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 industry rather than relying on coal and other fossil fuels for their power generation.
Our key partner in New South Wales, Victoria and South East Queensland is Powershop – Australia's only certified 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emissions in the country, making it critical to address the sector if we are serious about combating pollution from outdated, polluting technology.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 Victorians, 95% of Queenslanders and 90% of people in NSW 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Power company sends an important message that everyday Australians aren't going to stay with companies that thrive on outdated, polluting fossil fuels at the expense of our natural environment.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, and click here to check out our report Click The Dirty 3: the truth about AGL, EnergyAustralia and Origin.
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. 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 78,000 customers across Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.
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 was twice ranked greenest electricity retailer in Australia by Greenpeace (Green Electricity Guide 2014 & 2015).
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.