Business Q&A's

If you have questions about your business’s energy needs, Ergon Energy’s panel of experts are here to help. We’re developing a range of short videos designed to answer the electricity industry topics our customers ask us about most often.

Check out our first videos on electricity pricing and solar power on this page. They’re full of down-to-earth information and practical advice.

If you have a question that you would like us to answer, you can email us. If we think others would be interested in the answer to your question we just might turn it into a video!

Transcript

Is your business open to solar power?

At Ergon Energy, we’re seeing more and more businesses wising up to the fact that solar energy can help reduce their electricity costs.

But despite being around for some years now, taking the first step towards solar is still a plunge many businesses find hard. Recently, Sandy Corbett from Domain Central in Townsville asked:

“Where should I begin? How do I know what’s right for my business?”

The best way to start is by finding a reputable solar PV, or photovoltaic supplier who is established in your local area. A reputable solar supplier should be able to answer your questions, tailor a solution to your specific business needs, and provide you with references from other satisfied customers.

It’s equally, if not, more important to make sure your supplier has an installer who is accredited under the Clean Energy Council Accreditation Scheme. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, to be eligible for government incentives. Secondly, your solar PV system is an investment, and an accredited installer is trained to ensure your installation meets best industry practice and relevant Australian Standards.

To make sure that your investment is protected find out what sort of warranty and guarantees are offered before you make a decision. Also, it’s a good idea to look out for additional charges - sometimes extra work is required to make a premises solar ready, such as reinforcing the roof, or removing trees.

Finally, before you pay anything beyond a deposit, and certainly before your system is installed, you should ensure that you’ve received written approval from the team at Ergon Energy to install your chosen system. Why? Because not all applications are approved as systems can’t always be accommodated by the network in certain areas, meaning the system may trip off at times.

Solar energy can make a real difference to your power bill, but Sandy has also asked:

“Is it possible to make extra money with a solar PV system?”

Ergon’s Dean Comber explains.

"It’s true that some customers are paid for the surplus electricity that they generate and supply back to the grid, but government policies have changed, and will continue to change. Business owners who have installed PV systems in the past may be on a higher feed-in tariffs and generate surplus electricity into the grid can end up with a bill in credit, or at least significantly reduced. But for business owners looking to install PV now, bigger isn’t always better, and the most important thing is to get the right size system for your needs, without exporting surplus generation to the grid."

And there you have it. If you have any questions about solar energy, we have more information at ergon.com.au under “Business” and “Renewable Energy”.

Transcript

The rising cost of electricity is one of the most asked-about issues among our business customers. Just like Judene Andrews from Uniting Care Community, you may be asking yourself:

“Why do electricity prices continue to rise? And will this trend continue?”

There are many different and complex reasons why prices have increased in recent years, but one of the main influences is rising network costs. Network costs account for around half the cost of electricity.

Firstly, our network has been built to meet stringent regulatory standards. These have been set by Regulators based on the expectation that this level of service is what customers are prepared to pay for.

Secondly, our network continues to deteriorate with age, which means more frequent maintenance as time goes on. In terms of cost, it all adds up.

Finally, our network needs to be able to cope with our harsh Queensland climate as well as peak demand, that time of day when demand for electricity is at its greatest. As this demand grows, the network capacity also needs to increase to ensure we continue to provide a reliable supply of electricity.

While Ergon doesn’t set the price of electricity, we can influence our contribution to the cost. It’s our strategic goal to limit network cost increases to less than CPI over the long term.

Ergon’s Tony Pfeiffer shares how the company is reducing its own costs, to help take the pressure off electricity prices in the future.

"Nowadays customers are acutally using a lot less electricity - partly due to their adoption of energy efficiency measures that they can use and their acceptance of new technology such as solar panels. We’ve also experienced a reduction in the demand for new connections onto our network. The consequence of all of this has acutally increased the unit price of energy. So what we’ve done is we’ve reduced our program of work, we’ve reduced our size of our workforce. And this has resulted in some efficiency gains in excess of 100 million dollars."

"We are also working closely with our customers to reduce demand on the network, and this helps us then manage our future capital expenditure onto the network and hence bring that unit price down. In the current period we have reduced our total expenditure by in excess of 1.5 billion dollars."

To further reduce the pressure on prices, Ergon is focusing on optimizing its current assets and investments. This has begun with a review of the market and our network tariff strategy in consultation with customers, regulators and government.

We have also undertaken significant organizational restructuring to deliver better value. We hope that through our own savings and by working together with customers, we can all get power bills we can live with.

To find out what you can do to reduce your business energy costs, go to ergon.com.au and click on “Business” and “Save on your bill”.

Transcript

Is your business open to clean energy?

By now, you’re probably familiar with some of the steps you could take to reduce your business’s environmental impact. Subscribing to Clean Energy can be a big contributor – it isn’t just a great way to do your part for a cleaner, greener future – it’s also great for business.

Ergon’s Clean Energy is generated all over regional Queensland – from renewable sources including solar farms, wind farms, hydro stations and biomass plants at various sugar mills.

Using these sources means a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and harmful pollutants, as well as a decreased reliance on fossil fuels.

Recently, one of our Mackay customers asked:

“I understand that using Clean Energy is good for the environment but how is it good for business?”

Kate Dawson from Ergon Energy explains.

Quite simply, many of your clients are on the looking for a company that’s a responsible corporate citizen – so making the switch could mean their support.

Clean Energy is fully accredited by GreenPower, this is a government program that sets the standard for Australia’s renewable energy products. If you subscribe to 10% or more your business may be entitled to use the GreenPower logo on company signage and marketing materials. This is a great way to differentiate your business from your competitors.

Finally, Clean Energy can help you to fulfill your company’s environmental policies and objectives and help improve your overall environmental performance rating. So there it is. Clean Energy is good for the environment and for business. But how much does it cost?

Well, the price is just six cents per kilowatt-hour more than standard electricity. And you can choose the mix that suits you. That is, you can subscribe to have just 2.5% of your electricity as Clean Energy – or you could go all the way up to 100%.

If you’re an average business on Tariff 20 General Supply, using around 7,500 kilowatt-hours of electricity over 12 months, a 10% subscription to Clean Energy would only cost an additional $45 per year.

Signing up to Clean Energy only takes a few minutes, and you can cancel any time without penalty. To subscribe or to find out more about Clean Energy, go to ergon.com.au and click on “business”, “renewable energy”, and “clean energy for business”.

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