News

16 December 2019

South Australia’s Virtual Power Plant Schemes

A Virtual Power Plant (VPP) consists of a network of solar+battery systems installed across the electricity system (in homes, for instance), which can be remotely controlled by the VPP operator to provide power from those systems to the grid, either when wholesale prices are high or when the grid frequency needs to be stabilised. The VPP operator has knowledge of and access to these electricity markets that individual households don’t have, and can make money by providing electricity when it’s wanted, just as any other power plant can. The VPP operator typically shares this money with the owners of the solar+battery systems, to compensate the owners for the use of their power and the extra wear and tear on their batteries.

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13 December 2019

Competition in the mobile phone sector

In Australia, there are only three physical mobile phone networks (signalling towers, repeaters etc), owned by Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone. However, since the launch of Virgin Mobile in 2000, a growing list of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) has created a much more competitive market, by purchasing access to those networks and passing that on to customers at competitive prices. Many MVNOs offer cheaper deals than the three network owners, but it’s best to look closely at the amount of data offered as this varies widely from 5 GB per month up to about 35 GB per month within the $20-30 per month price range. High data plans may only be of value if you have a need for them; and it is possible to find a modest-sized plan for an even lower price.

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10 December 2019

Observations on the DMO

The Australian Energy Regulator, following a request from the Federal Minister for Energy, implemented a Default Market Offer (DMO) from 1 July 2019. These DMOs have replaced the retailer-determined standing offers previously available. The Default Market Offer regime has been in place for 3 months now, allowing for a few observations:

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10 July 2019

SA Water Accessibility Initiative

SA Water has announced a scheme which aims to make essential water services more easily accessible to all South Australians, particularly those living with disability. The scheme seeks to apply Universal Design Principles, which recognise that anyone can find themselves living with an impairment which makes it difficult to do what a fully fit and able person may be able to do. Universal Design aims to create products or processes that include as many people as possible in the first instance, and are also easily customisable to the needs of particular users.

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10 July 2019

Increased discount for Origin “Value” deal

Two years ago the SA Government invited electricity retailers to tender for the opportunity to offer a more attractive deal to consumers who receive the energy concession. Origin Energy won the tender and from December 2017 introduced a discount offer that included an 18% discount on electricity usage and supply charges, and no extra fees and charges.  Origin committed to maintain this offer up to 30 June 2019. They also offered an 11% discount on natural gas usage and supply.

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8 April 2019

Confusion Alert!

South Australia now has TWO household battery schemes. The first, the “Virtual Power Plant” scheme, launched last February by the then-Labor government, involves the installation of solar systems and Tesla Powerwall batteries. This scheme is being trialled in selected Housing SA properties, with a view to eventually extending it through all suitable Housing SA properties and then to the general public.

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