Electricity Bill Comparison in Australia: Understand Your Bill and You Could Save Money

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Post on June 13th, 2015

How doing an electricity bill comparison saves you money

What many electricity retailers in Australia don’t count on is the fact that the large majority of Australians are smart, savvy consumers. When you take the time to better understand your power bill through an electricity bill comparison, you could find cheaper rates available in your area, which can save you a bundle each year on utility costs.

ElectricityWizard makes an electricity bill comparison easy. We do all of the hard work for you to give you a quick, accurate comparison in a hunt for cheaper electricity rates near you to provide dramatic discounts on quarterly electricity bills.

What you will find on your electricity bill

While an electricity bill comparison will vary depending on which State you’re living in, here are some basic components that you will find on your quarterly electricity bill:

  • NMI: This stands for the National Meter Identifier, used to identify your assigned meter for electricity accounts in Australia.
  • MIRN: The Meter Installation Reference Number is used to identify your assigned meter for gas accounts in Australia.
  • KWH Usage: Each electricity bill will list the total amount of electricity that is used in kilowatt hours, or kWh; 1000 W are used per hour. This usage will be documented for the amount that the meter measures and records within a specific billing cycle.
  • Supply Charge: This can also be known as a “service to property charge”. It’s what you get charged for having your house connected to the electricity grid—similar to a line rental for your power lines, that your electricity supplier pays to their energy distributor. This is charged at cents per day.
  • Network Charge: In some cases, a retailer may tack on a network charge to your electricity account, which will be shown as a separate amount charged on your bill. This may also be referred to as a distribution charge or SAC reflecting a network charge for the basic maintenance of poles and wires in your area, as well as for the delivery of electricity.
  • Tariffs: In some areas of Australia, a tariff may also be called a rate. A tariff is a basic pricing structure that a customer is required to pay for each energy unit that is used in their home. Tariffs are separated into both retail and network tariffs on an electricity bill. Some retail tariffs may charge a peak or off-peak rate, while other tariffs may charge on a sliding scale of energy consumption.

Lastly, electricity retailers are required to include an energy consumption graph on each electricity bill in Australia. This will show the amount of energy consumption during a billing cycle, as well as the total consumption for each billing cycle throughout the past year.

The graph will reflect and compare a customer’s energy consumption for their current billing cycle against the amount of energy that they used in the same time period in the previous year.

As you become more familiar with your electricity bill, you can save even more money by learning how and where you use electricity the most.

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How to calculate your electricity use

To get a better idea of exactly how much electricity each of your appliances uses, there are a few simple calculations you can do to work this out. With a bit of detective work, and some basic maths skills, you’ll be able to get a rough estimate of what you’re paying on your electricity bill, to help you determine where you could be saving costs. Here’s how:

    1. Look at your bill to see how much you’re paying per kilowatt hour (sometimes called a “unit”) of electricity. This is normally on the back page of your bill, with your tariff information.


    1. Check each of your appliances and see how much power they use per hour, in kilowatts (kW). You’ll usually be able to find this information either on a sticker somewhere on the appliance, or in the user manual. If it’s rated in watts, simply divide this number by 1000 to get the rating in kilowatts.


    1. Here’s where it gets involved. You can now estimate the hourly running costs per appliance by multiplying the input power rating by the price per kilowatt hour you pay for your electricity. For example, if the washing machine uses 1500 watts per hour each a cold wash, and your electricity cost is 28 cents per kilowatt hour, then you can work out that this costs 42 cents per hour to run: (1500 ÷ 1000) x 28 = 42.


  1. Then, estimate the average hourly use of each appliance per billing cycle, or per year, by simply multiplying that number by the number of hours you use it. This one might take some thinking, so give it some time.

And there you go: you should be able to do a rough calculation of your electricity bill. At the very least, you’ll be able to work out which of your appliances cost the most to run, so you can start to make some changes around how you use them.

Now that you understand what goes into your bill, and how to calculate your electricity use, it’s time to make a change that will see you get a better rate on your electricity, and see you get a cheaper bill. It’s time to compare electricity companies.

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How to compare electricity companies

Comparing electricity suppliers is the biggest thing you can do to help fight against rising energy prices. Looking around to compare electricity rates, and then doing an electricity bill comparison for each plan, gives you the power to work out exactly which supplier is right for you.

Here are the basics to get you started.

    • Have a look at your latest electricity bill and find out what tariff you’re on. This is usually on the last page, and will also tell you your electricity usage for that billing period. This way you can be sure to know if the suppliers you’re looking at are actually cheaper or not.


    • Work out when you use the most electricity. Do you use a lot during peak hours, or are you more of an off-peak household? Tracking your energy use will help you find a supplier that offers better rates during these times.


  • See if you’re currently receiving any special deals or rate discounts. If you are, it pays to factor this into your comparison. If you’re not, here’s where you can get competitive, and ask your current supplier if they’re willing to offer a discount to keep you on as a customer (yes—with the nature of the competition on the electricity market these days, companies are willing to do this!).

Now you know the basics of your plan it’s time to start looking at new plans, or give other electricity suppliers a call. Keep the following questions in mind (or even ask them directly) when you do:

    • Are they likely to increase their rates each year? Most suppliers do tend to keep their rate in line with the CPA, but some might tell you that they don’t cap their price raises. If this is the case, stay away from these suppliers—this can be a sign they’re getting ready to increase their rates at some time in the future, which can work against the savings you might otherwise be getting.


    • Do they charge any disconnection or moving house fees? If it’s likely you’ll be moving into a new property in the future, it pays to find this one out now—you don’t want to be hit with any surprise fees during what’s an already stressful time.


    • Do they have any discounts on offer? A lot of suppliers offer discounts as a way to make their packages seem more appealing, on things like setting up direct debit, paperless communication, and even just regularly paying your bill on time.


    • Check to see if they’re offering percentage discounts, or credits off your bill, and whether it applies to your total bill or just your usage rates. You want to be sure what you’re getting a discount on, to make sure it’s actually worth it.


  • Can they match rates offered by other competitors? Much like asking your current supplier about a discount, this one plays to the competition on the electricity market. Some electricity companies may be willing to match, or even beat, rates offered by their rivals. So ask the question, it can’t hurt—you’ll not only get a better deal, but you’ll also take the power into your own hands.

With these simple questions and tips, you’re ready to start comparing electricity bills and suppliers, and finding a plan that’s better for your household.

But we also understand that it can sound like a lot of work. Who’s got the time?

If this sounds like you, then don’t fear—you could also save on your annual power bill by comparing electricity rates with an electricity comparison service like ElectricityWizard to get the cheaper rates that may be available for you today.

Getting an electricity comparison the right way

At this point, you’re probably mentally exhausted just thinking about it. Doing an electricity comparison isn’t easy, and many energy brokers don’t do it correctly. This is where ElectricityWizard comes in. We’ll do a comparison the right way, ensuring we cover all the critical elements when comparing energy providers.

It’s never been easier to compare energy providers than with ElectricityWizard. Call now on 1300 359 779 and speak to an energy specialist who will help you find a deal that really meets your needs.

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