An Electricity Provider Comparison Should Make the Cost of Living More Manageable

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Electricity Provider Comparison

Post on June 13th, 2015

Here’s why you should compare electricity providers

The cost of living is on the rise throughout Australia, making everyday necessities like groceries, mortgages, petrol, and especially electricity more expensive than ever before. So it’s only natural that you might be looking around for ways to save money. You might be going out less, cooking at home more, driving less, and even doing what you can to reduce your electricity use (after all, do you really need that second fridge?). But there’s one thing you can do that will help you reduce your power costs for the long term, and that’s to compare electricity providers, and make the switch to a cheaper energy supplier.

The beauty of this is that comparing electricity providers isn’t a one-time saving. It helps you find a better rate for your power, so you automatically save money every time you turn on the lights (but only in rooms you need them, of course). It just takes a bit of detective work, some reading, and you could be saving potentially hundreds of dollars on your electricity bill each year.

So instead of contributing to the problem, ElectricityWizard is proud to be part of the solution. We can provide you with our expert guidance in a free, accurate electricity provider comparison. We’re here to help you save on annual energy!

Whether you are looking for cheaper energy rates for a current residence or a new connection, you can call us directly at 1300 359 779 or fill in the form below for a fast quote that is absolutely free.

ElectricityWizard will compare apples to apples to do the hard work for you. We will use our industry connections to compare electricity plan, rates, credits, green options, terms and conditions, and much more against our preferred suppliers in your area to help you find a better deal to meet your household needs.

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Power prices are become even more expensive

In many states that can’t afford the basic standard of living any longer, price rises in the electricity market will place needless pressure on households, especially those at a low income level.

In a recent cost of living report produced by the Queensland Council of Social Service, it was estimated that roughly 10% to 12% of households are already struggling to make ends meet and afford basic essentials. Excessive price increases on quarterly utility bills will only make matters worse.

QCOSS reports that there have been increases in power disconnections throughout the state, indicating that many families with low income levels can no longer afford to keep their lights on. The QCOSS went on to recommend that since low income families already have difficulty affording basic housing, they should be granted both transport and power concessions for households that hold Commonwealth Health Care Cards.

For families at any income level in states with full retail competition, it can literally pay big to start with an electricity provider comparison. Many households are paying far too much on each quarterly electricity bill without realizing that they may have the option to choose a cheaper provider.

In fact, when you set up your electricity connection after moving home, you may have been automatically put on a market contract. If you don’t question the electricity prices that you are charged, you will be automatically billed at a fixed government rate that could make quarterly electricity prices unnecessarily expensive.

So look into it, make the call, and ask the question. If nothing else, this gives you a basic understanding of your current electricity rates, so you can be more informed when you start looking around for a new electricity provider.

And if you’re ready to start comparing electricity providers, here’s how we recommend you go about doing that.

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How to compare electricity providers and start saving today

The first step is to get together your last few electricity bill, and see what your household electricity use is like. This information can usually be found in the back page or so. Here you’ll find an electricity consumption graph, which shows the amount of power you used in that billing cycle, and what you’ve used for the year.

You can use these graphs to roughly work out your usage habits between bills, like determining when you use the most electricity, if your use has been the same, or whether it’s increasing or decreasing. If it’s decreasing, good job!

This is also where you’ll find out exactly what your supplier is charging you for, and what actually makes up your electricity bill. You might be surprised to find that it’s made up of a few different things:

  • Kilowatt-hour usage: This is the rate you’re getting charged for your electricity use, and is normally listed in kilowatt-hours (kWh), or sometimes as “units”.
  • Supply charge: This is the fee you get charged to stay connected to the electricity grid. You might also see it listed as a “service to property charge”. This one is charged at a rate of cents per day.
  • Network charge: You could also find a little extra charge in there, known as the network charge or “distribution charge”. This is a small fee you could be required to pay to help provide upkeep on the poles and wires in your area.

There’s also one other thing that determines how you get charged, and that’s the tariff that your plan falls under. The tariff determines how you get charged, and the pricing structure that your kilowatt-per-hour usage falls under. There are a few basic tariffs that your plan might fall under:

  • Single rate tariff. This one is exactly what it says—you get charged a single rate for your electricity usage, regardless of when you use it, or how much you use.
  • Time of use tariff. This tariff sees your usage rate change depending on the time of day that you use it. It’s usually broken into “peak” hours, where you get charged at a higher rate during the day and early evening, and “off-peak” hours, which are overnight and early in the morning, and see you get charged at a lower rate.
  • Block rate tariff. For a block rate tariff, your electricity usage is charged in set volume amounts. So for example, you might get charged at one rate for your first 200 kilowatt hours (or “block”), then a reduced rate for the next 200 kilowatt hours, and so on.
  • Controlled load tariff. A controlled load tariff is a specific meter for large single-use appliances, like your electric hot water system or pool pump. These appliances operate under their own tariff, which is charged independent of your regular tariff, and you can have more than one controlled load operating at your property.

Now that you understand what makes up your electricity charges, it’s time to find out which supplier is offering the best prices. But keep in mind: cheapest doesn’t always mean best. It pays to take other things into account, like whether they’ve got a good customer service reputation, or whether they source their power from more environmentally-friendly sources (if this is the sort of thing that’s important to you).

Here’s what to look for when comparing electricity providers, so you can find a deal that suits you the best.

  1. It sounds obvious, but the first step is to see what each energy retailer is charging. Make note of their kilowatt hour rate, their tariffs, the supply charge, and the other fees that will make up your monthly bill. This gives you a base understanding of what they’re charging you for—but it doesn’t stop there.
  2. See how long the contract is for. It’s no good signing up and realising after a year that you’re now on a new contract and your rates have gone up, or getting locked into a long-term contract without realising it.
  3. Ask if the supplier is going to increase their rates in the near future, and what their plan is for future price rises. The majority of suppliers keep their price rises in line with the cost of living, but there are some who’ll say they don’t put a cap on their price rises. If you find one of these it’s best to avoid them, as this means they’re able to hike up their prices whenever they want.
  4. Do they charge any fees for disconnection, moving house, or breaking contract? You don’t want to find out in the future that you’re getting hit with a surprise disconnection fee. Finding this out also gives you peace of mind that you’ll be free to compare rates again in the future, without getting penalised for it.
  5. Do they have a payment option that suits you? Whether you’re a fan of direct debit, or find Bpay more your style—or perhaps you just want a good old cheque?—make sure they offer a payment option that you feel comfortable using. It may not be a big deal if they don’t, but it certainly makes it a lot easier when interacting with them if they do.
  6. Ask if they have any discounts, special rates, or special offers available. Given the competitiveness of the modern electricity market, suppliers are keen to grab you as their customer, so they may be willing to offer some incentives to make their plan sound more attractive.
  7. But be sure to check how long the discount runs for, and what it covers. You don’t want to find out that it stops after six months, leaving you paying a higher price than another supplier. Also, there’s a big difference between being offered a credit on your bill each month, a discounted usage rate, or a percentage off your total bill—so make sure you know exactly what it covers.
  8. Ask if they’re willing to match, or even beat, rates set by their competition. The beauty of a competitive electricity market means you have the power to choose, and potentially play suppliers against each other to get a better deal. It’s perfectly acceptable to do this—the power is in your hands, now—so ask whether they can; this lets you get a better rate, and go with a supplier that you prefer.
  9. The final step, once you’ve done all this, is to check back in with your current electricity company and see if they’d be willing to offer any special deals or a better rate to keep you on as their customer. You’re already planning on making the switch, so if you can get a better rate without needing to fill out all the paperwork, why wouldn’t you?

If that all sounds like a lot of work—well, it is, a little bit. But it’s worth it in the end. You’ll be better informed, and be able to make a smarter choice that will see you save money for the long term.

But if you feel like you need a hand comparing electricity providers, then don’t worry, ElectricityWizard is here to help! We can negotiate on your behalf to help you find lower electricity rates that will fit into your household budget with a quick electricity provider comparison.

Compare rates quickly and accurately!

ElectricityWizard has a free call back service that will advise you if there is a better electricity plan released at any time by any of our preferred suppliers operating in your area. This service will keep you constantly updated with better rates and discounts in your area so that you never have to worry about wasting money on your electricity bill.

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