A lady paying for a business sale using EFTPOS

Load control tariffs for business

From 1 July 2020, load control tariffs are available for business customers in our network area. They're suitable for businesses who can operate some, or all, of their equipment if their electricity supply is interrupted for up to 6 hours per day.

These tariffs are generally cheaper than other tariffs for business customers.

What are load control tariffs?

A load control tariff has an interruptible supply of electricity. That is, we can temporarily interrupt electricity supply to these tariffs and any equipment connected to them to manage peak demand on the network. In return for customers, load control tariffs are cheaper than most other electricity tariffs.

Our load control tariffs will be available to businesses as a primary tariff (where all appliances are on load control), or secondary tariff (where at least one, but not all, of the appliances are on load control). Previously, load control tariffs were only available for residential and small business customers for appliances like hot water systems and pool pumps, as a secondary tariff.

In recent years we’ve worked with customers in the agricultural industry trialling Tariff 33 (load control tariff), to see if it was a viable option for them. The trial was a success and the feedback from participants and the industry was positive. As a result, we have advocated for all types of businesses, not just the agricultural sector, to have access to these network tariffs.

Tariffs are available for customers classified as either a Standard Asset Customer (SAC) Small or SAC Large. Availability for load control tariffs and pricing will be subject to your electricity retailer offering them. For a full list of available network load control tariffs, see our latest Pricing Proposal on our Network tariffs web page.

You should talk to your electricity retailer to find out which of these tariffs they offer in your area.

Could your business benefit from a load control tariff?

If your equipment requires an electricity supply 24 hours per day, load control tariffs will not be suitable for you.

If your operations could manage some load control switching, these tariffs may be an economical option for you to consider. If you're interested in load control tariffs, you should be able to accommodate at a minimum, occasional loss of power supply to equipment.

When is power interrupted?

The frequency and length of time load control is implemented is at our discretion and can vary by geographic location. Supply interruptions typically occur when there is high demand on the network, like during summer evenings, but can occur at other times.

Who is eligible?

Businesses who use less than 100 megawatt hours of electricity, classified as Standard Asset Customer Small (SAC Small), can access load control tariffs.

Businesses who use more than 100 megawatt hours of electricity per year, classified as Standard Asset Customer Large (SAC Large), must be in a location that has the communication system for load control to be eligible for the primary or secondary version of this tariff. The majority of Queensland has the communication system active.

You can enter your National Meter Identifier (NMI) (found on your electricity bill) in the box below to see if you are in an area that is eligible for load control.

You should carefully consider the suitability of a controlled load tariff for your operations – for example, any pumps relied on for firefighting, or equipment that is used for safety or security purposes, may not be suitable for controlled supply connection.

Load Control Tariff Eligibility

What are the savings?

The amount of savings you could achieve depends on which tariffs you're switching from, and the amount of electricity you use. As a rule, the more electricity you use, the greater the savings when using a load control tariff. To review your tariff options and potential savings, please talk to your electricity retailer.

Make sure you consider the cost of upgrading your meter box, which is usually required when switching to load control tariffs.

How often might supply be ‘switched’?

Under the tariff rules, supply is guaranteed for a minimum of 18 hours per day. This means you must allow for no power for up to 6 hours per day. How often load control switching is implemented and for how long is at our discretion and can vary across different geographic locations.

In the small number of areas where the load control signalling system is not available, small customers on a load control tariff will be switched on daily schedule – the NMI check above provides general guidance on the nature of the switching that occurs in your area.

If you are interested in load control tariffs you should be prepared to accommodate, as a minimum, occasional loss of power supply. There’s currently no pre-warning given as to when supply will be interrupted.

Your electrical contractor may be able to provide a system that could provide notification of supply being removed or reinstated.

How do you move to a load control tariff?

To move to a load control tariff, we suggest the following steps:

  1. Check your eligibility - check your eligibility for a load control tariff by using the National Metering Identifier (NMI) search tool above
  2. Consider the impacts - think about how your operations will be impacted when electricity supply is interrupted, without notice, and what you will do to manage or respond to those supply interruptions – remembering that electricity supply can be interrupted without notice, in a worse-case scenario of up to 6 hours per day
  3. Compare the tariffs - confirm that your electricity retailer offers load control tariffs and compare the load control tariff and all your tariff options for price and convenience
  4. Check upgrade costs - talk to your electrical contractor about any upgrades that may be required to allow the load control tariff to be implemented on your site, and the costs associated. In most cases, you'll need to arrange for your electrical contractor to upgrade your meter box to move to a load control tariff. This involves installing a device known as a 'contactor'. If you are adding a load control tariff as a secondary tariff, you may also need space to add an additional meter. The guides below – see “More Information” – will assist your electrical contractor to understand those requirements.

Please note: When deciding to move to a load control tariff, it's important to have your electrical contractor inspect your metering installation and advise on any alterations needed under the current standards. This may require prior consultation with us before the alterations occur. For example, changes to your switchboard to allow for a load control tariff require submission of drawings to us for technical assessment prior to works occurring. Your electrical contractor should call us on our Electrical Contractor Hotline on 1300 762 397 or email qecmtechadvice@energyq.com.au.

Once you've made the decision to move to a load control tariff, your electrical contractor will need to submit an electrical work request (EWR) to us. This will start the process of getting load control equipment installed at your premises by us and when that is completed, changing tariffs with your electricity retailer.

The Installation Guide for Load Control for Non-Domestic Applications (PDF 1.4 mb) will help electrical contractors understand the process of adding a load control tariff to existing or new premises. There's also information for submitting an on-line request in the Electrical Partners Portal as well as other general technical guidance.

Can you switch between tariffs?

No, you cannot move equipment from a load control tariff to a primary non-interruptible tariff when supply is interrupted on the load control tariff. Equipment installed on a secondary load control tariff must be hard-wired to that tariff, with the following exceptions:

  • Pool filtration/pumps in Small and Large customer premises
  • Electric vehicle chargers in Small customer premises which may be supplied through a socket outlet that is wired to the load control tariff.

Are there costs to switch back?

Yes there may be costs to switch back to a non-load control tariff. We strongly encourage you to consider if a load control tariff is suitable for your operations before moving to a load control tariff.

However, if you have added a load control tariff and find that it does not suit your operations, you can contact your electricity retailer and ask them to remove the load control tariff and have all equipment supplied back through your primary non-interruptible tariff.

There may be costs and fees incurred to remove equipment connected to the load control tariff from your electrical contractor or your electricity retailer. Your retailer will need to contact us to remove the load control equipment.

Is solar compatible with load control tariffs?

There is no restriction on combining a load control tariff with an existing or planned solar system. Eligibility for the Solar Bonus Scheme (44c feed-in tariff) is not impacted by moving to a primary or secondary load control tariff. Refer to the Solar Bonus Scheme website for more information.

However, you should be aware of the following implication:

  • In all cases, if you have connected your solar power system to the primary or secondary load control tariff, when we interrupt power supply to those tariffs, your solar system will stop operating. This is a normal function of your solar system which causes it to shut-off for safety reasons when the incoming supply is interrupted. When the grid supply to that tariff is re-instated, your solar system will then resume operation.

More information

Further technical information regarding wiring for the new non-domestic load control tariffs can be found in the Queensland Electricity Connection Manual (QECM) (PDF 19.8 mb) and the Queensland Electricity Metering Manual (QEMM) (PDF 7.0 mb).