Electricity Tariffs in Agriculture: Farmers' experience of tariff switching
Rural energy users, including farmers, can experience more frequent power outages, have less choice over energy retailers, and can pay more for electricity per kWh than city users. Changes to tariff structures and rates have impacted agricultural businesses.
The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) has partnered with the University of Queensland to understand the impact of tariffs switching on agricultural operations by working with farmers in Queensland and New South Wales in order to assist them in the decision-making process and support greater inclusion of farmers’ needs in the design of more flexible tariffs.
This project, funded by Energy Consumers Australia (ECA), aimed to identify the variables influencing farmers’ tariff choices and the impacts of new tariffs on their operations and behaviour. The study wanted to understand when and why farmers switch electricity tariffs and what (if any) impact the recent 2021-2023 Queensland tariff reforms have had on farmers. The study aims to assist farmers when deciding on the most suitable tariffs and to advocate for agriculture in tariff design. An additional objective of this project is to improve farmers’ energy literacy and promote tools to better manage energy as an internal factor of agribusiness to enhance productivity and reduce costs.
Between August 2021 and August 2022, 35 farmers were interviewed about the role of electricity in their operations. Specialists from Ergon Energy Retail and QFF were invited to comment on some of the key findings. This involved:
Data collection on farms’ electricity tariffs, connection points, usage patterns, and solar generation.
Interviews with farmers to understand the decision-making process and impacts of tariff switching, identifying the main challenges.
Development of resources and tools to raise awareness of issues and opportunities on farm operations in order to assist farmers in managing their tariffs and promote a better representation in tariff design.
If you want to see the complete interviews with representatives from Ergon and QFF, click on the links below: