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The Federal Government has kicked off the year by launching a fresh attack on renewable energy. The Turnbull government is determined to abolish both the renewable energy agency AND the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, making it even harder for the renewable energy sector to compete against subsidised coal-fired electricity.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and NSW Premier Mike Baird say they are committed to a renewable future, but they continue to approve dirty coal mines.

Our government doesn’t have a plan for our clean energy future.

If our politicians won’t provide the leadership we need, we’ll have to create the change we need ourselves. Here’s one easy thing we can all do right now. Electricity production in Australia spews out 600,000 tonnes of carbon pollution every day. Households are responsible for about half of that, so imagine the impact if we switched to a greener power company.

Make the switch

Many of the companies that you and I pay to provide electricity own dirty coal-fired power stations. Sadly, as customers we are propping up these polluting companies.

A few days ago, AGL announced it was pulling out of coal seam gas in NSW – which is a tremendous relief for the communities of Gloucester and Camden where AGL is operating. The decision was a huge victory and shows what can happen if we all band together. We are glad AGL may have made the right decision this time, but they’re still Australia’s biggest carbon polluter because of the dirty power stations they own.

We’ve spent years campaigning to pressure the government to protect our land, water and climate from dirty coal. Now we’re taking on the companies directly by hitting them where it hurts – their bottom line. Let’s walk with our wallets and get our electricity from ethical sources that don’t pollute the atmosphere and cook the planet.

To make it as easy as possible for you to have an impact, we’ve partnered with Ethical Switch to give you up-to-date, easy-to-understand information about how to switch to a clean energy provider.

You can make the switch online right now.

 

Who is Ethical Switch?

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Ethical Switch ranks electricity companies on their green credentials, commitment to renewable energy, and their treatment of customers. They do rigorous research to establish the rankings and present the findings to you.

They do this solely to promote renewable energy and a greener, fairer Australia. Profits from Ethical Switch's campaigns are then shared with their partner charities – including us at the Nature Conservation Council – which empowers us to do more to protect nature.

When you switch, Ethical Switch will make a one-off $50 donation to us at the Nature Conservation Council, allowing us to keep pressuring government to move NSW away from coal and coal seam gas, and to invest in renewables.

Together we can keep up the fight for a fairer NSW powered be renewable energy.

Making the switch to 100% renewable energy companies is an important part of the campaign to protect special natural places from coal and gas. Opting for green power is a great way you can help stop these damaging projects.

If common sense and science won’t get our politicians over the line, let’s change the markets under their feet. 

Three reasons to switch

1. Tread lightly on our planet

The average Australian household emits 18 tonnes of carbon pollution each year, with almost a third from electricity.  Ethical Switch ranks all energy providers, but offers a switch to only Australia’s two greenest energy retailers, as ranked by Greenpeace’s 2015 Green Electricity Guide. Make the switch and be part of the solution.

2. You’ll support our work at the Nature Conservation Council

By switching today, Ethical Switch will make a one-off $50 donation to us at the Nature Conservation Council, allowing us to keep pressuring government to move NSW away from coal and coal seam gas, and to invest in renewables.

3. You could save money

Ethical Switch will only recommend companies that are committed to fair pricing– the companies they recommend are some of the cheapest in Australia. Take a look for yourself!

FAQs

1. Why should I switch my power provider?

We would all rather that the money we spent didn’t cause any harm which is why we have researched which companies are having a positive effect in society.

If you would rather be with a power company that considers its effect on the environment, treats its customers well, prices its products fairly and works hard to do good then select which state you are in using the form at the top of the page and choose your new power provider using our criteria table.

2. How easy is the switching process?

5 minutes from now you could be switched!

All you need is your personal details and your payment details – just use the "Select State" form at the top of the page to view our criteria table and select which power company you would like to switch to. The switch can be 100% completed online and only takes 5 minutes.

3. Will it be more expensive?

The short answer is no, it most likely won’t.

We consider fair pricing to be a cornerstone of our ethical companies and only offer switches to companies that we think fit the bill.

Powershop 
Powershop were found to be Victoria’s cheapest power provider on average according to a report by the Essential Services Commission in 2014.

The report showed that in Victoria Powershop’s prices were cheapest in 11 of the 15 residential scenarios shown, and Powershop was within the cheapest 3 in all 15 scenarios.

The full report is available to view here

Diamond Energy 
Diamond Energy has some of the most competitive electricity rates in VIC, SA, NSW and QLD for residential and small business customers. They continually appear as one of the lowest cost electricity retailers in government price comparison websites (eg Energy Made Easy, My Power Planner).

4. Can I get out of my current contract?

Yes, you can always switch your provider. It’s possible your existent contracts will require you to pay an exit fee but they are usually small amounts (between $25 and $75).

Powershop 
If you switch to Powershop then they will pay that fee for you up to $75 (which is likely to be more than enough to cover your whole exit fee). You can see how much certain power companies charge for exit fees on our criteria tables.

Diamond Energy 
If you have been with Diamond Energy for over a year then it is unlikely you will have to pay an exit fee. If you have been with Diamond Energy for less than a year then your exit fee will most likely be $22.

5. Will I be supporting green power?

Not only is Ethical Switch supporting companies that are 100% renewable, but they are supporting companies that actually providing green power into the grid.

What is Green Power?

The GreenPower program is a national accreditation program that aims to assist accredited renewable energy generators to compete with fossil fuel generators. The program also aims to increase the amount of renewable energy in Australia’s grids above and beyond the mandatory levels required by the Commonwealth Government’s Renewable Energy Target.

The GreenPower program has stringent and rigorous program rules that must be met to enable our GreenPower accredited product to bear the GreenPower tick. This tick assures customer they are making the best possible electricity choice for the environment.

So not only are Diamond and Powershop 100% renewable, they both have greenpower options.

Diamond Pure Plus – GreenPower

Powershop – Greenpower

An accredited product under the National GreenPower Accreditation Program.

Part of Meridian Energy, the largest 100% renewable energy generator in Australasia.

A choice of 100%, 50% or 20% of your metered electricity consumption as GreenPower accredited renewable energy.

Meridian operates two wind farms which produce more renewable energy than the total energy Powershop sells. Every dollar you spend with Powershop will help support renewable energy.

Elect this option and we will directly source the percentage you choose from GreenPower accredited renewable energy generators.

Powershop offers 100% GreenPower accredited products and Meridian Energy’s Mt Millar wind farm in South Australia is a 100% GreenPower accredited generator.

Diamond owns their own renewable generators and support renewable technologies including solar, bioenergy, wind and wave.

Opportunities for you to choose which renewable industry you wish to support including community energy projects, landfill gas, energy from sugar milling and other wind farms.

 

6. I already have solar power, can I still switch?

NSW Solar Bonus Scheme payments end on 31st December 2016.

Both Diamond and Powershop embrace their solar customers.

Diamond is close to finalizing a no upfront cost meter solution that will allow you to continue receiving Solar Bonus Scheme payments till 31st December 2016 and automatically switch you to net metering on 1st January 2017.

Powershop has introduced a program that if you currently receive the NSW Solar Bonus Scheme feed-in tariff and you switch to Powershop by 1 July 2016, they are offering you a smart meter, including installation, with no upfront charges or fees (assuming the site is safe for installation and access to the site is available). You will continue to receive the NSW Solar Bonus Scheme feed-in rate right up until it ends on 31 December 2016. At this time, Powershop will switch your smart meter from gross metering to net metering to ensure you’re getting the best out of your solar generation with the change in tariff. Powershop has no lock in contracts or exit fees and welcomes solar customers – all customers at Powershop have access to the same great discounts and solar customers are not subject to additional fees.

But what are the feed in tariffs?  

 

Min mandated feed-in

c/kwh

 Diamond rate

c/kwh

 Powershop

c/kwh

NSW

0.0

8.0

7.2

SA

6.8

8.0

n/a

Vic

5.0

8.0

6.4

Qld

0.0

8.0

n/a


Some tips from Diamond’s to get the most out of your solar system:

  • Get shifty! You could save by shifting your electricity usage around

Getting shifty is a great way to reduce your electricity bill and see a better return from your solar system.

Depending on the feed in tariff you are receiving, it may be beneficial to utilise the electricity you generate in your household first, rather than exporting it to the grid. This means you are using your own electricity and as a result, reducing what you use from your local grid and what you pay for! If you qualified for a high feed in tariff you may gain more by shifting some electricity usage from day time to overnight or on weekends.

If you want some help on how to save by shifting your electricity usage around, please get in touch.

  • Develop a feel for how your system is performing

Your inverter is a valuable source of information as it records data from your solar system including how much electricity it generates.

If you keep an eye on your inverter you will develop a feel for how your solar system is performing and this may help you identify any performance issues early.

The Clean Energy Council provides information on average daily solar generation in your area. Keep in mind factors such as panel orientation, angle, shading and dirt which can all impact your solar systems performance.

For information on how to read your inverter and interpret the data, refer to the instruction manual provided to you at time of installation.

  • Keep nearby vegetation from shading your panels

If nearby trees and shrubs are getting out of control and starting to shade your solar system, consider giving them a trim to ensure your panels are unobstructed.

  • Keep your solar system clean

Most modern solar panels do provide a level of self-cleaning when it rains. However excessive grime, dust, moss and bird-droppings can reduce performance over time.

Consider getting your panels cleaned by a trained and qualified person. Check with your Pure Power solar installer to see if they offer a cleaning and maintenance service.

If your solar panels are to be cleaned, ensure the panel manufacturers and system installer’s instructions are followed at all times. If you are cleaning them yourself, hosing down hot solar panels with cold tap water on a hot and sunny day is a particularly bad idea. Ensure all safety precautions are taken!

  • It may be time for a maintenance and safety check

To ensure the maximum ongoing benefit and safe operation of your solar system, consider organising a regular maintenance visit as recommended by your solar installer and poles and wires company. Ask them to check your system is operating to its full capacity; that panels and mounting hardware are securely fastened, all wiring is protected and not damaged by wildlife and all other requirements are met.

See full FAQs

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