Amber Electric - Price Spikes Even in Winter! Worth Sticking to?

Recently moved to Amber Electric for their wholesale price. I know there is a risk that the price could spike. On the other hand, there is a protection that it won't be more than VDO over the year. I was previously with AGL, which was better than VDO.

Here is my take on Amber based on the last two months' usage.

The price spike is guaranteed around before and after school hours most days.
The price spike happens even in winter. Up to now, I had 3 spikes of over 1$ per KWH, which swallowed half of my savings for that month compared to my AGL rate.
Even after all these, I managed to get few $ savings over my AGL plan roughly per month.

So the dilemma is that even in winter I don't save much, what will happen in summer when it is guaranteed to spike. Anyone out there still sticking with Amber? or moved out of Amber? How much you save?

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  • Anecdotally from my own take on Amber is it seems to be suited better for people who's electricity usage would be suited for the usual "Time of Use" (TOU) billing rather than flat rate (anytime, etc). This is due to the rate being much lower off-peak (middle of the day). i.e. work-from-/stay-at- home people.

    If you can keep most of your power usage to during the day (when the rate is lowest) it could be well worth it.

    Not sure on the trade-off with solar - you get a cheaper rate during the day, but that's when your generating the most power from your solar, so not only are you potentially not benefiting from the lower rate, your also not getting paid much for any power you're exporting.

    Amber looks like a great concept, but without people timing their usage I'm not sure on the benefit to them.

    • True, I am working from home and shifted my usage of major appliances to when the prices are low. still, we can't completely turn off everything when it's peak. With these, I only save only a couple of $. With the effort to the savings doesn't seem a good value.

  • +2 votes

    I'm with Amber right now but I'm not quite understanding what you're saying.

    In winter, it's cold, and when people are cold, a number of us will use heaters, some of these would be electric, and therefore require electricity to run.

    I know for myself, I rather use an electric panel heater rather than central heating because I don't have zoning on my central heater and it costs more in gas to run than a panel heater for a single room where I work.

    In winter, it's hot, and when people are hot, a number of us will use air conditioning units, and therefore require electricity to run.

    In both cases, I feel like it's equally likely that there will be spikes?

    • Makes sense. At least heating we can shift to gas, but for cooling 100% electric. My point thus is if in winter it spikes this much, then for sure we will get spikes multiple times in summer than this.

      How long you are with Amber? Did you compare it with your previous rates?

      • +1 vote

        I've been with Amber for quite a while now, maybe even before they were open to public.

        I first heard of them at a StartupVic event as I often attend to network with other entrepreneurs and thought that what Amber is doing is a great idea.

        To be honest, I was already getting a pretty crazy discount — somewhat 46% off usage with Energy Australia, but even at that discount, supply + usage * (1-0.46), Amber has been consistently cheaper by approximately $1-5 per month. Now, this isn't crazy cost savings, but personally, I'm happy to know I'm supporting an Australian startup, my energy retailer isn't jacking the price up (like EA has been doing almost every single 6 month period) and I don't have to worry that if one day (hasn't happened yet), I forget to pay a bill or a direct debit didn't go through, I have to pay full, non-discounted price on my electricity bill.

  • I’m not really sure what you are after here.
    The entire premise of Amber is to expose you to wholesale energy market fluctuations so you can benefit from those if you are prepared to manage your power usage.
    If you don’t want to do that, it isn’t a suitable product for you.

    • Agree.
      The idea is you have to avoid using electricity during the spike period if you want to save money with Amber.

      If you can't or don't want to change when you use electricity, you should stick with a normal plan like AGL.

  • I just did some napkin maths comparing Amber to my current provider, Tango.

    Tango: 23 days = $41.75
    Amber: (Using the average price for my postcode) 23 days = ~$46. (This includes the $15 per month fee)

    I won't be switching.

  • Amber is a crock of garbage. I was with them in Qld Energex and I was miles better off on a fixed rate plan. Their “wholesale” charges excluding their monthly fee was higher than the retail plan.