Post on June 13th, 2015
Find a better electricity plan by comparing companies today
With the rising cost of living, it’s become starkly apparent that we’re paying too much for some things. Energy, fuel, rent, and food are all on the up and up. While we all complain about the constant price increases, many consumers think there is nothing they can do about increasing costs and just continue to pay their bills. Yet, there are other services that we use every day, things like music and television streaming services, or mobile phone plans, that we shop around for and compare to make sure we only pay the bare minimum.
Considering that electricity, fuel, and food are daily essentials, why should we pay more for a service when we don’t need to? Shopping around for a good deal and comparing energy providers is the easiest way to save money and reduce your cost of living. This is why we want to make it clear that all residential and small business customers in QLD, NSW, VIC, SA have the choice to compare electricity rates and switch electricity companies.
Not to sound corny, but these days the power is in your hands! Thanks to the deregulation of the energy industry, consumers can shop around for discounts and find the best prices. While government authorities like the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) monitor the electricity market to ensure fair wholesale rates and a stable energy supply, energy retailers are now selling electricity and gas in a competitive market. In order to win your business, electricity companies need to offer the best deals with big discounts or low standard rates as well as have a good customer service record.
With more energy retailers now operating in each state, consumers can look around and choose a retailer that suits them. Healthy competition in the marketplace means customers have fair access to cheaper electricity rates. And these days, the competition is definitely there! In all major cities on the east coast there can be around 15+ electricity retailers available to consumers. Business and residential users have the freedom to take advantage of this increased competition. You can compare providers to choose the supplier that has the best prices and a plan that you like.
Sydney and Melbourne have historically been the two most competitive cities in Australia when it comes to energy companies, however in recent years other deregulated markets have seen cities such as Adelaide, Brisbane and the Gold Coast all receive reductions in the cost of electricity and gas due to the competitiveness of the industry, and private companies vying for market share.
What we have noticed is the growing complexity of the different rates and prices which has meant an ever-changing and confusing market for consumers. The savviest consumers regularly compare plans to ensure they’re paying less, and consumers who sit on the same plan for years will eventually end up with more expensive bills. This is due to rate and price changes which often go unnoticed, hurting the consumer’s back pocket. Regularly conducting an electricity company comparison is the best way to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
So if you want to stay on top of your electricity price options, here’s how we recommend you go about comparing electricity rates, so you can keep saving money.
How to compare electricity rates and suppliers
When it comes to comparing electricity rates, it actually isn’t that hard—it just takes some know-how, and the time to do it. So pull out your last few electricity bills, get a pen and paper (or start a new document on your computer), and get ready to do some detective work.
Get to know your bill
Before you compare rates and plans, it helps to know what you’re comparing, first. Flip to the last page or so of your energy bill and you’ll find what you’re getting charged for. The two main costs there are your household electricity usage, which is usually charged by kilowatt hours, or by “unit”, and your supply charge, which is what you’re paying to be connected to the grid.
These two charges make up the tariff, or the pricing structure, that your plan will fall under. There are a few different types of tariffs floating around, but the most common types you’ll find are:
• Single rate tariffs. This tariff sees your electricity get charged at one set usage rate, no matter the time of day or how much of it you use.
• Time of use tariffs. A time of use tariff means you’ll get charged at a different rate depending on the time of day you use your electricity. This is generally divided into higher-priced “peak” hours, usually during the day and into the evening (so when most households use their electricity), and lower-priced “off-peak” hours, which are typically overnight and early morning.
• Block rate tariffs. A block rate tariff sees you get charged at a certain rate per specified volume of electricity, or “block”. So for example, you might get charged one rate for your first 300 kilowatt hour block, and then less for the subsequent block, and so on.
• Controlled load tariffs. These tariffs apply to single-use high draw appliances like pool pumps or electric hot water systems. They’re specific to this one appliance, but you can have more than one controlled load operating at your address.
Another thing to look out for on your electricity bills is if you’re currently receiving any discounts on your plan. Have a look around, or call your supplier, to find out. This is important to know when comparing plans, to make sure you’re comparing the right rates.
If you really want to understand your electricity bill, we have several easy guides to understanding electricity prices, comparing bills, and comparing electricity plans for more advice on how to save.
Get to know your electricity usage
Looking at your bill should give you a pretty good idea of your electricity usage habits and if you can save even more money by changing how you use your power. Suppliers are required to give you an electricity usage chart which tells you how much you used in your current cycle, and how much you’ve used this year. You might also be able to find your peak and off-peak hour usage, too.
Comparing your current bill against your previous bills gives you an idea of the trend. Is your energy use going up, staying the same, or are you even reducing how much you use? The amount of electricity you use, and when, gives you a better idea of the types of plans that will be of the most benefit to you.
Comparing suppliers and rates
Now that you understand what you’re getting charged for, and why, it’s time to get stuck into it and start comparing suppliers and rates. Here’s what we suggest you look into when comparing the different prices available out there:
• Work out what type of plan you’ll be getting – You’ll find two typical types of plans out there, fixed rate plans and variable rate plans. Fixed rate plans means you get charged at one set usage rate throughout the life of the plan, and a variable rate plan means your usage rate can vary (often because of changes in wholesale energy prices, or a price increase by the energy company). So it’s important to know which one you’re looking at.
• Check the charges and tariff – This is obvious, but how often do we forget to do obvious things? This is where you actually get down to comparing electricity rates – what you’re likely to pay per kilowatt hour, whether peak and off-peak hours will affect you, and the supply fee. Many consumers only look at the usage rate and forget to add in the daily supply charge.
• Will the supplier increase their rates? – The majority of suppliers out there try and keep their rates in line with the costs of living, and have a cap on their price rises. Some don’t though, so if you find a supplier who says they don’t have a cap on their rate rises, pay close attention to contract lengths or be prepared to switch again if their current deals aren’t so great in the future.
• Are there any moving house or disconnection fees? – You don’t want to get to the point where you move house and find yourself hit with a large fee. It’s a stressful enough time as it is, so make sure you know whether there are any charges you can expect for these types of situations.
• Do they have any discounts available? – With the competition on the electricity market today, suppliers want you to join them as a customer, so they might be willing to offer some deals or discounts to get you on board. It might be a discount for something as simple as setting up direct debit, or even for paying your bill on time; or it could be a sweetener like the offer of free movie tickets, or a discount at your local gym. Every little bit helps!
• But make sure you know exactly what you’re getting the discount on – Be sure to find out whether it’s a percentage discount off your total electricity bill, off your usage rate, or a monetary credit. It’s important to know where you’re getting the discount, to see if it’s actually worth it or not.
• Can they match rates? – In today’s competitive market, some energy retailers might be willing to match—or even beat—rates set by their competitors. So ask the question! You might stand to get a better deal, with a supplier that you actually like.
So as you can see, it’s not hard, it just takes a bit of digging. Asking these questions to energy suppliers when comparing electricity plans helps you better understand what you’re getting yourself into, takes the mystery out of your electricity bills, and lets you save money for the long term.
But if that all sounds like too much work, then don’t worry — we’ve got your back.
Get an energy market comparison from the experts
At Electricity Wizard, we do all the hard work for you. When you call us, we’ll compare electricity rates and plans against trusted and reliable suppliers available in your area. The Electricity Wizard experts can help you select a great plan that suits you. We’re here to help you cut down costs and meet any other criteria you may have. Best of all, our service is completely free, so what do you have to lose?
When you get our help to compare electricity plans, we will:
- – Compare apples to apples, to ensure you’re comparing plans that are right for you.
- – Look at your usage habits to find plans to save you money.
- – Ensure the supplier offers a payment method suits you.
- – Protect you from any “unexpected” rate rises.
- – Make sure you’re free to move homes or change plans without penalty.
- – Find an electricity plan with no lock-in contract if that’s what you need.
- – Protect you from a contract with other massive penalties. We look at the fine print from top to bottom, so you know exactly what you’re getting.
- – Get you the “solar buyback” that you deserve (if you’re a solar system user, that is).
- – Find out if you’re eligible for rebates or energy concessions.
- – And much, much more!
When you call Electricity Wizard at 1300 359 779 or fill out the form below, one of our skilled customer service representatives will help you to find a better energy deal to meet your household needs.