Under section 7 of the Electricity Industry Act 2004, anyone who sells electricity to a customer for consumption must hold an electricity licence.
Electricity consumers in Western Australia fall into two general categories: contestable and non-contestable customers. Contestable customers have a choice of electricity retailer, while non-contestable customers do not.
Non-contestable customers are customers within the South West Interconnected System (SWIS) consuming less than or equal to 50 megawatt-hours of electricity a year (an average of 137 units per day).
These customers are supplied by Synergy and pay electricity prices regulated by the Western Australian Government, as determined under electricity by-laws.
Residential households and small businesses usually fall within the non-contestable category.
Contestable customers are consumers within the SWIS consuming more than 50 megawatt hours of electricity a year (an average of 137 units per day). These include:
These customers can negotiate the rates they pay with their chosen retailer.
Customers consuming between 50 and 160 megawatt-hours per year can choose to either pay the relevant capped rates offered by Synergy or be supplied by Synergy or another retailer at negotiated tariff rates.
Outside the SWIS, Horizon Power offers regulated tariffs to eligible customers. All customers outside the SWIS are contestable and can choose their retailer. However, customers should be aware that Horizon Power is currently the only retailer operating in many regional areas.