Residents in Perth and the South West of Western Australia who are experiencing financial hardship may soon be able to take advantage of free daytime energy thanks to Synergy’s rumoured launch of a discounted hardship tariff.

Whilst full details of the scheme are yet to be announced, Solar Market understands that the new tariff will work on the same eligibility criteria as the Hardship Utility Grant Scheme (HUGS) and will provide free electricity between 11am and 3pm and reduced rates for evening and nighttime usage.

It’s unclear if WA’s regional electricity retailer Horizon Power will also provide a similar tariff.

Enabled by excess solar power in Perth

Solar panels in Perth have continued to remain popular in recent years, with many homeowners and businesses taking advantage of the city’s abundant sunshine and continuing solar rebates in WA to generate their own clean, renewable energy.

Synergy is largely able to provide free daytime energy by taking advantage of Perth’s solar power excess which is driven by some of the highest levels of solar panel installations in the world. WA’s wholesale electricity market frequently experiences days where the wholesale “Balancing Price” goes negative with market participants getting paid to consume electricity. This follows on the back of boutique retailer Bright Connect launching a free Electric Vehicle charging trial this week.

This has seen Synergy reduce the Solar Feed-in Tariff amount it pays for excess solar fed back into the grid under it’s Distributed Energy Buy Back Scheme (DEBs) in recent years.

Possible electricity price rises coming for households in WA

Whilst Western Australia hasn’t experienced the huge increase in electricity prices seen on the east coast, pricing pressure continues to mount for Synergy. This month, a leak at Santos’s Veranus Island gas processing facility added to the already challenging supply issues in the electricity supply chain with Synergy forced to import coal from New South Wales at hugely inflated prices.

This could see the McGowan government raise the residential “A1” tariff by substantially more than the 2.58% electricity price rise passed on in last year’s budget.

WA households generally don’t have the choice of electricity retailer like their counterparts in other states.

Price increases already here for WA Businesses

Solar Market’s sister site Energy Market is already seeing price increases passed on to “contestable” business customers in WA going to market for electricity. We are also seeing some smaller electricity retailers declining to price new contracts and even hearing rumours of some asking existing customers to find alternative suppliers.

The Hardship Utility Scheme (HUGS)

All this serves to increase the uncertainty around cost of living for many households already being challenged by near record inflation. Synergy’s new electricity tariff will also work hand in hand with the Hardship Utility Grants Scheme (HUGS) provides financial assistance to eligible households facing difficult financial circumstances. Applications can be made via:

Manager HUGS
Department of Communities
Locked Bag 3
Perth BC 6849 

or via email to

Solar Market will publish more information on the new tariff when it’s announced including eligibility and how to apply.