GUIDES & RESOURCES

Electricity Plan Comparison Australia

We’ve put together a handy guide to help you find a great deal on electricity. Here’s what you need to consider when comparing electricity plans.
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Compare Electricity & Gas Plans

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When it comes to getting a good deal on electricity, all it could take is a simple comparison of different plans by various providers.

Australians in South East Queensland, NSW, Victoria, South Australia and the ACT have a range of electricity providers to choose from. Many are happy to offer competitive rates, discounts and other incentives to get your business. Taking the time to review plans from different retailers could result in savings on your energy bills each year.

Before you start comparing electricity plans

According to the ACCC, the estimated average electricity bill for an Australian household was $1,636 in 2017 - 20182. Do you know how yours stacks up against the norm?

Before you start your search for a better deal, it’s important to understand your current plan. Find your most recent bill and check your electricity rate by looking at how many cents you’re paying per kilowatt hour (c/kWh).

This is known as the usage charge, and it describes the amount you pay for each unit of electricity you use3.

Next, take a look at your tariff, which is the pricing structure your retailer uses to charge you. There are three types of electricity tariffs:

  • General Usage: You pay the same rate for electricity you use, day or night.
  • Time of use: You pay the highest rate for electricity you use during times of peak demand, you pay less during shoulder periods (the time between peak and off-peak), and you get the cheapest rate in off-peak times.
  • Controlled load: You pay a discounted rate for using specific appliances – for example, an electric water heater.

Bear in mind that rates and tariffs may vary depending on where you live, your meter type and the energy providers in your area.

Variable charges that might affect your bill

You’ve probably noticed that the amount you’re billed for each period can vary considerably. There are a few factors at play here, and different variable charges can apply in one bill3. For example:

  • The amount of energy you actually use: Some plans charge a higher rate for the first block of energy used and then lower the price, while others work in the opposite way
  • Controlled Load tariffs: Some appliances operate overnight and are metered separately, as Controlled Load tariff. You’ll pay a lower rate for such appliances as they’re being used in a period of lower demand
  • Green Options: A green option you choose to add to your energy plan may be charged as a variable cost or as a fixed amount
  • Season changes: Energy bills can vary depending on the season. The time of day you mostly consume energy can also affect the overall sum

How to compare electricity plans

There are a few other things you’ll need to take into account when comparing electricity plans. These include:

  • Extra fees and charges: Will you be charged any late fees, establishment fees or additional charges for paper bills? Are there fees for exiting or moving?
  • Billing cycles: Will you be paying for your electricity use monthly or quarterly?
  • Available discounts: Can you save money by paying on time or via direct debit? Do any conditions come with these discounts and if so, do you meet the conditions?
  • The contract type: Will you be locked into a contract or are you free to exit at any time? Find out how long the contract lasts for.

Always think twice before taking an enticing introductory offer. For example, there’s no point signing up to a contract because they’re offering a $100 credit if you’ll be locked into a more expensive rate when the credit runs out. Read the fine print of every contract before you make a decision.

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Should you bundle your electricity and gas bills?

You may have considered bundling your energy and gas plans in the hope of getting a cheaper rate. Remember that bundling doesn’t guarantee a better deal; it largely depends on where you live and the energy providers you’re considering.

For some consumers, it may work out cheaper to get standalone energy and gas plans. You may even find that some retailers offer little or no difference on the price of bundles compared to standalone plans. Do a little research based on your individual circumstance to find out which option will benefit you the most.

How iSelect can help

You’ll be surprised how simple it is to compare electricity plans on offer from our range of providers*– especially when we do the legwork for you. We’ll find plans from our range of electricity providers in your area, so all you’ll need to do is choose the plan which suits you.

Sources:
1. https://www.roymorgan.com/findings/7749-electricity-customer-satisfaction-continues-to-slide-201810260521
2. https://www.accc.gov.au/publications/restoring-electricity-affordability-australias-competitive-advantage
3. https://www.aer.gov.au/consumers/my-energy-bill/tariff-and-fees-explained

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