Managing your business electricity demand

Peak demand is when electricity usage on the network is at its highest. It can put a strain on the electricity network and lead to power outages. Queensland's rapidly growing population also adds to peak demand.

This means we may need to spend money building-up the network to stop power outages at peak demand times. This cost can contribute to electricity price rises. So, to keep our electricity costs as low as possible, we all need to be smarter about how and when we use power.

Managing demand under a demand based tariff

The main benefit for a business on a network demand tariff to reduce their electricity demand is help to lower their energy bill. There are a number of ways businesses can reduce peak demand and these will vary depending on the nature of your work, the hours of operation, appliances and equipment used.

If your business is on a demand tariff, your electricity bill will show the maximum demand in the billing period charged. Knowing your maximum demand is important – as is knowing when that peak occurs is important to identify which appliances or processes are contributing to your peak electricity demand.

You should also make sure you understand the structure of your tariff and how demand is charged, for example:

  • Some demand charges are based on your single highest electricity demand over 30 minute period. This is known as an ‘anytime demand’ tariff
  • Some demand charges are based on peak and off-peak times. This is known as a 'time of use' tariff.

Once you are familiar with how your tariff works, you can better understand how to manage your electricity demand and therefore your electricity costs. Read more about demand tariffs at Business network tariffs explained.

Monitoring demand at work

Your electricity retailer may be able to provide you with a load profile that shows when your electricity demand occurs. A load profile shows how your demand varies throughout a given period, usually measured in 30 minute intervals. There might be a fee for this.

If you are considering moving to a demand tariff, but you cannot obtain a load profile from your retailer, you could install your own monitoring equipment that will provide you with your load profile. Then you can assess which demand tariff is best for you and any appropriate strategies to manage or reduce your peak demand.

Some electricity retailers and equipment providers may offer an online portal or app so you can monitor your demand throughout the day. You can even have alerts sent via text or email when electricity demand reaches pre-set levels. Then you can intervene to manage your demand or have automated building energy management systems do that for you.

Tips for reducing peak demand

Here are some general tips to help you reduce peak demand in your business:

  • Set your air conditioner to an energy-efficient 25 degrees
  • Raise the evaporator temperature of your refrigeration to its maximum possible level for best efficiency
  • Switch your pool pump and hot water system to an economy tariff (electricity use on an economy tariff does not count toward demand charges)
  • Install a timer on hot water system so it doesn't run during your peak period
  • Replace your fixed speed compressed air system, pool pump and other pumps with energy efficient variable speed models
  • Schedule the use of appliances and equipment so they're staggered throughout the day
  • Shift loads from peak to off-peak times
  • Use alternative fuels (i.e. use solar water heating instead of electric)
  • Generate energy on-site (i.e. though a solar power system)
  • Use a building management system to control loads
  • Install Power factor correction to improve your power factor (applies to kVa tariffs).

Getting advice from an energy efficiency consultant could be your first step to saving money on your business electricity bills.

See our business resources and case studies showing how other businesses have cut their power bills through reducing both demand and total energy consumption.

Make sure you check out our Incentives program. You may be eligible for cashback incentives by reducing your peak demand.