Changes to pool equipment on Tariff 33 FAQ

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What is changing for pools and Tariff 33?

At present appliances must be permanently connected to the electricity supply to be eligible for Tariff 33.

Tariff 33 is significantly cheaper than the general use tariff (Tariff 11), but supply is made available only for a minimum of 18 hours a day.

The change being made will remove the requirement for pool filtration and sanitation systems to be permanently wired.

An electrician can now install a power point connected to Tariff 33 specifically for pool filtration and sanitation systems.

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Why make this change for pool systems only?

It has long been argued that any saving made with pool filtration and sanitation systems on Tariff 33 is soon lost when a system requires repair (potentially more regularly than hot water systems) with the expense of a licensed electrician for connection and disconnection.

This will make it easier for householders needing a pump repaired, as an electrician will no longer be required.

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Why make this change?

This is one of a number of initiatives that are designed to move electricity use away from the residential peak demand period of 4pm to 8pm each day.

Peak electricity demand is a key driver of electricity infrastructure expenditure and associated increases in electricity prices.

The change will enable customers to help address the issue of peak demand while reducing their pool related electricity costs.

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What pool equipment does the change apply to?

The change to the conditions for connecting to Tariff 33 refer to pool filtration and associated sanitation systems, which include pool pumps, pool filters, chlorinators and chlorine dispensing units.

It does not apply to features such as lights, fountains, etc.

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How many hours will Tariff 33 operate and what times is it switched off?

Electricity supply is available for at least 18 hours per day on Tariff 33 and is switched via load control equipment supplied and maintained by the electricity distributors Ergon Energy and Energex.

The specific times of supply are at the distributors’ discretion due to regional and seasonal differences. As a general rule of thumb, supply will be restricted around residential network peak times; 6am-9am and 4pm-8pm.

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Will this change mean more people run their pumps at night creating noise problems?

It shouldn’t. With at least 18 hours of supply available there is still plenty of time to filter a normal pool without disturbing neighbours. However, people still need to be mindful of their local council’s noise regulations.

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Is this change being made to allow the same access for Tariff 31?

Yes. Customer's need to be aware that Tariff 31 only provides electricity supply for a minimum of eight hours a day, generally between 10pm and 7am. This may not be enough operating time to provide sufficient pool filtration.

Additionally, the times when supply is available may not be convenient for pool maintenance to be carried out.  

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How much money can I save by switching my pool pump to Tariff 33?

We estimate that pool filtration systems connected to continuous supply tariffs such as Tariff 11 can cost a household around $640 a year to run, depending on pump size and filtration settings. Connecting to Tariff 33 reduces electricity costs and provides typical savings of approximately $200 a year.

Estimate your potential savings with the pool pump calculator at yourpowerqld.com.au.

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What will it cost to switch my pool pump to Tariff 33?

The minimum cost for connecting pool filtration to Tariff 33 - when the pool is first built - is estimated to be as little as $100. Owners of new pools will likely recoup this investment within six months of connection to the tariff.

Existing pool owners should obtain a quote from a licensed electrical contractor to switch over. The cost will vary depending on how the pool circuit is currently connected.

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What are my options to save money if the cost of switching to Tariff 33 is too expensive?

You have two options available:

  • Purchase a variable speed drive pump or system - they use far less energy - saving you money.
  • Review the running schedule of your pool filtration and sanitation system.

A pool servicing company will help you optimise the filtration and sanitation requirements for your pool.

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What (if any) incentives is Energex going to offer me to help get my pool onto Tariff 33 or to purchase a variable speed drive system?

Rewards are available for connecting a pool pump to Economy Tariff 31 or 33 or purchasing and installing a minimum five star pool pump.

  • Connect a pool pump to Economy Tariff 31 or 33 and claim a $250 reward
  • Install a minimum 5 star pool pump (or aftermarket drive) and claim a $150 reward

Learn more about our Positive Payback program.

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I was already thinking of purchasing a variable speed pool pump, which I understand is more economical. Can I put these kinds of pumps on Tariff 33?

Yes, variable speed pool pumps can also be connected to Tariff 33.

Where a connection to Tariff 33 might not be practical for some people, variable speed pool pumps and drives should be considered as energy saving alternative.

Ask your pool installer or local pool shop about optimum running times and more details.

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Does this change introduce any electrocution risks?

There will be no more risk than with any current complying poolside installation.

It is the licensed electrician’s responsibility to ensure the socket outlet is installed in accordance with AS3000 (e.g., type, position, protection, suitable marking/identification).

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Is it unsanitary to use a pool when Tariff 33 is switched off? For example, if there is a party held during the afternoon and power is not available to the pump to filter the pool water?

In all instances we recommend that pool owners consult expert pool personnel or pool shops before making any changes to pool filtration.

However, the following information is offered:

  • Queensland Health has advised it does not have concerns with pool filtration systems being switched off for set periods, or with pool filtration systems being switched off when pools are in use (assuming they operate for the minimum recommended times outside these hours).
  • Ergon Energy and Energex have undertaken trials of pools on load control (including through one of the wettest summers on record) and no adverse health issues have been reported.
  • Tens of thousands of pool owners throughout Queensland have already benefited from Tariff 33 via a hard wired connection for many years.

Energex and Ergon Energy have not received water quality complaints from this switching.

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How will connecting to Tariff 33 affect other associated pool or garden equipment such as lights?

Under the change, the power outlet should be used to connect pool filtration and sanitation equipment only. This is to allow for ease of servicing.

Other appliances and lights must still be hard wired if you also want them on Tariff 33. Alternatively, these appliances and lights can be installed to a Tariff 11 circuit to provide constant supply.

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How will my pool filter’s timer device be affected by the power switching off?

Customers who choose to wire a pool circuit to Tariff 33 usually have mains powered timers fitted to the switchboard - eliminating any timer/battery problems or issues.

In trials held over Summer 2010/11, 280 participants turned off their pool filtration systems for three and a half hours per day, and only one issue was reported of an electronic control unit’s battery backup failing.

If customers are concerned with this issue they should refer to their manufacturer for advice.

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How will I know which power point is supplying power from Tariff 33 rather than being connected to a continuous supply of power?

The licensed electrical contractor who carries out the wiring work will mark the power outlet designated for the pool filtration.

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Can I plug an appliance other than my pool filtration equipment into the Tariff 33 outlet?

Only pool filtration and associated sanitation equipment are allowed to be connected to the designated Tariff 33 outlet under this change.

Remember that supply can be interrupted for up to six hours a day.

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What is to stop people from using an extension cord to power other appliances in the home from the Tariff 33 socket outlet?

This would not be compliant with the conditions for accessing Tariff 33 under the Gazette.

In addition, disruptions to power supply When Tariff 33 is switched off (generally at peak energy times in the morning or afternoon/evening) and the outside location of the socket outlet will form significant barriers for this.

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What is to stop people who have their pool filtration system plugged into Tariff 33 via a socket outlet from plugging it into a Tariff 11 outlet during times Tariff 33 is switched off?

If a pool remains healthy and clean on Tariff 33 accessed via a socket outlet, there is no reason for householders to unplug their pool cleaning system and connect to another power source during times of Tariff 33 control.

Electricity under Tariff 11 is considerably more expensive than under Tariff 33.

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Will the change apply to pools at schools, retirement homes, hotels?

No. This change applies only to domestic installations.

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How does the standard power point connection work? Is it connected from the pump via a lead to the house or direct from the pump to the home’s power board where the meters live?

As is the case with pool pumps currently supplied by Tariff 11, the pump would be plugged into a standard socket outlet located near the pool.

The Tariff 33 socket outlet will be connected via a dedicated circuit to the off-peak meter. This is a separate circuit to other circuits supplying the rest of the house.

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Will the pool pump be connected to a dedicated circuit?

The pool filtration socket outlet needs to be connected to a dedicated circuit connected to Tariff 33.

Other equipment is able to be connected to this circuit provided it meets the requirements of ‘permanently connected’ as per the Gazette.

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If I'm on the Time of Use tariff, can I connect my pool to Tariff 33?

The Time of Use tariff is an alternative to Tariff 11. If you are on Tariff 12, you can still connect your pool to Tariff 33.

Estimate your potential savings with the pool pump calculator at yourpowerqld.com.au.

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What would be the running costs and potential savings of this initiative under a ‘cost reflective’ tariff structure which will commence on 1 July 2012?

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