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Why have prices changed?

You may be wondering, why is Sumo increasing the price of my electricity? The short answer is, it is becoming more expensive to supply. Generation costs have risen 150% in the last 18 months.

Below we have given you the longer answer and it’s worth a read to give you a more in-depth understanding of why price rises are happening and what Sumo is doing about it.

1. Generation
Climate change and ageing assets are forcing the closure of cheap coal fired power stations like Victoria’s Hazelwood, and to fill the void we rely on more expensive gas fired power to meet Victoria’s demand. As more of Australia’s coal fired stations come up for closure in the coming years, we will need to generate more and more electricity by other means such as gas to meet customer demand.

Renewable energy sources are still expensive and they don’t generate electricity all the time. The good news is they’re becoming cheaper, and batteries will help to supply electricity when renewable sources don’t, like at night when the sun isn’t shining.

Historically, gas lines have run from the Bass Strait direct to Victoria, giving us cheap and plentiful gas. However, Australia’s ever-growing gas network has seen this gas being delivered into New South Wales and Queensland, and for the first time in 40 years gas is now being shipped overseas to foreign buyers in Asia. Unfortunately, sending Australia’s gas overseas means that Australians must pay the higher global price for gas. And so long as we still rely on gas to generate electricity, this is also driving up the wholesale price of electricity.

2. Distribution
Once electricity has been generated, someone needs to send it to you via the poles and wires – these are who we call the ‘distributors’. The distributors own and look after the network that connects the electricity to your home.

Every few years energy distributors are given the go ahead from the Australian Energy Regulator to upgrade their networks and then charge that cost back, plus a little more, to you the customer. Australia’s networks need to cover large distances, but we also expect them to be very reliable (‘gold-plated’), which costs money. To illustrate, America has a total of 320 million people and a network worth $126 billion; in Australia we have 24 million people but a network that is worth over $100 billion! The cost of that network has been passed onto you, the consumer.

3. Retailers
As a retailer (Sumo) we buy our energy from the generators, pay a fee to the distributors, and then sell this to you the customer. As a business, I’m sure you can appreciate we also need to charge a margin so that we can provide you service and support, such as getting your home connected. At Sumo we keep our costs to a minimum because we too are energy customers and understand the pain and frustration of mounting energy costs.

So, what is Sumo doing about rising prices? We are working hard to wrestle better power prices from those that produce energy. We are lobbying governments and engaging with national regulators to improve the situation for customers.

As your retail electricity supplier, we’re determined that all our customers are armed with the information they need to monitor their energy usage. That’s why we have introduced a proactive text messaging system so that when we see you are using more power than you usually do – which will result in higher bills – we’ll alert you and provide tips on how you can keep your bills down.

We are also finding other ways to save you money. Sumo Perks offers great savings for everyday items like groceries and petrol, and we are working hard to build a range of products like solar, batteries and LEDS.

In the meantime, we’ll be working as hard as ever to ensure our customers have access to the best value.

What is a smart meter?

Smart meters are two-way digital meters that measure and record electricity usage (per kWh) every 30 minutes. This data is automatically sent to the electricity distributor or energy retailer. For more information please see our article on smart meters.

How do I move interstate?

Moving to Victoria? Let’s get you connected. Click here for more information or simply call us now on 13 88 60.

Where can I find a copy of your retail Market Terms & Conditions?

Please find a copy of our latest retail Market Terms and Conditions here.

Do you discount your whole bill?

Sumo discounts off the usage only charges, we do not apply discounts to the daily supply charge, or any additional fees and charges.

What does Sumo offer if I have Solar?

If you have installed solar PV (or some other kind of small-scale generating facility) at your premises, you may be eligible to be paid for excess electricity you feed back into the grid. The rate we pay you for this electricity is called a feed-in tariff.

There are several Government-designed feed-in tariff schemes, so working out what you are entitled to can be tricky. Here’s the summary:

  • Current Feed-in Tariff

The current feed-in tariff commenced on 1 January 2013. Since 1 July 2017, this feed-in tariff scheme offers 11.3 cents/kWh (previously 5 cents/kWh) for excess electricity fed back into the grid. The feed-in tariff is available to solar and other eligible forms of renewable energy, such as wind, hydro or biomass, with a system size less than 100 kW.

  • Premium Feed-in Tariff (PFiT)

The PFiT started in late 2009 and closed to new applicants at the end of 2011. The schemed offered eligible households, businesses and community organisations with small-scale systems of 5 kW or less a credit of at least 60 cents/kWh for excess electricity fed back into the grid.

Eligible properties with an effective PFiT contract will continue to receive this rate until 2024, provided they do not add extra solar panels to their system.

  • Transitional Feed-in Tariff (TFiT)

The TFiT replaced the Premium Feed-in Tariff in 2011 and closed to new customers on 31 December 2012. The TFiT scheme offered eligible properties with small-scale solar PV systems of 5 kW or less a minimum credit of 25 cents/kWh for excess electricity fed back into the grid.

The TFiT ended on 31 December 2016. From 1 January 2017, eligible customers were transitioned to the current feed-in tariff (above).

  • Standard Feed-in Tariff (SFiT)

The SFiT closed to new applicants on 31 December 2012. SFiT generally provided a ‘one-for-one’ rate, based on the retail electricity rate paid by the customer, for excess renewable electricity generated by eligible properties across Victoria. Customers with solar or other renewable energy systems, such as wind, hydro or biomass, with a system size of less than 100 kilowatts, could access the scheme prior to its closure.

The SFIiT ended on 31 December 2016. From 1 January 2017, these customers are entitled to the current feed in tariff (above).

If you are a Sumo Power customer planning to install solar PV at your home, please call us to see if you will be eligible for a feed-in tariff and to arrange the necessary paperwork.

The terms on which we pay feed-in tariffs to eligible customers are available here.

How can I reduce my energy usage?

Making changes to the way you use electricity could help you save on your next electricity bill.

Here are a few simple ideas for your home:

  • Turn appliances off at the wall (even standby mode uses energy).
  • Use a power board to supply electricity to more than one appliance.
  • Obviously, turn off lights in rooms where you don’t need them on.
  • Change your light bulbs to compact fluorescent energy saving globes.
  • Consider using spotlights or lamps instead of using main lights.
  • Microwaves use less electricity than an oven.
  • Use economy cycles on your dishwasher and washing machine.
  • Set your fridge temperature to 4-5 degrees and your freezer temperature between -15 and -18 degrees Celsius.
  • Set your hot water temperature to 50 degrees Celsius.
  • Clean your air conditioner or cooler so it is more energy efficient.

Visit these sites for electricity saving ideas:

sustainability.vic.gov.au
energyrating.gov.au

Why hasn’t my bill or Welcome Pack arrived?

Check your junk or spam folder in your emails as some email providers automatically filter your emails if they believe it is junk or spam. Once you have marked anything from Sumo Power as not junk or spam nothing we send you should go to that folder. If you still haven’t received this within 6 business days (if you have selected post) or within 4 business days (for email) please send us an enquiry via email or call us on 13 88 60.

Do I have to pay by Direct Debit?

No. We have a variety of payment options including telephone, online, and BPAY all of which can be found here or on the front page of your bill. A lot of our customers use the quick pay button on the front page of our website. We encourage direct debit because it is the easiest way to save you time and never forget a bill.