What's a small electricity consumer?

Businesses that qualify as 'small energy customers' have similar protections to residential customers under the national electricity law, and energy plans and billing arrangements are broadly similar to residential plans.

These kinds of plans are commonly called SME energy plans. Business electricity consumption generally has a different demand curve to residential consumption, and so tariffs and pricing are different to residential.

Businesses with larger energy consumption must negotiate electricity supply contracts with retailers individually. These energy supply contracts are called 'Commercial & Industrial', or C&I supply agreements, and a quite a bit more complicated than the standardised energy plans available to residential and SME customers.

Getting the best deal on a C&I contract requires bespoke brokerage services. Bill Hero does not provide this kind of brokerage, but  we can refer you to trusted brokerage partners if you need this kind of service.

How small is a 'small energy customer'

Whether your business is classified as a small energy customer depends on how much energy you use:

  • For gas, you are a small energy customer if you use less than one terajoule (TJ) per year.
  • For electricity, the small customer threshold varies by state:

State Consumption threshold
QLD 100 MWh / year
NSW 100 MWh / year
ACT 100 MWh / year
VIC 40 MWh / year
SA 160 MWh / year


Remember that one megawatt hour (MWh) is 1,000 kilowatt hours (kWh), and one terajoule (TJ) is one million megajoules (MJ).

Determining energy use for a new business

If you set up a new business, your retailer will look at the previous energy use of your premises to estimate what your annual usage may be, and assign you as a small or large customer.

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