How to manage rising electricity prices in Newcastle

Any home owner in Australia that does not have solar power to generate electricity for their household use will be paying some of the highest electricity prices we have seen in years. The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), in its National Electricity Market (NEM) snapshot, said wholesale costs soared 141 per cent in the first quarter of 2022 compared with the same period last year.

In March 2023 there were 9 News reports citing The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) unveiling another draft electricity price increase of 20 per cent to 22 per cent for the default market offer (DMO) for the coming financial year.

While the Newcastle Herald quoted the Australian Energy Regulator released its draft default market offer decision for the 2023/24 financial year, which foreshadowed residential electricity price increases of between 19.5 and 23.7 per cent depending on the state and provider.

Adding to this pressure is the closure of the Liddell Power Station in Muswellbrook which will reduce available supply even more for the region.

Why are electricity prices rising in Newcastle?

All of these major announcements will be a concern for any household that does not use any form of solar power. Quite simply there is going to be huge ‘energy bill shock’ where the average price per quarter will be nearly double compared to previous years. Each increase in wholesale electricity prices gets passed on by the retailers to consumers.

“Increases in electricity prices create even more problems for consumers who rely solely on the grid for their energy,” says Stephen Cranch, General Manager of Solahart Australia.”These inflationary pressures have resulted in energy retailers passing cost increases on to households, contributing to an even higher cost of living.”

There are two main reasons for the electricity prices rising;

  1. Demand overtaking supply: Supply has been affected by ageing coal-fired power stations being closed down for maintenance. Also, it has been a very cold start to the 2022 winter season on the east coast in particular, which drives greater demand.
  2. The ongoing Russia-Ukraine war: “Normally coal-fired plants being closed down for maintenance would not be so much of an issue as the backup gas-fired plants would be on hand to make up the shortfall, says Stephen. “However, the European demand for Australian gas is high due to the energy crunch caused by the Russia-Ukraine war.”

How much are the electricity prices rising in Newcastle, NSW?

The rise in electricity prices varies from state to state. The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) covers New South Wales, South Australia and south-east Queensland, with different states and territories managing their situation in their own way.

New South Wales has seen the biggest rises. The default market offer has increased by a maximum of 9.6%, 11%, or 18.3%, depending on the distribution zone. This is equivalent to an increase of approximately $210 to $369 annually.

How can you reduce your electricity bill when prices are rising?

If you are solely relying on grid supplied electricity to power your home then you can’t avoid the higher costs unless you significantly reduce your typical usage. Therefore the only real solution is to consider switching to a natural energy source like solar power which is becoming a smart choice to achieve long term monetary savings.

Thousands of home owners across the Newcastle Hunter region have chosen to install solar on their rooftops to reduce their grid-energy consumption, in fact, Australia leads the world in solar uptake, per capita. Yes, it is true the upfront cost can be substantial, but when you balance it out over the long term & consider the environmental benefits then it will eventually pay itself off – don’t forget, electricity prices might keep rising too.

Assess all of your household appliances & electricity usage

Lots of homes might be using old appliances that are simply not energy efficient. Maybe an old plasma TV, two star rated fridge, or even old style halogen downlights. Changing the appliances as well as using the latest LED downlights can help cut your electricity costs pretty quickly. The downside of course is the investment needed to buy these items and pay for someone to replace the lighting. Other things could be switching power points off completely so that electrical devices or appliances are not in ‘stand by’ mode which can still draw a small amount of power when not in use.

So, as you can see the cost to install solar does vary and it is because there are so many products, configurations and ways of setting up a system. All Solahart systems are designed and built to last year after year in the harshest Australian conditions. This is because we rigorously test all its products to ensure their durability and efficiency.

It’s this relentless focus on quality that allows us to back its products with such comprehensive warranties. Solahart’s Silhouette solar panels, for example, come with a Solahart 25-year Australian product warranty. So, if you’re looking to join the millions of smart Aussies who have made the switch to solar, make sure you do your homework first to understand the costs, as not all solar is the same and no other solar company has a track record like Solahart.

Change electricity retailer to get better rates

It is pretty easy to switch electricity retailers, all you have to do is compare their offers, rates or any connection deals to see what could be a cheaper option compared to what you are paying for now. You will find that they are all pretty competitive but there will be ways to save with special sign up deals, cashback offers or other promotional rebates.

Install a solar power system on your roof

A typical family with a 6kW system can save up to $1,500 on their annual energy bills with solar power. Also, research shows that, on average, households with solar power have energy bills that are up 20 per cent lower than those without.

“The bigger the system, the better for you as we move to electrify everything in the future,” said Stephen. “For example, if you’re thinking of getting an electric vehicle (EV) in the next five years, it makes sense to get a larger system now so you can draw on the sun’s natural energy to power your car and the rest of your household appliances.”

Think about installing both solar power and solar hot water

Installing solar hot water is a smart choice as water heating typically makes up around 25% of an Australian household’s energy consumption. Compared to an electric water heater, a solar hot water system could help you save up to 65% of your water-heating energy consumption.

Installing both solar power and solar hot water helps reduce your reliance on fossil fuels in favour of one of the most abundant, consistent sources of energy we have available: the glorious Newcastle sunshine. Both systems work hand-in-hand to deliver maximum savings for you and your family and our team can install a complete system in a day.

Add a battery storage system that can store electricity

While Australia has the highest solar uptake in the world, there remains an untapped opportunity for many homeowners to store excess solar power for later use. If not used immediately, a large percentage of the energy produced by your solar panels may be sent back to the grid.

To solve this problem, we can install a battery storage system that can store this excess energy for later use rather than send it back to the grid. In conjunction with your solar system, a home battery solution is another smart way to offset rising electricity costs as you can maximise solar energy usage and minimise reliance on the grid at all times. If it is a cloudy day and you need electricity, your solar panels will still draw some electricity & the balance can come from your battery system.

“The grid is struggling to deal with the increase in solar as it is designed to supply power to consumers. With the shift towards renewables, the grid now has to deal with excess solar in the middle of the day when the demand is low,” says Stephen. “Consumers are paid a feed-in tariff for any excess solar energy. However, these feed-in tariffs have been reducing due to the surge in excess solar.” said Stephen.

There is also an opportunity to use excess solar power to heat water. This type of storage solution can help you significantly reduce your hot water energy consumption, as you can draw on natural energy even when the sun isn’t shining. That is one of the reasons why we designed and build the Solahart PowerStore  that captures excess power from solar panels and uses it to heat water. Like a battery, it stores energy (in the form of hot water), only it’s a lot more affordable.

Know how much electricity you are using with a Home Energy Management Unit

It is all good and well to talk about theoretical savings by providing tips, advice or product suggestions but once you have done all of that how do you even know what energy you are using? Fortunately you can also then make use of Solahart’s Home Energy Management Solution with a Solahart Energy Management Unit.

This is an easy to use communications hub that monitors the solar power you generate, tracks the energy you consume, and automatically shifts connected appliances away from expensive peak times, such as a hot water system like a Solahart PowerStore.

What this means is that a Solahart Energy Management Unit can be added to any solar system so that you can manage your connected appliances and energy-generating devices together under one platform. This enables you to identify household connected appliances and habits that use large amounts of power and know when you’re generating the most solar energy to power them

You can basically analyse your live energy data anytime, anywhere with the atHome App. This helps you manage your power usage and get a clear understanding of how much money you are saving.

What solar power packages are available?

Hot water is one of the biggest energy drains on Australian homes, accounting for around 25%** of the total energy used by the average household. By using the sun to heat your water, a Solahart Solar Hot Water system can dramatically reduce the amount of energy you use. By complementing your solar water heater with a Solahart Solar Power system, you can start producing your own energy and reduce your bills even more. Your local Solahart expert can help you choose the smartest solar package for your situation.

So for example we have packages that can help you future-proof your home, cut your energy bills and make a real difference to the planet. One of the offers we have available now is you can save up to $1,000 on a Solahart Hot Water (270 litres and above) + Solar Power (5kW and above) package with the option of 60 months interest free. You can see all of our latest offers here which may include special rebates or other incentives to install solar power.

Can Solahart help you save money on your electricity bill?

Silhouette solar power package installed for Sharon at Kotara, NSW by Solahart Newcastle

“Hi Solahart Newcastle, I just wanted to let you know how pleased I am with my decision to install the solar panels!! I was previously paying $100 per month plus topping that up with payments of $150-200 during summer and winter. Now I’m paying $30-40 a month, and that includes usage of a second a/c unit and increased power now that I’m working from home. Couldn’t be happier “ – Sharon, Kotara

 “Since installing Solahart solar panels I haven’t been out of credit!! ” – Kathy, Wallsend

“Our quarterly electricity bill used to be between $400 and $600 per quarter. It is now around $180 per quarter and $100 of that is the “service fee” from AGL. Should have done it years ago. ” – Jenny, Charlestown

For over 70 years, we’ve been setting the standard for solar systems in Australia. Our systems are designed for the harshest Australian conditions. Quality is ingrained in everything we do and our obsession with solar technologies is well documented with a focus on installing products that will reduce your electricity bill if that is just panels or a complete system including hot water, battery storage & management systems.

Our solar power systems only use high-performance Solahart panels and the world’s best-quality inverters. Our solar panels are consistent with Solahart’s quality and performance requirements, using quality polycrystalline cells, anti-reflective glass and textured cells for greater sunlight absorption.

The solar water heaters we sell have established an unparalleled reputation for quality and efficiency. Our core range consists of roof-mounted systems and split systems, where the tanks are located on the ground. The unique Solahart PowerStore® system takes excess energy from your solar power system and uses it to gradually heat water, rather than allowing it to be fed back into the grid.

We also sell home battery solutions including the Tesla Powerwall, the world’s leading home battery; followed by the addition of GoodWe and SolarEdge batteries to our range. Solahart Newcastle has experienced and accredited installers are perfectly positioned to provide expert advice on batteries and recommend the right configuration for your situation. Whether you’re looking to combine a Home Battery with a new or existing Solahart Solar Power system, by booking a free Solahart In-Home Solar Assessment, we’ll show you the best way to reduce your energy costs and lead a more sustainable life.

Book a free solar assessment

Rated 4.8 from

Book Your Free On-Site Solar Assessment

Search the Solahart Newcastle website