Controlled Load Tariffs

Find out what a controlled load tariff is, and how you could possibly save money on your electricity bill by using one

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, updated on July 27th, 2023       

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Energy - controlled load tariffs

Controlled load tariffs are a helpful option that many Australians use to save money on their electricity bills. These tariffs offer lower electricity rates for specific appliances or devices that are used during off-peak hours. They are a great way for Aussies to reduce their electricity bills while still using their favourite appliances. Find out all about controlled load tariffs and see if they could assist you to reduce your energy costs here with Savvy.  

What are controlled load tariffs, and how do they work?

Controlled load tariffs, also known as off-peak tariffs, are a type of electricity pricing structure that offers lower rates for specific high-demand appliances. These appliances are metered separately to the rest of the property. They are typically applied to appliances that require a significant amount of energy, such as stored hot water systems, pool pumps, or electric underfloor heating systems.

The way it works is that an electricity provider will install a separate meter for the specific appliance that will be on the controlled load tariff. This means your property may have two or more electricity meters. During off-peak hours, the electricity consumed by these appliances is charged at a reduced rate. This allows consumers to take advantage of cheaper electricity prices and reduce their electricity bills overall.

Is there a catch with controlled load tariffs?

Controlled load tariffs have certain limitations that you should be aware of. The main one is that the electricity supply is restricted to specific appliances for a set number of hours each day, depending on the type of controlled load. Individual electricity retailers determine the specific hours when the supply is available, usually during non-peak energy demand periods. This can range from eight to 18 hours per day. 

While Victoria and South Australia have a single controlled load type, New South Wales, Queensland, and Tasmania offer Controlled Load 1 and Controlled Load 2. Some retailers may use different names, such as ‘dedicated circuit’ or ‘economy tariff,’ but they essentially function in the same way. In Queensland they are known as Tariff 31 and Tariff 33.  

The other catch is that in some states, customers may be charged a separate supply charge for their dedicated controlled load circuit. This charge is in addition to the standard supply charge for remaining connected to the network on your usual energy plan.  

What's the difference between Controlled Load 1 and 2? 

Controlled Load 1 and Controlled Load 2 differ in terms of cost and availability. Controlled Load 1 is cheaper, but offers electricity for fewer hours, while Controlled Load 2 is more expensive but provides electricity for a longer period of time.

What appliances are eligible for a controlled load tariff?

Controlled load tariffs are specifically designed to provide discounted electricity rates for certain appliances that can be scheduled to run during off-peak hours. Common appliances eligible for controlled load tariffs in Australia include: 

  • electric hot water storage systems
  • pool pumps
  • underfloor heating
  • electric slab heating

These appliances typically consume a significant amount of electricity and can be programmed to operate during off-peak periods when electricity rates are lower. Exactly which appliances you can nominate for a controlled load tariff will depend on your individual electricity distributor and retailer, and how your house was originally wired.  

How much money can I save with a controlled load tariff?

The amount of money you can save with a controlled load tariff depends on your electricity consumption patterns and the specific rates offered by your energy provider. Generally, households that have high electricity usage for specific appliances which can be run at night or during off-peak periods stand to benefit the most from a controlled load tariff.  By shifting the operation of these appliances to off-peak periods when electricity rates are lower, you can potentially achieve significant savings on your electricity bill.  

Here are a few examples of potential savings with controlled load tariffs in Australia: 

Electric hot water storage system: Switching your electric hot water system to a controlled load tariff can save you around $200 to $300 per year compared to a standard tariff. 

Pool pumps: Running your pool pump during off-peak hours with a controlled load tariff can save you approximately $200 to $400 annually, depending on the size of your pool and pump. 

Underfloor heating: Utilising a controlled load tariff for your underfloor heating system can result in savings of around $100 to $200 per year, depending on the size and usage of the system. 

Electric slab heating: With a controlled load tariff, electric slab heating can save you approximately $150 to $250 annually, depending on the size of the area being heated. 

Remember, these figures are estimates and the actual savings will depend on factors such as your electricity rates, usage patterns, and the efficiency of your appliances.

Are controlled load tariffs available in all areas of Australia?

No, controlled load tariffs are not available in the Northern Territory and in most parts of Western Australia. However, there are some retailers in WA that offer cheap power plans for hot water heating systems, which are sort of equivalent to a controlled load tariff. 

While controlled load tariffs are available in many of the southern and eastern states, their availability will vary depending on your location and electricity distributor. There may also be infrastructure limitations that restrict whether you can have a separate electricity meter attached to meter your high-energy demand appliance. 

To determine if controlled load tariffs are available in your area, it's best to contact your electricity provider or check their website for information on tariff options specific to your location. 

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