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Our lives run on electricity but the electricity system is not always something that people think about. Here in Western Australia, our electricity system is different to other parts of Australia and the world. This means there can be myths about electricity generation, renewable energy, electricity costs and other parts of our electricity system. 

We’ve answered the most common questions about electricity in WA to help you learn more.


Does the electricity system in WA have an unlimited supply?

No. One of the myths about electricity in WA is that we have an endless supply, but that electricity has to be generated from an energy source.
Across the South West Interconnected System – or SWIS – electricity is generated from a range of sources including coal, natural gas and renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.


Is coal the main generation source in the SWIS?

Coal-fired generation is still part of our generation mix – but one of the myths about electricity in WA is that it’s the biggest contributor. According to the Australian Energy Market Operator, in the year leading up to October 2023, our electricity in WA was generated by:

  • 37% gas
  • 28% coal
  • 17% solar
  • 16% wind

If these solar and wind figures are combined, that’s 33% of electricity generated by renewable energy sources, higher than the percentage of coal-fired generation.


When will Synergy's coal power stations in Western Australia close?

The State Government has announced it will retire all of Synergy’s coal-fired power stations by 2030 to set the State up for a reliable, affordable, renewable energy future

Closing these – and investing more than $3 billion in new wind farms and battery storage systems – is projected to reduce Synergy's carbon emissions by 80 per cent below 2021 levels by 2030. 

At Synergy, we’re working to help the communities impacted by these coal power station closures to transition into a new energy future.


Does Western Australia have an official plan to transition to more renewable energy?

Yes. Our electricity system has been transitioning with more renewable energy added across the SWIS every year, in line with the State Government’s target of net zero emissions for Western Australia by 2050.   

Transitioning the electricity system to more renewables comes with a number of challenges. For example, solar power can only be generated during the day, so the SWIS still needs other generation sources when the sun goes down.


Is Western Power responsible for power generation in the SWIS?

No – Western Power operates and maintains the electricity network in the SWIS. Electricity in WA involves a number of different roles and responsibilities. Like Synergy, Western Power is owned by the State Government, and they are responsible for transporting electricity from the generators to your home or business through powerlines, substations, control centres and your meter.

Power generation comes from a mix of privately-owned sources (such as rooftop solar), generation companies and government-owned entities, including Synergy. 


Does solar power in our electricity system cause power outages?

Power outages can be caused by a range of factors including weather conditions, damage to power infrastructure and load imbalances in the electricity system.

In terms of solar power, the ups and downs of solar generation can be one of the challenges of keeping the electricity system in balance, especially at certain times of year. 

For example, on the hottest days of the year, we all need electricity when the sun goes down but this is also when solar generation stops for the day. This can cause imbalances, which can sometimes lead to outages.  It’s also challenging if there’s a lot of solar being generated but not used across the electricity system.

Overall, rooftop solar has a lot of benefits, and is already providing up to 64% of demand across the SWIS in the middle of the day at a point in time. 


Is there anything customers can do to help keep the electricity system balanced?

Yes! Everyone can play a role in keeping our electricity system in balance. 

One of the main challenges in balancing the SWIS arises between around 5pm and 9pm on the hottest days of the year. These are known as peak demand days.

This is when extreme temperatures create a higher demand for electricity. Solar generation goes down with the sun but the demand for electricity spikes as more people use their air conditioners, lights, TVs, consoles and appliances.

Making small changes to use less electricity at these times means you could help reduce peak demand and could even reduce your electricity costs.

You can also help to use up excess solar energy that is generated during the day by using your appliances in the middle of the day. An easy way to do this is to set a timer on appliances such as your dishwasher, washing machine and pool pump. 


Is there just one electricity plan for Synergy’s residential customers?

No. We actually have a range of plans you can explore:

You could choose from a plan with one flat rate, to know what you’re paying at every time of day, or you may be able to choose a time-of-use rate (which is variable) to pay different rates at different times. We also have plans designed for you if you run a home business or own an electric vehicle.

Energy plans for residential customers Synergy offers:

  • Home Plan (A1) – flat rate
  • Midday Saver – variable rate
  • Electric Vehicle Add On – variable rate
  • Home Business Plan (K1) – stepped rate

Explore our energy plans to find the right plan for you. 


Does Synergy set the price for the electricity supply for residential customers?

No. Another myth about electricity in WA is that Synergy sets the price of electricity supply. 

The rates and charges used to calculate the amount Synergy charges residential customers for the supply of electricity are set by the State Government. 

As an energy retailer, we send your bill – but if you are a residential customer we don’t set the prices for electricity supply. Your bill is based on:

  • How much electricity you use. We calculate this using information provided to us by Western Power from your electricity meter.
  • The daily cost for your connection to the grid.


Here in WA, our energy system is different to other parts of Australia. If you’d like to learn more, explore the different roles and responsibilities involved in WA’s electricity system.