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Our massive next move on renewables

Australia's biggest energy companies, Origin, AGL and Energy Australia are attacking the Renewable Energy Target. They're doing everything they can to get Tony Abbott and the Liberal Government to weaken policies critical to our clean energy future. Why? Because they want to support their vested interests in coal and coal seam gas and keep energy prices as high as possible.

The Better Power campaign is using our movement's collective consumer power to hit the "Dirty Three" where it hurts - their profits. It's time to leave the companies that are attacking renewable energy behind, and switch to a company backed by renewables, that's championing our Renewable Energy Target today:

In Victoria: click on the link to switch:
In NSW: click on the link to switch:
GetUp members have been telling us they want to switch to an energy company that supports renewable energy. But like 77 percent of the population of Australia, recent surveys have shown that the majority of our members are with one of the "Dirty Three" (Origin, AGL and Energy Australia). So we did some digging and the findings weren't good.

When we looked at how they generate energy, it's pretty clear that the three largest energy companies in Australia are continuing to invest significantly in coal and gas, but they are investing relatively little in renewables. Small wonder they are attacking the RET. Here's the facts:

Origin, Australia's largest energy company, say they want to slash the Renewable Energy Target in half! Their submission to the target's review argued for an effective cut in the target from more than 45,000GWh to around 23,000GWh. A comprehensive analysis of Origin's attack on the Renewable Energy Target, 'Strangling Renewables', by Greenpeace and 100% Renewables1 exposed the other tactics Origin has used to attack renewables. Worse still, there is suspicion that Origin may be blocking other renewable energy developments by deliberately not issuing power purchase agreements required for those projects to go ahead.

AGL Energy , Australia's second largest energy company, has called for the complete elimination of the rooftop solar component of the Renewable Energy Target. Meanwhile they are making massive investments in major fuel polluting power stations including coal seam gas mining, the 'Loy Yang A' dirty brown coal power plant in Victoria and 'Macquarie Generation' 4.6GW of black coal and power plant in NSW. When they told the ASX financial market recently "Any reduction in the Renewable Energy Target would also have a positive impact on the value of Loy Yang A" it was pretty clear to us why they are attacking it.2

Energy Australia, Australia's third largest energy company, wants the Renewable Energy Target scaled back and wants solar support in the target to be capped and then phased out! 3 Of all of the retailers investigated by Greenpeace Australia in their 2014 Green Electricity Guide, Energy Australia was found to be the worst of the Dirty Three and the company was only beaten to last place by Simply Energy, owners of Hazelwood Power Station, the most emission intensive generator in Australia.

[1] Strangling Renewables: Origin Energy's campaign against Renewable Energy. 100% Renewables and Greenpeace Australia Pacific, 2013.
[2] AGL FY14 Underlying Profit and FY15 Outlook Update, Thursday, 17 July 2014.
[3] Greenpeace Australia Green Electricity Guide, 2014.
GetUp is working with Powershop in Victoria and New South Wales, and is looking to expand this campaign to other states very soon. We are recommending a switch to Powershop because they are backed by a 100% renewable energy company and they actively support renewable energy and the RET. 

The Total Environment Centre and Greenpeace Australia conducted an analysis of the electricity market, "The Green Electricity Guide", and found that Powershop was the greenest company in Victoria (and Australia).  
Better Power is a consumer campaign that seeks to positively impact markets by supporting companies who share our values and encouraging people to switch to them. The campaign went live as the Federal government initiated a review of the RET and we discovered that the "Dirty Three" power companies were attacking the RET to protect their vested interests in fossil fuels. That was in stark contrast to Powershop, who were the only energy company actively campaigning to save the RET.

Greenpeace Australia has ranked Powershop the greenest power company in Australia,1 recognising its solid support for renewable energy and the RET. An analysis of submissions to the RET review from leading renewable industry commentator, Renew Economy, found that Powershop was "the only retailer to call unequivocally for the current (renewable energy) target to be retained."2

Independent Victorian consumer advocacy organisation Consumer Action said in its May 14 2014 submission to the RET review "a not well-documented, economic benefit of the RET has been to encourage new entrants into the Australian market". Consumer Action said that Powershop's entry into the Victorian market "has increased competition in the retail market, with the potential to lower prices and deliver more innovative services for consumers".

Powershop's work to counter the lies of the "Dirty Three" energy companies and their hard-hitting submission to the 2014 review in support of the RET are critically important parts of the Better Power campaign; as well as their willingness to make it easy for people to switch. They also impressed us with awards for customer service and innovative online tools and apps that help customers to monitor their energy use, reduce their electricity usage and save on bills. Powershop is the first power company in the Australian market to allow households and small businesses to see how much power they are using and what it costs before they pay for it; and to pay for it how and when they want to, using their smart phone, tablet or laptop.

Finally, we know that in Victoria some energy retailers are making profits four times higher than in other states, according to a 2013 report by the Victorian Government's Essential Services Commission. The good news is that the most recent October 2014 report of the Essential Services Commission in Victoria stated that: "taking into account all available discounts, the lowest overall prices were most commonly available from Powershop."

[1] The Green Electricity Guide. Greenpeace and the Total Environment Centre, 2014.
[2] Who is the greenest energy retailer in Australia? RenewEconomy, 6 June 2014.
Powershop is backed by Meridian Energy, Australasia's largest 100% renewable energy generator. It is a modern power company that's designed to empower its customers with online tools and apps and save them money in the process.

Meridian is a multi-billion dollar company listed on the ASX and NZX. It owns and operates seven wind farms and seven hydro stations across Australia and New Zealand, and currently serves a combined 350,000 customers. It is 51% owned by the New Zealand government.

Meridian owns and operates two wind farms in Australia including the 64-turbine Mt Mercer wind farm just outside of Ballarat, which alone is capable of generating energy equivalent to the electricity needs of the entire population of Ballarat (approximately 80,000 households).

Powershop is an online energy retailer and is the first power company in the Australian market to allow households and small businesses to see how much power they are using, what it costs before they pay for it, and to pay for it how and when they want to. It has over 30,000 customers in Victoria and has recently launched in New South Wales!
Powershop doesn't lock customers into a contract or charge exit fees and they will even cover the exit fees (up to $75) if your current retailer charges you for switching to them. The best bit is that by using their handy online tool you won't even have to contact your old retailer – you can switch to Powershop in less than five minutes and they will do it all for you.
As Powershop is backed by a 100% renewable energy company they don't provide gas. If you need gas in your home you can use the online tool to switch your electricity and remain with your previous provider for your gas.
Customers buying Powershop's standard power are directly supporting Meridian (Powershop's parent company) in its work to invest in, grow and operate renewable energy generation in Australia (as well as supporting a company that is using its voice to help the campaign to protect the Renewable Energy Target).

The energy generation portfolio of Powershop (via its parent company Meridian Energy) is, and always has been, 100 percent renewable. Meridian invests only in renewable energy projects like wind farms and hydro plants.

However, as a retailer, Powershop must buy the electricity used by its customers via the Australian grid, which contains a mix of renewable and non renewable energy. And although Powershop and Meridian generate more renewable energy (through their wind farms in South Australia and Victoria) than Powershop supplies to its customers, it cannot guarantee that the electricity every customer receives is renewably sourced.

To help its customers offset any carbon emissions related to their electricity usage, Powershop offsets the emissions from its operations and its customers electricity usage at no extra cost - it's free.

Powershop does this by purchasing United Nations certificates equivalent to the carbon emissions associated with the total electricity usage of its customers. The UN certificates are sourced from carbon reduction and international renewable energy projects in developing countries that are helping to reduce carbon emissions globally.

Powershop and its parent company Merdian's wind farms are accredited for 100 Percent GreenPower, which its customers have the option to purchase. By buying 100 Percent GreenPower, customers are supporting further investment in renewable energy in Australia, and helping speed up the transformation of Australia's energy system to cleaner renewable energy.
The GetUp Better Power offer with Powershop is for Powershop's standard carbon neutral power. However, Powershop offers 100% GreenPower accredited products and Meridian Energy's Mt Millar wind farm in South Australia and Mt Mercer wind farm in Victoria are also 100% GreenPower accredited generators.

You can purchase 100% GreenPower products from Powershop. When you do, Powershop will voluntarily surrender additional Renewable Energy Certificates to encourage even further investment in renewable energy than the Government mandates under the RET.

Unlike other retailers, Powershop also gives its customers the opportunity to choose which renewable industry they want to support including community energy projects, landfill gas, energy from sugar milling and other wind farms as well as its own. There is a higher charge for these products as they purchase the additional certificates from these renewable projects and therefore pass on the benefits of your purchases to them.

Buying 100% GreenPower is a great way to support renewable energy in Australia. Electricity generation is one of the main sources of Australia's carbon emissions, so by buying GreenPower you will be supporting the construction of renewable energy generation right here in Australia and helping to cut carbon emissions.
Powershop selected Victoria as its first Australian location because the local electricity market is the most ripped off in Australia. Margins in Victoria are higher than in any other state. A 2013 report from the Essential Services Commission shows retailers in Victoria are making profits four times higher than elsewhere in the country. Powershop used the same data to estimate that it can save Victorians currently with AGL, Origin or EnergyAustralia in excess of $300 million every year if they switch to Powershop.

The Essential Services Commission in Victoria issued a report on electricity prices in the state in October 2014 which said: "taking into account all available discounts, the lowest overall prices were most commonly available from Powershop."
Powershop has a competitive solar offer for people with solar PV. Firstly, unlike many retailers, Powershop's electricity rates are the same for solar and non-solar customers, meaning Powershop does not penalise solar customers. Secondly, unlike many retailers Powershop's discounts apply to both solar and non-solar customers, again meaning Powershop's solar customers are not penalised. Finally, Powershop's feed-in tariffs are some of the most competitive in the market.

There are no restrictions for solar PV customers who want to make the switch to this offer.
For every GetUp supporter who signs up through this offer, GetUp receives a payment. These funds will go towards growing the Better Power campaign to support renewable energy and campaign against dirty coal and coal seam gas.
Every month over 50,000 Victorians change energy provider. Consumers in the Victorian market are being ripped off with energy providers generating profit margins higher than in any other state (see question 9).

Is it any wonder that consumers in the Victorian electricity market have very little trust of the big energy retailers? On top of being ripped off they've also been misled. Origin, Energy Australia and AGL have all been hit by heavy fines from the ACCC for illegal door step sales practices.

We need to bring the Dirty Three to account for years of ripping off and misleading customers. By switching to pro-renewables companies, we can show the "Dirty Three" that customers aren't coming back until they drop their anti-renewables campaign.

Ultimately, these companies make their money from long-term retention of customers. It's expensive to acquire new customers so once they have you, they try really hard to keep you on side. (GetUp members have fed back reports of the Dirty Three offering them discounts to come back to them). So it doesn't take much to grab their attention and keep it.

Perhaps you were at the People's Climate Mobilisation in Melbourne last September when thousands of Victorian GetUp members took to the streets to demonstrate our passion for action on climate change? If all of us switched away from the "Dirty Three" power companies, imagine how quickly they'd take serious steps to win back our support.

For every GetUp supporter who signs up through this offer, GetUp receives a payment. These funds will go towards growing the Better Power campaign to support renewable energy and campaign against dirty coal and coal seam gas.. So all funds raised as part of our renewable energy campaign will be put straight back into our work to save Australia's renewable energy future.

The objective here is to save and strengthen the RET and to take on the "Dirty Three" power companies with their massive lobby teams and bloated advertising budgets (that Australian customers pay for!). The campaign needs resources for grassroots events, awareness raising materials and our own ads too (if enough people switch). Our early switchers are already helping to fund some of this important work.
Switching is now really easy. It takes just five minutes to switch to Powershop. You don't need to contact your retailer. Powershop will contact them on your behalf to let them know you'll be making the switch.

There are no lock in contracts and no exit fees. And if you're currently under contract, Powershop will cover any exit penalty fees (up to $75) charged by your old retailer.

Powershop will keep you informed throughout the process and their contact centre team are on hand to handle any questions on 1800 462 668 between 8am – 7pm Monday to Friday. It's important that you make sure you use the link on this page to switch so that we know you've signed up through the Better Power campaign and we receive a payment that will help fund the campaign. And if you call Powershop make sure you mention you're a GetUp member.

You may receive a phone call or letter from your existing power company which will be them trying to win you back (it's a sign that the campaign is working!). Remember that it's really important to tell them that you switched away from them because they don't support the Renewable Energy Target (and you can also tell them you switched to Powershop because they do support the Renewable Energy Target).
At the moment, Powershop does not sell gas. Furthermore Powershop is against fracking for gas, as Australia has an abundance of clean, safe energy options. However, gas from conventional sources is pragmatically a day to day fuel source for the millions of Australians who use gas in their homes for heating and cooking. Powershop will only sell gas in the future if it can find a way that minimises the environmental impacts.
Powershop has a 100% GreenPower product accredited by GreenPower. It's two wind farms at Mt Millar in South Australia and Mt Mercer in Victoria are also GreenPower accredited generators. When a customer buys a Powershop 100% GreenPower product (or any of its 100% Green electricity products) Powershop voluntarily surrenders a number of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) sourced from both wind farms.