What is the reference price?

It's a benchmark electricity price set by the government. It makes it easier to compare electricity prices between different energy retailers.

Different parts of Australia have a different reference price. This is because energy usage and distribution costs vary across the country.

The reference price for each area will also differ depending on your tariff type (explained below).

The information on this page applies to NSW, South-East QLD and SA only.

Using reference price to compare electricity plans

All energy retailers in NSW, South-East QLD and SA must tell you how each of their electricity plans compare with the government reference price. This is done using a percentage figure.


The reference price makes it easier to quickly compare prices across the market, but make sure you check to see if our plans feature extra benefits that may be worthwhile for you.

Also keep in mind that the reference price comparisons are based on the energy usage of a representative customer (explained below). This may be different to how much energy you use, and therefore how much you'll pay under the same plan.

How does reference price work?

The reference price is how much a representative customer would pay over the course of a year. A representative customer is basically a hypothetical customer as defined by the government.

For ease of understanding, we use the term 'average customer' instead of 'representative customer' in AGL advertisements.

The reference price is not a per kWh rate. Instead, the government has come up with cost figures for each type of representative customer, based on 'average' household or small business energy use.


  • A reference price of $1000 per year applies to a representative customer, on a single-rate tariff, who uses 3900 kWh annually, in your region.
  • An energy retailer says an electricity plan is 5% less than the reference price for that type of representative customer.
  • That means this type of representative customer would pay $950 per year.
  • AGL refers to this as an estimated amount an average customer pays per year.

The reference price is useful for comparing plans but bear in mind it isn't based on your exact situation. It tells you how much a representative customer would pay under the retailer's energy plans.

In the above example, a representative customer using 3900 kWh per year who is paying 5% less than the reference price would pay an estimated $950 annually. If an actual customer uses more than 3900 kWh annually, they should expect to pay more than $950 per year.

How does the government define representative customer?

Representative customer basically means:

  • a typical customer
  • who has typical energy usage
  • for a particular region
  • on a particular tariff.

What does 'tariff' have to do with reference price?

Your 'tariff' simply refers to how your electricity usage charges are calculated. Most consumers are on a single-rate tariff, which means their usage charges stay the same throughout the day.

The government has different reference prices for different residential tariffs. You can check these prices by clicking view prices for other tariffs when you compare our energy plans.

For small to medium commercial customers, there is only one reference price. This is based on a single-rate tariff only.

How to find your reference price

We've made this easy. When comparing AGL electricity plans, enter your address and we'll tell you:

  • the reference price for your region
  • how our electricity prices compare to that reference price.

It's worth bearing in mind that AGL's prices are based on a single-rate tariff by default.