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Agricultural tariff trial

This trial (2017-2019) was an initiative under the Queensland Government’s Regional Business Support Package and was in response to requests from the agricultural sector for consideration of other tariff options for primary producers.

The trial enabled us and our customers to better understand the potential for controlled load and seasonal demand tariffs as an alternative to the current transitional agricultural tariffs.

There were three trial groups:

  1. Moving to a load control tariff (Tariff 33)
  2. Moving to a seasonal time of use demand tariff
  3. Staying on the current tariff and having metering upgraded to remotely read interval meters that allowed for more detailed analysis of tariff options.

75 unique customers across 178 sites participated in the trial. There were a broad group of customers in the trial ranging from family owned to large corporate operations. The most common energy using equipment utilised on these farms was irrigation pumps, with a small number of sites using food processing and refrigeration equipment.

All sites had metering upgraded to digital metering. The three trial groups were made up of:

  • 5 sites on Tariff 33;
  • 4 sites on the Tariff 24, and
  • 169 sites that had a detailed load profile analysis.

Results

The following results were observed:

  • All participants were able to manage the supply interruptions that occurred when on load control Tariff 33. Switching by the network provider occurred no more than 10 times for most customers.
  • The seasonal demand tariff generally doesn't offer savings to farmers with daytime pumping requirements in the summer months
  • 75% of customers with verified reliable interval data (102 sites) were better off on a cost-reflective tariff compared to transitional tariffs – this included 53 customers who were better off on a primary tariff plus a load control tariff as a secondary tariff.
  • Where a load control tariff wasn't suitable for a farm, around half of all sites were still better off on a standard non-load control tariff, rather than staying on their current transitional tariff that was due to expire in 2021.

Following the trial, we worked with interested customers to move them to load control Tariff 33. Learnings from the Trial and transferring customers to Tariff 33 has led to the proposal of a primary load control network tariff for small customers, and a primary and secondary load control tariff for large customers. This is depicted in our Tariff Structure Statement.

For further information on this Trial, please contact us by calling 1300 550 766 or emailing demandmanagement@ergon.com.au.