In the past, Australians have bought electricity for a fixed retail price from traditional retailers. Amber offers a different way to buy electricity. We’re cutting out the middlemen to pass through direct wholesale prices to you. This means your prices change every 30 minutes. When there’s lots of electricity being produced (often from renewable sources) prices get cheaper, but they’ll increase when supply is tight. Instead of taking a retail margin, which can be over $1,000 a year, we a charge a flat fee of $10 per month to give you access to real wholesale electricity prices.
Traditional electricity models work by trying to get people to pay as much for power as possible so that the retailer can make a bigger margin. Because we charge a flat fee, our only incentive is to help you reduce your electricity costs. This creates a model of trust and partnership - where we all can win together.
Is Amber right for me?
Amber offers a great deal for customers who want the transparency of real wholesale prices rather than a retail markup. With that said, you need to consider what’s best for your situation. Being on wholesale prices means your bills will move around more than a traditional plan. Some weeks wholesale prices will be higher and other weeks they will be lower. We find that amber also works best for customers who use most of their electricity during the cheaper periods, which tend to be during the daytime or late at night. You’ll see the greatest benefit if you can move some of your high electricity loads (such as pool pumps, using the washer or drying or charging an electric car) to cheaper times.
Amber is not a licensed retailer. Amber has teamed up with Energy Locals (an ethical Australian Retailer) to provide a new way to buy electricity for Australian households. Amber supplies electricity services as an agent for Energy Locals Pty Ltd ACN 606 408 879.
Can I sign up with Amber?
At the moment Amber is only available to customers in the Sydney metro area (Ausgrid Distribution network) and South Australia. If you live outside this area then jump on our waitlist and we’ll let you know as soon as Amber is available.
Nope - there are no upfront costs when switching to Amber. If you don’t have a smart meter, then we will install one for you and the cost will be added to your ongoing bill.
What happens after I switch?
Once you make the decision to switch, you serve a 10 day ‘cooling off’ period, giving you the flexibility to change your mind. Then, we get to work. After your cooling off period, we need to get a final meter read so you can get a final bill from your old retailer. If you’ve got a smart meter this will happen straight away. If you’re on an old-fashioned meter, we will arrange your meter read within a few days.
Once you've transferred, we’ll start offsetting your usage with 100% renewable power straight away. If you don’t have a smart meter, it’s time to get one, so that we can record your real-time electricity usage. We’ll arrange installation, and the cost of your new meter will be added to your monthly bill. In the meantime, we’ll use an average of your electricity usage to calculate your prices.
How does it work before I get a smart meter installed?
While we’re sorting out your smart meter, we can’t give you real-time prices because we don’t know your real-time usage. We’ll estimate your bill based on your actual total usage and the estimated proportions over the day. These estimates are used by the market operator to charge us, so we just pass these costs straight through. We’ll also be working hard to make sure you get your smart meter installed as fast as possible. Find out more
Will I lose power?
No. Shifting electricity retailers doesn’t mean changing any wires or anything. If you need to install a smart meter this will create a brief disruption to your power, usually for about an hour, but you’ll be informed before this happens.
Do I need to tell my current retailer I'm leaving?
Nope, we’ll handle the break-up. You might get a call from them begging you to comeback, but you know what to do.
When is Amber coming to my area?
We’re planning to launch in the rest of NSW, ACT, QLD, and VIC really soon - jump on our waitlist to be the first to know. (We love you guys over in WA, NT, and TAS too, but you’ve got a different electricity system).
Are there any contracts or leaving fees with Amber?
Nope, nothing like that. We’d rather you stay with us because you’re happy.
Where does my electricity come from?
Unless you’re generating it yourself, your electricity comes from the national grid (at least if you live on the Eastern seaboard). This is a giant machine of wires that connects all the generators with all the users of electricity. Your retailer gets your electricity from the wholesale market, where users (retailers) and generators trade power.
How does GreenPower 100% Renewable work?
We can’t control where the exact electrons that are supplied to your house come from. But the Government runs a GreenPower scheme that means every time a renewable electric source (like solar or wind) generates power, they get a Renewable Certificate. We buy these certificates to match the amount of electricity you’ve used. So, it’s like you’ve taken a cup of electricity out of the big electricity pond, but then poured in a cup of renewable electricity into the pond to top it up again.
Do you have an option without green energy?
We also offer a carbon-neutral plan where we offset the carbon produced in generating your electricity with carbon credits. These work to reduce the amount of carbon emitted by other sources or support initiatives that absorb carbon from the atmosphere.
How do you get wholesale prices?
It’s actually pretty simple. Because all the electricity has to travel through the grid, there are wholesale markets where retailers and generators trade electricity. In these markets, the prices change every 30 minutes. Most retailers try and guess what the average of these prices will be, then add a profit margin and charge it to you. We just skip this process, letting you see what the real prices are. Then you can choose whether you want to adjust your electricity usage to save more money.
Is there any markup on these prices?
We don’t add any markup on the wholesale prices. We charge a flat $10 fee per month. This works out to be 32.9¢ per day and you’ll see this added to your bill.
What am I paying for in my electricity prices?
Electricity pricing has two main components. The first is the wholesale generation price which is the amount it costs to generate the electricity. This price changes every 30 minutes. The second is the network and distribution price, which is the amount it costs for the grid to move the electricity around. Depending on which scheme you choose, our prices also include a cost for 100% renewable power through the GreenPower scheme or carbon credits, as well as some market and environmental costs.
Because we pass these costs through to you without markup, we charge $10 per month to cover our expenses (we’ve got to keep the lights on too!)
How can I track these changing prices?
Check out the portal on your computer or phone and you can see the exact price you’re paying at any time. You can also see the forecast prices coming up, and adjust your usage.
How can I get the best prices?
The best way to get the best prices is to check the portal before you put on heavy electricity loads like washing machines and dryers and to make sure your regular loads like pool pumps are set for cheaper times like the middle of the night or the middle of the day. If you’ve got questions, please call us and we’re happy to try and find ways to save you more.
How often will I receive my bills?
We send out our bills each month.
How will I receive my bills?
We’ll email it to the address you used to join Amber.
How do I pay my bill?
We collect your credit card or bank details when you sign up, so we’ll process your payment automatically and you don’t have to worry about doing anything.
Are there any penalties for late payments?
No, if there’s something wrong when we try and charge your credit card or direct debit, we’ll just give you a call and sort it out.
What happens if I am unable to pay my bill?
If you’re having trouble paying a bill, then please reach out to us and we’ll chat through the options.
Do I need a smart meter to be with Amber?
You do! Wholesale electricity prices change every 30 minutes, so we need a smart meter to charge you the right amount. But if you don’t have one yet, don’t worry. Once you join, we’ll arrange to get you one.
I don't have a smart meter - how do I get one?
Join Amber, and we’ll get you a smart meter sorted out. You won’t have to pay anything upfront for this, and instead the cost will just be part of your tariff (we’ve already included it in the estimates on the comparison page).
How much does the smart meter cost?
There's no upfront cost for a smart meter, as technically you don't own the smart meter and neither do we.
Instead the smart meter is installed by a "Metering Services Provider", who then own the meter and charge the retailer to get access to your data. We've already including the ongoing cost of this in the total Daily Supply Charge on our Pricing page.
What happens to my smart meter if I leave Amber?
You'll be able to keep that smart meter and use it with your new retailer as no cost from us.
Can I get a smart meter if I'm renting or in an apartment?
You sure can. Installing a smart meter shouldn't have any impact on other apartment owners in the building, or on any future tenants in the property. If new tenants decide to use a different retailer from Amber then they can keep that Smart Meter and use it with a new retailer at no cost from us.
If you have any concerns, it's a great idea to check with your landlord or building manager first.
So how does a smart meter actually work?
A smart meter replaces your old meter, and does essentially the same thing, with two big improvements. First, it collects your data at smaller intervals (30 minutes or less). This is critical for Amber because it means we know how much you use in each time period so we can charge you the right price for that time period. The second is that it transmits that data (using 3G) to the electricity network and us more regularly, which means everyone (especially you) knows what's happening every day, rather than only once every 3 months when someone drives by and reads your meter.
What happens when a smart meter gets installed?
Smart meter installation needs to be done by a certified electrician. When you sign up to Amber, we'll work with metering companies to coordinate your installation. Once you've got a date for installation, the electrician will remove your old meter and install the new one in the same spot. This might involve you losing power for a little while (usually less than an hour). Once everything is working, you’re good to go with, and we can start giving you real wholesale prices for your usage.
Are you able to read my mind through my smart meter?
Yes - and you should be ashamed of what you're thinking about right now...
Does Amber have a FiT (Feed in Tariff)?
We pay out wholesale prices for any electricity you feed into the grid, so essentially you get paid the same amount a big generator would get. That means your FiT (Feed in Tariff) is set partly by when you export power and you’ll receive more if you are exporting at expensive times (ideal for customers with home batteries!) As a guideline, so far we’ve been seeing average FiT of approximately 13¢/kWh in SA and 11¢/kWh in NSW.
I'm moving house - can I stay with Amber?
If you’re staying in the Ausgrid distribution area, then sure. If you’re moving outside the area, then we’ll have to say goodbye for now, but we’ll be coming to your new place soon!
We can’t control the wires, so best is to call the distribution companies (for Ausgrid in Sydney this is 13 13 88. If you are in SA, call 13 13 66 for SA Power Network). If you need help though, feel free to give us a bell and we’ll try and help as much as we can.
Can I get a concession with Amber?
You sure can, just select that you have a concession when you join and we’ll call you to sort it out.
I have life support equipment - can I sign up?
You can, but you need to let us know immediately so we can record that.