As electricity tariffs have a complex configuration and are modified annually, it is difficult for consumers to choose the optimal option with lower costs. In the case of farmers, the seasonality of energy consumption and the multiple meters on farms make this process even more difficult.
Using the optimal tariff option for your agricultural operation can make a big difference. For example, a Mareeba Banana Farm saved over $20,000 per year – more than 20 per cent of its total energy costs, after switching from a demand tariff to an irrigation tariff. Conversely, a Mundubbera Citrus Farm saved around $11,000 per year by changing the irrigation tariff on its largest pump to a time of use tariff.
In addition, a Fodder Farm has reduced its energy costs after switching from pumping at night under an irrigation tariff to day-time pumping using energy produced from a solar system onsite, under a general supply tariff. However, the revenue from the solar energy exported to the grid has been lower than expected, given the reduction in feed-in tariff rates.
In these case studies, the optimal tariffs were identified based on the available options and the energy usage patterns of the farms. However, it’s important to assess tariff options annually, considering changes in energy use and tariff prices updates.
In this context, QFF and the University of Queensland are conducting a research project focused on understanding the impacts of electricity tariffs on agricultural operations and the barriers to accessing optimal options, aiming to assist farmers when tariff switching, helping to save money and improve productivity. Additionally, the results of this study will provide real experiences to support QFF submissions on energy regulations to promote greater inclusion of farmers’ needs in the design of more flexible tariffs.
Talk to us about how you choose tariffs for your farm and earn a $40 gift voucher. Join here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Z7NVMWZ.
If you want to know more about the research project, click HERE or email Carolina in the QFF energy team at email@example.com.