Reference price

Learn how to use the government reference price to compare electricity plans.

What is the reference price?

The reference price is 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 different reference prices because energy usage and distribution costs vary area to area. The reference price for each area will also differ depending on your tariff type.

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.

For example:

Example of reference prices. Plan A 4% less than reference price. Plan B 5% less than reference price.

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

Note: the reference price comparisons are based on the energy usage of a representative customer. 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 on default prices that are set by the regulator. A representative customer is essentially a hypothetical customer who consumes a certain amount of electricity, as defined by the government.

As an example:

  • A reference price of $1000 per year applies to a representative customer on a single-rate tariff that uses 3900kWh annually in your region.
  • An energy retailer says that their energy plan is 5% less than the reference price for that type of representative customer.
  • That means that this type of customer would pay $950 per year.
  • We refer to this as an estimated annual cost for this customer type and usage amount.

The reference price is useful for comparing plans but it doesn’t take into consideration your exact situation so you may pay more, or less depending on your specific usage.

How does the government define representative customer?

Representative customer basically means a typical customer that:

  • has typical energy usage
  • lives in a particular region
  • is on a particular tariff.
What does 'tariff' have to do with reference price?

Your tariff refers to how your electricity usage charges are calculated. Most customers are on a single-rate tariff, which means their rates don’t change depending on when the electricity is used throughout the day.

Reference prices differ depending on residential tariffs. You can view a reference price comparison for other tariff types when you compare energy plans.

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

Where do I find my reference price?

When you compare energy plans and enter your address, we’ll show you:

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