EXPOSED: Australia's Dirty Dozen

How $6.45 billion in effective subsidies goes up in smoke

EXPOSED: How our twelve worst-polluting power plants are taking Australia for a ride

Australia's biggest polluters are taking us for a $6.45 billion ride. It's time to take the power back.

For too long, Australians have been footing the bill for the damage energy companies do to our health, our local communities and our natural environment. 

Now, GetUp's Dirty Dozen report has exposed the extent of effective subsidies provided to the worst-polluting power plants in the country – and the figures are shocking. 

Based on the latest data, Australians are hit for more than $6.45 billion a year in effective subsidies to the 12 dirtiest power plants in Australia. That's just the tip of the iceberg, with more recent estimates pegging these subsidies at a devastating $39 billion for one year alone. 

Read the report that exposes the truth about Australia's worst power plants

These power plants are owned by a handful of companies like AGL, Origin, GDF Suez and EnergyAustralia – and the worst part is 70% of us are directly contributing cash to them by having them as our household electricity retailers. 

You can't change the electricity you get from the grid, but you can switch retailers to ensure you're not paying these coal-investing companies one more cent. 

The good news is there is now a great alternative for the majority of Australians like you who don't want to keep giving money to dirty polluters, and want to support renewable energy instead. 

For the Better Power campaign, GetUp has partnered with Powershop, ranked the greenest energy retailer in Australia by Greenpeace two years running to offer people a better choice when it comes to their household electricity. Powershop has also been ranked among the cheapest retailers in New South Wales and Victoria by the St Vincent de Paul Society's Tariff Tracker and the Victorian Government's Essential Services Commission.

Plus, For every person that switches as part of this campaign, GetUp receives a payment, so everyone who makes the move is also helping the environment by raising funds for GetUp’s important work in the sector.

More than 15,000 people have already made the switch, walking away from their old, dirty power company for a low-cost, greener alternative. Will you join them?

Top 5 FAQs

The concept for the Better Power campaign came from GetUp members, who told us they wanted fresh ways they could use their power as consumers to move to a cleaner electricity company and drive change in the energy market.

We select companies that have strong environmental and consumer-friendly credentials – ones that embrace renewable energy, are affordable for everyday Australians and have a commitment to advancing Australia's clean energy future rather than relying on coal and other fossil fuels for their power generation.

Our key partner in New South Wales and Victoria is Powershop – Australia's only carbon neutral energy retailer, and one which is backed by a 100% renewable energy generator.

We also work with other partners in the non-profit sector like Lock the Gate and Our Land, Our Water, Our Future to help support their important work protecting our communities, land and water from the damaging effects of coal seam gas mining.

Australia's energy sector is dominated by big, polluting companies that have a bad track record when it comes to acting in the interests of consumers. The energy industry is the biggest contributor to carbon emissions in the country, making it critical to address the sector if we are serious about combating pollution from outdated, polluting technology.

Around 70% of Australians get their household energy through one of only three companies – AGL, Origin Energy, or EnergyAustralia. These three companies are among the worst polluters in the country, with all three owning massive coal-fired power stations and investing in or supporting coal seam gas (CSG). Not only that, but each has been fined significant amounts of money for misleading consumers or for using predatory marketing techniques on their customers. Yikes!

Household electricity is the core business of these companies, and every person who switches to a Better Power company sends an important message that everyday Australians aren't going to stay with companies that thrive on outdated, polluting fossil fuels at the expense of our natural environment.

Take a look at your own energy provider here to see how it stacks up against the competition, check out our reports "The Dirty 3: the truth about AGL, EnergyAustralia and Origin" and “The Dirty Dozen: How Australia’s 12 worst polluting coal power plants are taking taxpayers for a $6.45 billion ride”

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 nine 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 and the Mt Millar wind farm in South Australia. In combination, these wind farms generate enough electricity to power more than 100,000 households a year.

Powershop is Meridian's online energy retailer and 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 already has over 40,000 customers across Victoria and New South Wales.

Powershop impressed GetUp with its environmental credentials and its commitment to a sustainable, clean energy sector. It is Australia's only carbon neutral retailer, offsetting all the emissions its customers may produce via their electricity consumption. Not only that, it's owned by a 100% renewable energy generator with a commitment to only ever invest in renewables like wind and hydro, and never in dirty and polluting fossil fuels like coal and coal seam gas.

In fact, Powershop and Meridian feed more renewable energy into the grid than the total amount of electricity their retail customers use, meaning together they make a carbon and renewable positive contribution to Australian market. Because of its investments and its commitment to renewable energy, Powershop has been ranked greenest electricity retailer in Australia by Greenpeace two years running in their Green Electricity Guide.

Powershop also has a strong focus on customer service and consumer issues, and has been ranked among the cheapest in Victoria by the government's Essential Services Commission and the St Vincent de Paul Society's Tariff Tracker, with highly competitive rates across the markets they operate in.

No. No matter how green your power company is, you will receive a mix of energy from different sources. This is because every energy retailer in eastern Australia must purchase their electricity from the Australian Energy Market. This mixes up all the energy fed into the grid by power generators, from both renewable and non-renewable sources.

This doesn't change when you move to Powershop – you will still be receiving a mix of renewable and non-renewable energy directly to your home or business. Powershop compensates for this by offsetting the carbon produced by your electricity consumption free of charge, making it the only carbon neutral energy retailer in Australia.

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 international renewable energy and carbon reduction projects in developing countries that are helping to reduce carbon emissions globally.

On top of this, by switching to Powershop you are directly endorsing and supporting their parent company Meridian's commitment to only ever invest in renewable energy sources, and never in fossil fuels like some of the other power companies. As a Powershop customer, you can be confident you're helping Meridian in its work to invest in, grow and operate renewable energy generation in Australia.

Customers also have the option to purchase 100% GreenPower from Powershop. Again, this doesn't change the energy you receive off the grid but it does directly support Meridian's renewable investments, and add additional renewable energy into the grid, over and above the mandated amount in the Renewable Energy Target.

Powershop and its parent company Merdian's wind farms are accredited for 100% GreenPower, which its customers have the option to purchase. By buying 100% 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.

GetUp has a 100% GreenPower offer with Powershop but you won't automatically be switched to it when you sign up. You need to select it online after you've switched or request it over the phone.

We believe that buying 100% GreenPower is the best thing you can do to support renewable energy in Australia, and we encourage GetUp members who switch to sign up to Powershop's GreenPower offers.

Powershop sells a range of GreenPower products, and customers can buy GreenPower from community energy projects, landfill gas, energy from sugar milling and other wind farms in addition to its own two Australian wind farms.

There is a higher charge for GreenPower because when you buy one of their GreenPower products, Powershop will purchase additional Renewable Energy Certificates to help support those renewable energy projects. Click here to find out more about how GreenPower works.

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 doesn't lock customers into contracts or charge exit fees, unlike some other retailers. In fact, they will even cover any exit fees of customers who switch to them, up to a maximum $75.

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.

Every time someone switches to Powershop through the Better Power campaign, GetUp receives a commission that helps fund our pro-renewable energy and anti-coal seam gas campaigning. This commission is provided by Powershop at no cost to switchers, who receive the same rates and benefits as other customers.

Those who switch can also show their support for our partner organisations by signing up to Powershop through one of our partnership links. When someone switches through these links, 2/3 of the standard commission is passed on to our hard-working partners to help their critical work in the field of environmental sustainability and advocacy.

Powershop is a low-cost alternative to the big power companies, with rates equivalent to – and often cheaper than – other offers on the market.

Powershop has consistently been ranked among the cheapest energy retailers in Victoria, both by the Victorian government's Essential Services Commission and the St Vincent de Paul Society's Tariff Tracker. In New South Wales, Powershop offers highly competitive rates and aims to achieve similar accolades on price there as well.

If you're still not sure, give Powershop a call on 1800 658 433 to get a quote over the phone, email, or get a quick online comparison using the price estimator tool on the Better Power homepage.

Powershop has competitive offer for solar customers, without any of the hidden penalties or alternative contracts that some retailers force on households with PV panels.

Those who have been on solar for a long time and are on an older tariff scheme may not find their offer is portable to Powershop, and should get a full comparison by emailing before deciding whether to switch.

Powershop's standard tariff is 6.4c per kWh of metered net export generation, unless you are a pre-existing customer on one of the following schemes (now closed to new entrants):


  • TFiT (Transitional Feed-in Tariff), in which case the rate is 31.4c per kWh
  • PfiT (Premium Feed-in Tariff), in which case the rate is 66.4c per kWh


  • The Solar Bonus 20c Scheme, in which case the rate is 21.3c per kWh
  • The Solar Bonus 60c Scheme, in which case the rate is 61.3c per kWh


Customers entitled to the Premium Feed-in Tariff (PFiT) or the Transitional Feed-in Tariff (TFiT) will not lose access to their entitlements.

If you are entitled to the old “one for one” Standard Feed-in Tariff (SFiT) that was available to households before 31 December 2012, you will lose access to it by switching retailers, and will revert to the current 6.4c feed-in tariff.

Please visit Victoria's Energy and Resources website about standard feed-in tariffs for more information.


Solar customers who are eligible for the Solar Bonus Scheme will not lose their entitlements by switching to Powershop. Entry to the Solar Bonus Scheme is now closed, but it will continue to operate for existing customers operates until 31 December 2016.

Your payment for any energy produced from your solar panels will be applied as a credit to your Powershop account. If the amount you receive for your energy production outweighs the cost of the power you've consumed off the grid, the excess credit is carried forward on your account. Customers can apply to have their credit paid out to them at any time.

You can read Powershop's terms and conditions on their website here.

Currently Powershop supports solar for residential customers only.