FAQs

I’ve signed up. What happens next?
It takes Energy Locals a week or so to process your change of electricity retailer and install the Powertracer app. They will notify you when it is done. Then you need to open the Powertracer control panel and set a Community Trade rule for Meter 1, with the sell price at 5c (or equal to your feed-in tariff, if you have panels) and the buy price at 15c (or below your current off-peak rate). Once that is set, trading will happen automatically. If you need help, email us

Energy Locals
We use Energy Locals simply because they are the only local electricity retailer offering Powertracer. Note that you will still buy some electricity from Energy Locals: for instance, if you buy 20-30 per cent of your electricity via energy trading, you will buy the other 70-80 per cent cent at Energy Locals’ normal rates. Because energy trading is cheaper than Energy Locals’ normal rates, the more electricity you buy and sell via trading, the more you will save.

Why join the mailing list?
We only know you’re part of the pilot study if you’re on the mailing list. Every month or two, we’ll send you an update and occasional questions.

Your data and privacy
We need your consent (on the mailing list sign-up form) to allow Enosi and Energy Locals to share your energy data with us for the study. Your data won’t be shared with anyone else or used for other purposes.

Smart meter
To use Powertracer, you need a smart meter. If you have solar or are on a time-of-use tariff, you will already have one. If not, Energy Locals will install one for $149.

No lock-in
There are no lock-in contracts, entry or exit fees. You can leave the pilot study and go back to your old retailer at any time, at no cost.

No fees
Central Coast SolarShare does not charge any fees. Energy Locals has a monthly “membership” fee but this is just another way of splitting the daily supply fee all retailers charge. Energy Locals pay Enosi, developer of the Powertracer app, $2.50 per month per customer to manage Powertracer.

Refer a friend $50 credit
We need plenty of participants (with, and especially without, solar) so there are enough buyers and sellers in the network. Once you’ve joined, sign up a friend, or two. You and your friend will both get a $50 credit from Energy Locals if they quote your Energy Locals account number. (When you join, if you’re not already being referred, email us and we’ll send you one of our account numbers you so you/we get the $50 credits.)

How much could I save?
We think households with solar panels might earn about $100 a year more than a feed-in tariff, while non-solar households could save about $350 a year on energy bills, based on a 3-4 person household shifting 20% of energy use into the day. Shifting more energy into the daytime would allow greater savings. For a smaller household, savings would be less. We can’t guarantee these savings – the whole point of a pilot study is to find out; you can help by signing up. 

Could I be worse off?
Energy trading itself won’t leave you worse off, but Energy Locals’ tariffs could be higher than your existing retailer for the rest of your electricity use (although our calculation suggest they are not: to compare, click here.) Overall, we’d say the worst-case risk might be around $200. If this worries you, don’t sign up yet. If you are comfortable risking $200 (but, we stress, we think you’ll save money) to do something positive to help the energy transition, please sign up.  

How do I shift electricity use into the daytime to take advantage of cheap solar?
We only expect you to be able to shift 20-30% of your energy use into the day. See our Power shifting page for tips on how to do that.

How does trading actually happen?
Trading is virtual. The electricity still goes via the grid, but the Powertracer app allows a match to be made between electricity being exported to the grid by one SolarShare member and electricity being drawn from the grid at the same moment by another SolarShare member.

How does Enosi (developer of the Powertracer app) makes money?
Energy Locals pay Enosi a $2.50 monthly fee per user. Energy Locals absorb this cost; ie. it is not added to your electricity bill.


Advanced uses of energy trading
The pilot study will initially focus on “community” trading between households. However, there are other use cases we hope to explore as we go on.

  1. Community battery and/or solar farm: In future, we may explore buying a community battery, or a solar or wind farm. For instance, a solar farm could charge a community battery that could sell members cheap solar electricity in the evening peak.
  2. Peer-to-peer (P2P) trading: Powertracer also allows you to set up P2P trades with a specific person, at any price you agree. You could give cheap (or even free) electricity to a friend, or from your home’s solar panels to your office. Once the basic pilot study is underway we will explore these options.
  3. Community organisations: Using P2P trading, a community organisation could for instance, put solar panels on its clubhouse, church, etc, and sell electricity to its members to generate income, or to provide them with cheap electricity: contact us if your think your community group could do something like this.