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On-peak/off-peak pricing could be packaged into mobile phone style plans

An energy pricing research pilot will allow Horizon Power customers to earn bill credits by shifting their electricity use to times when demand on the network is low. Participants will earn the credit by keeping their use in the peak period, between 1 pm and 8 pm, to a target set by Horizon Power for a period of three months.

The Power Ahead research pilot will be used to shape a new on-peak/off-peak pricing product which would allow customers to choose a plan to meet their electricity needs in much the same way as they choose a mobile phone plan to meet their download requirement.

Under these plans, customers would pay a weekly amount based on their selected size plan and a charge for each unit of electricity used. Now the unit charge every West Australian resident pays for electricity is 26.47 cents but under the proposed plans it could be as low as 8 cents per unit all day, every day.

The average customer would pay the same as they currently pay over a twelve month period, but would have the choice to switch to lower cost plans by changing their energy use or investing in technologies such as solar and battery storage technology.  

Participants in Power Ahead research pilot will be challenged to keep their electricity use within a set unit allowance during the peak and have the opportunity to earn a bill credit of between $300 and $1,100 (residents)/$3,200 (businesses) if they meet the challenge. No participant will be worse off by participating and electricity used during the pilot will be charged and billed at the normal rate.

The pilot will evaluate customers’ response and their ability to make changes in energy use to reduce their costs. A smart phone app will provide near real time usage data and tips to help participants stay on track. For example, customers with PV will be notified on days when it’s hot and cloudy to monitor their usage during the peak as they may draw more power from the grid. Customers who look like exceeding the allowance will be provided with personalised information about which appliances to adjust or turn off to reduce their demand.

Horizon Power’s Managing Director Frank Tudor said the new pricing model would offer benefits to both customers and Horizon Power.

“Customers have told us they believe an on-peak/off-peak tariff would help them better manage their electricity costs and we’ve listened,” he said.

“Through the Power Ahead research pilot we want to work with our customers to develop this product."

“We believe that the research pilot will help us develop a pricing model that will give customers more control and at the same time help us better manage our costs.”

The results of the pilot will inform Government policy on tariffs.

Up to 500 Port Hedland residents and businesses can take part. Applications can be made online at

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