230 volt trial
We ran a trial for a change in voltage from 240 volts to 230 volts (V) in seven areas across the state in 2016. The trial included around 8,000 customers to test the benefits and impacts for you and our network.
The trial results contributed towards the Queensland Government’s recently released Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) into Queensland’s statutory voltage limits. This report is now closed for public comment and we are awaiting the Government’s final determination and any associated rule changes.
Why did we do this?
Queensland is one of the last areas where low voltage (LV) supply is still supplied at 240V1. Most of the world and other Australian states (except Western Australia) use the international standard2 of 230V (+10/-6%) introduced in 2000.
Also, the high number of solar PV connections in regional Queensland has increased our network voltages, so switching to 230V may help improve this.
There shouldn’t be any negative effects from this voltage change because all new equipment and appliances we buy in Australia are manufactured to the 230V standard.
What are the benefits?
The expected benefits of changing to the 230V standard include:
- Alignment with international standards
- Wider allowable voltage band on our network, meaning we can save money on expensive network upgrades
- Ability to connect more micro embedded generating units (e.g. solar PV and batteries) to our network in future.
Where was the trial?
We chose seven network feeders to be part of the trial with different features in the following urban and rural areas:
- Goldsmith Street feeder (Mackay)
- Louisa Creek feeder (Mackay/ Sarina)
- Hardy Road feeder (Cairns)
- Serene Valley feeder (Townsville)
- Mt Lofty feeder (Toowoomba)
- Brigalow feeder (Chinchilla/Jandowae)
- Boulia network (isolated community).
You will receive a letter if your feeder is in the trial. It will explain more about the trial and what you can expect.
When was the trial?
The trial commenced late in 2015 and included data collection, analytics and monitoring. Network modelling and analysis took place in 2016 to help us identify what network changes are required prior to a change to network voltage.
The results of the network modelling and analysis contributed to the Queensland Government’s RIS into Queensland’s statutory voltage limits which was open for public comment in April 2017.
If the trial is deemed a success we will work with the Queensland Government, Energex, and our customers on a plan to switch to 230V across the state.
Will Ergon Energy need access to my premises?
If you are part of the trial we may collect power quality data from your meter. This data will help us assess the outcomes of the trial.
You’ll be advised by mail if we need to read your meter, however you will not need to be home for the read.
Will it affect solar PV systems?
The switch to 230V shouldn’t have negative effects on solar PV systems. In fact, it may improve the performance of systems that currently have over-voltage issues.
Please note: We haven’t made any changes to solar PV owner’s connections or wiring for the trial.
One of the main reasons we are trialing the switch to 230V is to see if it will help our network support more connections of micro embedded generating units (eg solar PV and batteries) in future.
What if I have a three phase connection?
If you are part of the trial and have a three phase connection, we will be trialing a voltage switch from 415V to 400V.
Will my network be changed?
Our estimate is that less than 3% of our customers have a network transformer that would need to be changed for the switch to 230V. The trial outcomes will help us to confirm this.
Will I have voltage issues in the trial?
We don’t expect you’ll have any voltage issues, but things to watch for include:
- dim lights
- slower cooking times
- appliances running slow
- a high number of blown light bulbs
- your PV inverter switching off.
If you experience any of these please contact us on 13 22 96 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) to raise a Quality of Supply Enquiry. We will then investigate the voltage issues at your premises.