Strata schemes struggle to find the right one. Here are few things to watch out for….
It most certainly shouldn’t just be 1). A strata scheme in Manly switched to the most competitive priced tariff for their scheme, only to find that they did not have a smart meter installed. Without easy street access for a meter reader, this meant a strata committee member had to take up the responsibility of taking meter reads and then entering them through the energy retailers portal until a smart meter upgrade could be arranged. Also, having just completed an LED lighting upgrade and receiving a number of estimated meter reads from the energy retailer, they could not get a measure on the savings they had achieved.
Billing errors by electricity companies are much more common than you would think. That is why commercial operations e.g. large fitness chains pay consultants every month to check all their bills for billing anomalies.
Changing the type of meter
Strata schemes have different type of meters, called small market or large market meters. The tariffs which you get quoted on, depend on the meter you have. If for example, you have done an energy efficiency upgrade you might be better off changing to a small market meter.
Future expected changes in electricity load
If you are contemplating installation of an electric heat pump for hot water, then your load may increase in the future. If you are on a tiered block tariff, you might be better off changing your type of meter to a time of use tariff.
You can read more in this case study.
Reverse Auction vs Blind Auction
A reverse auction for electricity tariff doesn’t always invite ALL the energy retailers on the market to the game. Also, in some reverse auctions the bids put by energy retailers are seen by the other energy retailers. This doesn’t always get the energy retailers putting their very best offers into the market. The blind auction is more expensive, but running one of these can pay dividends as the energy retailers will give their best.
Is your strata thinking of installing solar panels in the future? If so, a tariff that has a 10c solar feed-in rate is much more attractive than one which has 5c or 6c.
If your strata building is getting suddenly high costs in a particular month or quarter, it could be because your power factor needs correcting. It’s another article on its own.
Some modern internet portals provided by electricity companies provide ‘set and forget’ alerts. If there is a sudden spike in electricity in the building, an alert can be sent to the strata manager or strata committee member. The strata manager who proactively calls the strata committee to let them know that there is an unusually high load and they should check if ventilation fans are shorting out is in a better position than one who turns up to an angry AGM of owners.
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Contact Editor: Ross McIntyre