Why Are Electricity Prices Increasing in Australia?

It has been more than a century since Australia began supplying electricity to its local populace. Melbourne was the first city to build a power station, illuminating the city’s streets. At the turn of the century, nearly all streets in Australia were supplied with electric power. And by 1927, Australian households were finally connected to an electric power grid, to step out of the darkness, so to speak, and into the light.

Today, Australians rely on electricity not only for lighting but to power nearly every aspect of their daily lives.

Electricity Price Determinants

The Queensland Competition Authority (QCA), who is responsible for setting electricity prices in Queensland, uses the Benchmark Retail Cost Index (BRCI) mechanism to calculate the regulated retail cost of electricity prices. The yearly BRCI is a function of the change in electricity supply costs over the load costs for the State.

Translated to actual consumer pricing, this means that consumers pay for four (4) electricity price components:

The cost to create electricity
The cost to build and maintain the power lines (transmission cost)
The cost to build and maintain the network of poles and wires for electricity delivery to consumers (delivery cost)
The cost to connect, bill and manage electricity consumers’ accounts (retail cost).

In 2009, the Queensland Department of Mines and Energy reported that the combined costs of transmission and distribution (network cost) In Australia accounted for nearly half of consumers’ electricity bill (47%). Power generation is lesser at 44% while retail costs are only 9% of the total.

Despite these costs of electricity, Queensland’s regulated electricity pricing spares consumers from paying the full amount, and remains one of the lowest prices in the nation. However, Queensland’s electricity prices are poised to rise in the next few years due to an unprecedented change in industry conditions.

Industry Challenges

Today, the power sector is facing unique challenges. Global fuel prices are at a record-high. The demand for electricity is growing by leaps and bounds. Add to that the increasing environmental adversities faced not only by the nation but by the entire planet. These factors easily compound an industry already beset by capacity demands, infrastructure reliability, transmission and distribution requirements, and better environmental performance.

As early as 2009, Ergon Energy Corporation Limited (Ergon) and ENERGEX Limited (ENERGEX), Queensland’s two distribution companies, had indicated their plan to increase their infrastructure investments over the next five years. They propose to invest around $11.9 billion to upgrade their distribution network infrastructures, to meet current and future demands. Approximately $3.7 billion more will be invested to maintain the existing networks and other operational expenditures. These new investments will maintain the security and reliability of power supply and delivery to customers. However, this means that a portion of these costs will be charged to customers through increases in the cost of distribution services.

On the other hand, if the industry hesitates to spend money on these investments, the end result is the inability of the power industry to meet growing demands for reliable and quality power, driving costs up and impacting local consumers all the same.

Drivers of Electricity Increases

The planned network expenditure by ENERGEX and Ergon are aimed to address high electricity demand and consumption in Queensland.

Approximately $15.6 billion is targeted in the next five years and allocated for the following purposes:

Replacement of aging network infrastructures
Maintenance of vegetation along power lines
Repair of infrastructure from seasonal storms and weather changes

The electricity demand curve grows upward as dictated by:

1. Increase in population

By end of 2009, Queensland’s population sustained a growth rate of 2.4%. Overseas migration accounted for 50% of the population growth, natural population increase was noted at 37.3%, and interstate migration accounted for the rest of the 12.7% growth. The trend will be on the rise over the succeeding years.

2. Change in customer preferences

Customers nowadays prefer the use of energy-intensive electronic appliances such as mobile cellular phones, water heating systems, air-conditioning units, to name a few. The adoption rate of information technologies in the household has increased by 5.9% in 2009, and is expected to continue its upward trend as more and more households gain access to Internet broadband connections.

Looking Forward

The actual impact of the changes in transmission and distribution pricing has a potential effect on the electricity prices charged to consumers. The QCA finally announced in May 2010 that the notified prices for the next two years will increase by 13.29%.

The Queensland government is offering rebates and incentives to help consumers manage their electricity bills. Up to $1000 in yearly rebates can be gained by households that adopt other sources of energy, such as the use of renewable solar-powered appliances and the practice of energy-saving methods.

Renewable energy from the sun, wind, geothermal vents, biomass production, hydro-electric sources, to name a few, dovetails with the Queensland Renewable Energy Plan (QREP) launched in 2009. The plan aims to promote a low-emission future for Queensland, by reducing greenhouse gasses released by conventional power generation infrastructure.

Selling My Electricity to the Grid: Is This Really True, or Fantasy?

You keep hearing about selling electricity to your supplier but is it true. You may be having some difficulty believing that you can just plug in and have the system accept your power offering so here is a little help to understand how it all works. Here I am giving you a simplified version of how your local system could work. First you need to understand the language.

The Grid or The Network Names for the System of Electrical Energy Distribution.
The Source Someone who has a ” Power Station “, Oil, Coal, Gas, Neuclear, Wind, Hydro,Solar or even magnetic generation and sells their energy output to the network.
The Network Installed cables to link everyone together collecting energy from multiple sources and distributing it to customers.
The Supplier Someone who buys energy in Bulk from the Network, sells the energy to the individual customers and sorts out the bills.
The Customer Someone who needs to buy some energy.
The Electricity Meter A device that records the flow of Electrical energy between any of the above and forms the basis of the “Electricity Bill” everybody on the Grid has at least one of these.

Did you notice that non of the above descriptions included any measure of size. When you think about a supplier you imagine a power station lots of land, great big buildings, trucks and trains in and out, steam, noise, a forest of 2″ diameter cables crisscrossing the sky. But if you think about a customer you can believe a little old lady in a shack with a 50watt light bulb.

However these things are interchangeable, if the Little old lady has a mini wind turbine in her back garden and its connected to the house supply then every time the wind turbine makes more energy than she requires she becomes a Power Source. If a vast power station shuts down for any reason then it becomes a customer. Thinking about the Customers their demand is constantly changing and the Sources of supply must change to balance the demands of the Network. We can all understand big changes in the weather affecting demand. Mass usage of heating and cooling equipment must substantially change overall energy demand. But did you know that popular TV programs cause havoc with the networks because at the end of the show “Millions” of people rush out and switch the electric kettle on to make coffee and tea. This means that all Big Sources of supply need be switched on and off according to demand and this is directed by ” The controllers of the Grid “.

However when the Source is switched off the supplier still needs power to run the business, it still has lights, heating, computer systems etc etc. This means that The Electricity Meter is recording electrical energy sent to the network when the source is supplying and recording electrical energy taken from the Network when the Source is switched off. So The Electricity Meter runs both ways and presents an average Bill.
What this means that is that if you, as a Customer, put electrical energy into the Network then your Electricity Meter will run backwards as you are now acting as a Source of supply. As long as your home made electricity is at local voltage and the total energy you supply is less than the total you use you can literally just plug and go.

If you want to make an overall profit then there are different rules and you can usually sell your power for higher prices. For more information on self sufficiency and alternative technologies check out my website. Regards Mecford

For more information on self sufficiency and alternative technologies check out my website. Regards Mecford


Mecford is an ex Logistics and Manufacturing Efficiency Consultant who has turned to online business to pursue his interest in alternative technologies,solar energy and wind power.

Electric Vehicles and Automated Charging Stations

Electric vehicles like electric cars, electric motorcycles and electric scooters are becoming a more a popular type of transportation. They are usually quieter and mechanically simpler than internal combustion engine vehicles. The cost of recharging is much less than gasoline; it is like paying 60 cents per gallon of gas. Electric vehicles are typically directly powered by external power stations that are powered by stored electricity. Electric vehicle charges may take up to a few hours for normal everyday usage.

CAN is a communication protocol that is commonly used in the Automobile Industry. Electric vehicles can communicate with charging stations through CAN to Wi-Fi converters like I-7540D-WF. Serial to Wi-Fi converters like M2M-711D can bring the charge pump to communicate with the electric vehicle. Cellular modems like GTM-201-3GWA can allow electric charge pumps to communicate back to a central location and can report pump usage or problems with the pump.

CAN converters allow vehicles to communicate with different types of devices and networks. They translate CAN protocol to another type of protocol other devices and networks can understand. I-7540D-WF is a CAN to Wi-Fi converter which supports the wireless transmission of CAN data between various CAN networks or allows communication between a CAN network and a WLAN network according to 802.11b/g standards. CAN converters like I-7540D-WF are set up with a software utility, support encryption and can be used in point to point or point to multi point topologies.

Serial to Wi-Fi converters allow pump stations to communicate with electric vehicles by allowing serial data to communicate with the WLAN network. M2M-711D supports data tunneling between two RS-485 or RS-422 serial devices through virtual COM ports. They support a wireless transmission distance up to 100 meters, support encryption and are set up with a software utility.

Cellular modems like GTM-201-3GWA allow pump stations to report back to a central server. The pump and alarm data can be collected and stored for analysis. They can also allow the charge station to send electric vehicle operators an SMS text message when the vehicle is done charging. GTM-201-3GWA supports 850/900/1800/1900 Mhz and 3G networks.

M2M devices allow electric vehicles to communicate with charge stations and charge stations to communicate back to central servers. Machine to Machine solutions help make our lives simpler and more convenient. Text message notifications help drivers to know exactly when their vehicles are done charging so they can more easily make it to their next destination.

Energy From the Phone – The Perfect Way to Save Money From the Electricity Bill

Most home appliances use electricity to work. In addition to light, which is so necessary during the night and the darker days as well as in places where there is no other source of light, the electricity is also used for powering refrigerators, televisions, ovens and other similar home appliances without which modern life would not be so appealing and comfortable. The more appliances you have the better your life is. On the other hand, the more appliances you have, the more you will have to spend on your electricity bill. Every year, thousands of dollars are spent on electricity bills and many people get disconnected from the national electrical network or get high loans because they are no longer able to cope with the huge amounts of money they have to pay for power.

Millions of people think that they spend far too much on electricity and even though they try to limit the electricity consumption as much as possible, they still receive huge bills which become harder and harder to pay. If you are one of those people who struggle each and every day to cut up from the energy consumption, then here is one great way which can help you save lots of money from the electricity bill – the energy from the phone. Probably this is the last place where you would be tempted to search for an alternative way of getting energy, but this is by far one of the most effective manner by which you can continue to consume as much power as before and pay less for the energy you get.

The explanation behind getting energy from the phone is quite simple: electrical current is transmitted through the phone line, regardless of the phone operator you use. This enables the entire phone network to function properly. What you do is simply take that power from the phone line and deposit it inside batteries. The batteries charged in this way are then used to power different appliances from the house. You can use them for virtually anything which can be powered with batteries without any risk of damaging the appliance, as the electricity you get from the phone line is the same as the one you get from the power outlet.

All you will need is a special device which can help you extract the energy from the phone line and deposit it inside the batteries and you will save more money than you could imagine without compromising your comfort. This is one of those chances you cannot miss as it can make your life better without having to waste lots of money on things you can get for almost nothing!

The Electric Car Debate

Contrary to the popular myth concerning the green credentials of the electric car, new research claims that greater use of electric cars will have the effect of increasing Britain’s CO2 level of emissions instead of cutting them. They also draw into question the governments 250 million incentive scheme intended to encourage take up of electric cars. The government will pay anyone buying an electric car a sweetener of £5,000 towards the cost.

They point to the fact that much of the country’s electricity is still being produced by burning fossil fuels such as coal and gas and that when this is transported via the national grid to cars and stored in batteries there is a significant loss of power due to system leakage.

The group Transport Watch, who gathered the information, claim that when all the factors relating to the production and delivery of electricity are taken into account then electric cars emit almost twice as much CO2 as diesel driven cars. A report says, “We conclude that the notion that electric cars will reduce emissions is a faction.”

It was calculated that of the energy produced at coal and oil burning power stations, only about 24% actually reaches the vehicle after drainage and loss are taken into account. This compares poorly with a modern diesel engine, which scores 45% efficiency.

The RAC concluded that the electric car at present, while an innovative dimension in transport was not the solution to the world’s pollution and transport problems. They felt that more attention needed to be dedicated towards developing lighter, smaller cars and more efficient and cleaner engines to drive them, this would be a more practical way of approaching the reduction of CO2 emissions.

They point to the fact that if China was to take on the use of electric cars in their current format it would have the effect of doubling China’s already massive CO2 contribution. The development of a viable electric network and delivery points across the country will also add to the cost incurred in setting up the electric car network.

When all of these factors are considered it is believed that the EV example is not the cure all solution that certain sectors are promoting it as and the committee for Climate Change has called for greater research into changing current practices as the obvious way forward.

That is not to say that this will always be the case and the Chinese are making progress with the production of a concept car that should have negative CO2 emissions but this is still some way off entering production. The vehicle works on the principle of generating its own solar power as it travels. Ideas are also being considered that will include wind powered cars in the future but how far into the future this is, is uncertain.

Home Solar Power Systems – Join the Millions Who Already Use Solar Power Electricity

Grid Intertied Electricity System

Let’s start using the most straightforward home solar power systems connection which is the grid intertied solar electrical energy system. The grid which is being talking about is the power grid your house is situated on. Each and every city has built an electric power grid so that the electric company can provide electrical energy to your residence.

Should you be on the power grid, then you will be spending money on electricity as soon as you open up an account and switch on the lights. With the grid intertied system, any solar power electricity that you create from your household solar system is funneled directly into your home electrical network. Electrical energy produced in the solar electric panel array is next passed through a DC disconnect panel. This device interrupts the energy flow from the array.

After that, an inverter changes the DC current of solar electrical panel into AC current for your home outlets. The inverter is hooked up into your main panel. When you use solar power electricity, you may observe your meter run in reverse as you defray the price of your electricity bills. Tell your utility company and hire a skilled electrician to do the rewiring work.

Grid Intertied Electricity System with Battery Backup

The difference between this method and the first is you can store excess electricity for a rainy day, literally. If the sun is out bright and strong like in the summer season, you can use a grid intertied electricity system that is equipped with a battery.

Solar electricity still flows from the photovoltaic (PV) array to all of your system, but is sent to a battery dump. A charge control panel oversees the movement of electrical power. Electricity then flows to the inverter and the remainder of the system just like the grid intertied system. Only the surplus is held inside battery

Off-Grid Solar Electrical System

This method will work nicely for those who are not installed on a power grid. They settle too far from cities and towns to get covered. The solar electrical system is their one source of electricity.

This particular home solar power systems type flows similar to the grid intertied system with battery backup. A battery stores electricity for the days when sunshine isn’t strong. You still need electricity on all those days. From the breaker panel, the electricity goes directly into your outlets instead of to the meter since you will not be on a power grid. You’ll at the same time see a backup power generator with most of these systems.

Each of these home solar power systems is different in price. The purchase price increases with additional features. Choose a system that meets your requirements to save the maximum amount of money as possible on electricity for your home.

Go for Reputed Manufacturers for Your Electrical Accessories

There are a wide range of electrical accessories which have different technical specifications with regard to dimensions, operation, installation, etc. Heat shrink tubes, insulation covers, heat shrink caps, screened separable connectors for touch proof terminations are just to name a few of them.

Why should one opt for a known name in the field? These manufacturers have a rugged design for the accessories which matches international standards for safety, making them withstand the environmental factors. Their accessories go through thorough quality checks. The experienced manufacturers provide onsite support in terms of installation, training, user- friendly operational guidelines, material safety data sheets to ensure protection of equipment and personnel as well as compliance with regulatory bodies. These manufacturers not only install their products at the client’s site but also extend their expertise for trouble shooting.

From safety point of view screened separable connectors hold an important place in the list of electrical accessories. They make the terminations touch proof. They have two components male called plugs and female called jacks. They connect the polymeric cables to equipment such as transformers. They work on electrical and mechanical energy and join the terminations thus resulting in touch proof property. Their outer screen makes them insulated. This outer screen has conductive properties and it is completely touch proof. These connectors are compatible with both A and C type of bushings. Their design is slug fit and end product is of high quality. Their working capacity at high current values up to 1250A and voltage up to 24KV makes their performance very effective. Screened separable connectors have excellent insulation and resistance. They are an important interface and have to tolerate environmental stress such as temperature, pressure, moisture, etc. This makes them reliable and long lasting.

Their high quality material and design finish results in an easy, speedy and safe installation. They can be sized to fit into cringed spaces. Thus they find application in a variety of industries such as oil refineries, underground electrical network, mining, shipping, etc.

Insulation covers are another critical accessory. They are insulation blankets which provide a complete coverage. They are designed to be removable and replaceable. Thus can be changed whenever desired. Their design again is facility specific, process friendly. They help maintain temperature during process thus increasing the life of the product, reducing wear and tear of the machinery, providing safety to the handlers, saving energy and ultimately increasing efficiency of production. The screened separable connectors provide high electric strength. The insulation covers or blankets perfectly cover different types of valves, piping, etc. High performance, multi- range touch-proof termination kits and insulation covers provide a compact design and efficient performance.

These become smart and economic electrical solutions when brought from reputed manufacturers.

Network – Centralization In a Smart Home

This article will reveal information that can help one harmoniously organize the networks following the ideal model of networking in a smart home. How to fit together physically the networks and how the equipment can be located in a single or two places in the house are also things to be dealt with.

First of all, let’s identify the major components of the home infrastructure. It may consist of the following networks:

* an electrical network;
* a phone network;
* a security network;
* an intercom (internet computer) network;
* an entertainment network.

It is not necessarily that a home has all these types of networking. In the past, each of the mentioned kinds of networks required specific cables, but now the twisted double cable is often commonly used for all of them. The possibility that two or more different networks do the same thing within a home raises difficulties when thinking about networking. This is why you have to think of the process from three points of view:

* Physical configuration: it refers to the equipment, the cables, connections that make up the physical aspects of the network.
* Logical configuration: to visualize each network as a whole structured after the star model, where cables meet at a single junction point, similarly to the spokes of a wheel that unify at the hub.
* Applications: it relates to the function, the purpose of each network and implies summing all the required connections.

Building home networks in an efficient way involves thinking the whole process backwards, that is from the finite result, then from the analysis of each individual network and its layout to the incipient stage of cables, connectors and specific hardware components. This way you can discover possibilities to save money because two networks can prove to transmit over the same in-wall cables.

Although in today’s home the networks are quite independent in what their function and set of cables and wires are concerned, they have several interconnection points which make them behave like a somewhat unified network. The interconnection points of these networks result from:

* the media shared to carry different kinds of signals (e.g. telephone wiring can carry telephone service and data networking);
* the existence of a device that connects to several networks (e.g a DSS satellite receiver is connected to both video and data networks);
* common incoming service provider feeds for multiple networks (e.g. a company that carries out telephone, Internet and cable services).

All this information aims at giving a clue on how to minimize the presence of useless and redundant cables around the house.

How to Make Electricity Absolutely FREE Series – Top 3 Tips How to Make a Magnetic Power Generator

These are my top three tips on how to make a magnetic power generator. A magnetic power generator is perhaps the best way to make free electricity, which will power your home. So here are the three tips on how to do it:

Tip No1: Before starting your project you need to reduce your current energy consumption.

A magnetic power generator is the best way to make free electricity at home as it is independent of natural conditions and keeps running constantly once you start it up. However, it can not cover your whole electricity bill if you are not using your electricity wisely. What do I mean?

Most households use more electricity than they need. For example, they waste electricity through poor insulation on walls and windows, not switching off air-conditioners and other appliances when they are not in use, and by using inefficient regular light bulbs. So, the first step before even starting to build your magnetic power generator should be to replace your regular light bulbs with LED light bulbs, and then make sure that you have unplugged all of your appliances when you are not using them.

Tip No2: Learn How Grid Systems Work

There are several ways, in which you could make renewable energy for your house. You can do it through solar, wind, or magnetic power. Before you start your project to make one of these systems you need to be aware of how grid systems work.

To put it simply, this is the way, in which the electricity generated through the renewable energy system reaches your household electrical network, or grid. Making a renewable energy installation without understanding how grid systems work would be impossible. There are four basic types of such systems – portable, grid-intertied with or without battery backup, and off grid power systems, and you need to know the basics about each of them.

Tip No3: Get an instruction guide to take you through the construction process

You did not think that you could make a magnetic power generator without the proper instruction guide, right? An instruction guide could save you both money and time, and would thus repay for itself in no time.

Constructing a magnetic power generator, like any other advanced DIY project, requires significant know-how and experience, which you might not possess. Such experience takes time to accumulate on your own. However, there is a better option and that is to benefit from the experience of others. For a fee, negligible when compared to the amount you would save using your generator, you can get all the advice you would need for successful implementation of your project.

These were the top three tips on how to make a magnetic power generator. The most important things to do, once again, are to reduce your current power consumption, to learn about grid systems, and to get a proper instruction guide. By following these three tips you can definitely make your own magnetic power generator and start making your own free electricity.

Sudan Electrical Ambitions

Sudan has seen its share of strife in the recent past, the country’s tumultuous past has come back to haunt it as the country has divided into Sudan and South Sudan, with South Sudan becoming independent in January 2012.

Sudan suffers from severe power crisis limiting it economic growth. Although electrical power generation has not yet seen any substantial growth over the years the country has steadily been increasing investments to solve this issue. The total installed capacity in Sudan amounts to 1,234.6 MW with the state owned National Electricity Corporation (NEC) being responsible for electricity generation, transmission and distribution. The fact remains that only 30% of the country’s population has access to electricity.

Sudan’s energy consumption mix continues to be dominated by oil with hydroelectricity playing a minor role accounting for less than 10%. The Sudanese government is planning to build a national electricity network (grid) and they are taking steps in this regard. Electrical power generation and establishing a secure grid network seems to be Sudan’s major concern.

South Sudan now sees more investments in the power sector with higher number of electrical generation projects in that region. Electricity is still being supplied through diesel powered generators to a large extent and more than 90% of the South Sudanese people are without access to electricity. Electricity supply is characterized with poor infrastructures, frequent power breaks, lack of spare parts and lack of technical persons. The total electric power required by South Sudan is estimated to be 450 MW and this is currently not being met. Although there are large hydropower plants being built along the river from Nimuli to Juba, it would take some time before they start actual operation.

Building medium hydropower and solar energy plants are needed to supplement the current poor situation of electric power in this region. With the current infrastructure and local knowledge, an installed capacity of only 25 MW is possible for a single plant. Sudan and South Sudan needs to look at building the technical knowhow and increase collaborations with power generation companies outside. South Sudan has been undertaking feasibility studies for various hydropower projects with a combined capacity of 2,000 MW, the planned projects include Fula (890 MW), Shukoli (235 MW), Lakki (410 MW) and Bedden (570 MW).

Most of the diesel generators used for power generation currently is being sourced from Finland. However some of these generators are not operational due to lack of maintenance and fuel shortages. Sudan would have to increasingly rely on electrical component sourcing for power generation operations. The focus would be to procure cheap and quality components and technical know-how from developing economies. Sudan can also encourage power companies in countries such as India to become partners with their public sector power companies such as The Southern Sudan Electricity Corporation and The National Electricity Corporation of Sudan (NEC).

Sudan has vast potential to generate electricity from sources like hydro, along the Nile, solar and geothermal. With so much expected in terms of growth it is the right phase for electric generation and distribution companies to find new opportunities and markets. The introduction of new power grids in this region can bring about better efficiency and reduce power losses and outages. Also installation of transmission lines in Sudan is expected to see major growth and there is an opportunity for investment. For example: Sudan has seen significant funding by the Government of China, to the extent of 85%, in its power line development initiative.

The Sudanese government is also proposing several projects to expand thermal and hydropower production, but is struggling to arrange sufficient financing. This is an investment opportunity area. Sudan is currently heavily dependent on imports as the native technology in the electric power generation segment is virtually nonexistent. In 2009, after the Merowe Dam came into operation, suddenly the total power production was doubled, requiring an upgrade of the grid to bring the electricity to the market. It is the aim of the Sudanese government to increase the access to electricity from 30% currently up to 90%. Aside from hydropower, small scale wind and solar installations can be found in Sudan. This region has extremely high solar intensity and sufficient sources of water. Biomass or biofuel production could also be a viable industry.

The current electric power generation market in Sudan and South Sudan is not great and is secondary to the oil and gas sector. With numerous proposed hydro power projects and the need to establish a national grid, Sudan and South Sudan are looking for foreign direct investments, and herein lays an opportunity for electric power generation companies to enter the market

Brickwork Sourcing works with global electric companies and component manufactures and has the capabilities of providing end-to-end sourcing as well as vendor and supply chain management solutions.

Brickwork is the pioneer of the Virtual Office business. We provide virtual support for businesses across the globe. Our well informed Remote Sourcing Analysts (RSAs) can provide support at any or all stages of your sourcing lifecycle. Your Virtual Sourcing Office can be a large team of analysts supporting large companies with established procurement processes or a one-man-show to function as your entire procurement office.