GUIDES & RESOURCES

Energy Plan Comparison Australia

In this article you’re going to discover some of the easiest ways to make sure you’re comparing energy plans the right way.
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In a sea of energy providers, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and confused about which plan is right for you. From discounts to flexible plans and other eye-catching benefits, taking the time to review the fine print will help you uncover an energy plan’s true value.

According to a 2018 report by the Australian Energy Market Commission, 23% of energy residential consumers intend to switch retailers in the next year. If you’re one of those people, it’s important to focus on the areas of your plan that really matter.

Understanding energy bills

When you compare energy plans, understanding your energy bill will help you recognise how discounted offers actually affect your final costs. Let’s start by reviewing the foundation charges.

The tariffs on your bill

Electricity companies charge in cents per kilowatt hour (c/kWh) and there are three kinds of tariffs:

  • Single rate: where you pay the same rate for electricity day in, day out, morning, noon and night
  • Time-of-use rates: where you pay three different rates for the electricity you use, depending on whether it’s during peak, non-peak or shoulder periods
  • Controlled load rates or ‘two-rate’ tariff: where you pay a specific rate for using a specific appliance such as an electric water heater

The charges on your bill

Your electricity bill will show a few different charges:

  • Supply charges: These are for access to electricity. These apply regardless of electricity use and cover the cost of the electricity poles, wires, gas pipes and meters corrected to your home.
  • Usage charges: These are for the amount of electricity you actually use. For medium to large households, usage charges will typically comprise the largest part of your electricity bills.
  • Demand charges: Some tariffs also include a charge for how fast you use electricity, and they usually have a lower price for usage

Discounts aren’t always what they appear

While a discerning eye helps you compare energy plans and filter out the best offer for you, it’s reassuring to know that the competitive deals do exist. Let’s take a look.

Discovering the real discounts

Now that you understand the underlying tariffs and rates that the discounts can be applied to, you’re better placed to spot reliable energy rates and reliable energy plans that suit you.

When you compare energy plans, consider these points:

While the first thing to review is always the price, additional considerations that you might want to take into account when comparing energy plans include:

Contract type

Will you be locked into a contract or are you free to exit at any time? This is important as there may be exit fees attached to your contract.

Introductory offers

A discount on your first bill may sound great, but it’s important to look for an energy plan that’ll result in lower energy bills over the entire year - not just your first bill.

Discounts and benefits

Are there any special benefit periods? If so, when do they end? Do you get a discount for paying on time or via direct debit?

Pay on time discount

Many energy retailers reward customers for paying on time by offering discounts on every bill that’s paid on schedule. If you’re always up to date with your payments, you can take advantage of this discount to save on your electricity and gas bills.

Exit fees/early termination fee

If you’re living in a rental property, consider energy plans with no exit fees or early termination fees. Getting stuck with additional charges is the last thing you’d want when moving home.

Environmentally-friendly energy

Many retailers have renewable energy plans that give you the option to select a percentage of your electricity bill to be matched by the retailer and used to reinvest in renewable energy sources. These may come at an additional cost, but give you the assurance of helping the environment.

Membership rewards programs

Some providers offer rewards programs, points clubs and other incentives for customers. These often change so keep abreast of new offers.

Convenient bill cycles

Will you be billed monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly? Bill smoothing calculates your estimated total energy cost over a set period of time (usually a year) and smooths out your bill, so you pay the same amount each period.

For example, if you spent $50 per month through the winter and $100 dollars per month throughout the summer, bill smoothing would have you paying $75 per month throughout the year.

Normal billing vs smooth billing infographic

How does your plan measure up?

There are many factors that might determine which energy plan is suitable for you and/or your family. And while it seems like a lot to consider, we can help you compare energy plans from our range of providers* to find one that suits your lifestyle.

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