminated in accordance with its terms and conditions. Retailers may require a certain amount of notice. Fees may apply for ending a fixed-term contract early.
You can choose from a retailer that is available in your area. However, Synergy can only supply gas to customers who use more than 0.18TJ (about $6,200) of gas per year.
This information applies to small use customers. You are a small use customer if you use less than 160MWh (about $58,000) of electricity per year or up to 1TJ of gas per year (between $28,500 and $43,000, depending on where you live).