Compare Energy Providers
Post on June 13th, 2015
Compare energy providers now and keep your bills in check
Throughout Australia, the electricity market is constantly changing. rates may rise and fall, depending upon a number of factors that include the historic introduction of the carbon price, and the extra funds needed to constantly update aging electricity networks to keep up with growing customer demand. Utility costs are soaring, and so are your bills. But there’s a way you can get the power back into your hands, and reduce your bills—it all becomes possible when you compare energy providers.
You might have heard people going on about this before. Basically, it’s doing research into all the retailers, prices, and plans out there, weighing up the pros and cons of each, and doing the maths to find one that sees you save money. So if it seems complicated to compare energy providers in your area, that’s because—and we’re being brutally honest here—it is!
If you’re looking for expert help to compare energy providers near you, you’ve come to the right place. Just contact ElectricityWizard at 1300 359 779 or fill out the form below for more information to take advantage of an absolutely free energy comparison in minutes.
But if you’re one of those people who likes to do it themselves, then you’ve also come to the right place. We’ve pulled together a rough guide to help you compare energy providers, so you can start to fight back against rising electricity rates and find a plan that suits you.
How to compare energy providers and get cheaper electricity rates
According to the Australian Energy Regulator, the only true way to know that you are paying the cheapest rates available in your area is to compare energy contracts to choose a new electricity retailer. It sounds simple enough when you put it like that, doesn’t it?
To make sure you are paying the cheapest rates, it pays (literally) to understand first what exactly goes into your electricity bill. This way you’ll be able to understand in more detail what each supplier is offering, and be able to make a more informed decision. Here are some of the key things you’ll find on your bill.
Get to know your bills
- NMI: This stands for the National Meter Identifier, which identifies the electricity meter that’s been assigned to you on your electricity account.
- MIRN: The Meter Installation Reference Number identifies the meter assigned to you for your gas accounts.
- Kilowatt-hour usage: Your electricity bill will tell you the amount of electricity you use for that billing cycle, listed in kilowatt-hours (kWh), or “units”.
- Supply Charge: Also known as your “service to property charge”, this is what you’re getting charged to be connected to the electricity grid. This is charged at cents per day.
- Network Charge: In some cases, retailers add a network charge to your electricity account. This can also be labeled as a distribution charge, and is there to help pay for the cost of maintaining the poles and wires in your area.
- Tariffs: Also known as your rate, the tariff that your household falls under is essentially the pricing structure for your specific plan. The most common types of tariffs you’ll find are:
- A single rate tariff, which sees your home get charged at one set rate for your electricity usage, regardless of how much or when you use it.
- A time of use tariff, where the rate you get charged per kilowatt hour changes depending on the time of day you use your electricity. This structure generally sees higher rates charged during the day and early evening (“peak” hours), and lower rates charged overnight and early in the morning (“off-peak” hours).
- A block rate tariff, where you get charged at one usage rate for a specific amount of electricity (the block), then either a higher or lower rate for the next block, and so on.
- A controlled load tariff, which is an electricity meter specifically for individual high-draw appliance operating at your address, like your pool pump or electric hot water heater. This tariff applies to that appliance only, but you can have more than one controlled load operating at one address.
One handy thing that all electricity retailers are required to include on your bill is an energy consumption graph, which shows you the amount of electricity you used on this specific billing cycle, and your total use for the past year. This is where you can get a gauge on your usage habits, see when you use the most electricity, and work out if your use is increasing, decreasing, or staying the same.
So now that you understand your bill, it’s time to put this knowledge into action and compare energy contracts.
Understanding electricity contracts: what makes a plan worth it?
If you think that most electricity plans out there are going to be about the same, then we recommend you look a bit closer. They might all offer similar things, it’s true, but energy contracts can vary greatly from one to another based on the following factors:
- Payment options
With all these factors at play it’s important to know what to look for when going through each plan, one by one.
Before shopping around, it’s essential to review your last few energy bills to determine how much energy you consume at home and how much it’s costing you. This information will help you to compare apples to apples between local retailers to make sure that you are getting the best deal in a new contract.
But before you do… it also pays to check with your current retailer to ask if any specials or discounts are available. If your current electricity retailer finds out that you are hoping to switch, they may provide you with even cheaper rates in order to keep your business. After all, you want to make sure you’re getting the best deal you can, don’t you?
Once you’ve done that, here’s what we recommend that you look at, so you can really understand what each plan is offering, and why you should choose—or avoid—that energy provider.
- First of all, what are they charging you? Understand the basics of each plan, so find out the unit rate, what tariff you’ll be under, your supply charge, and any other fees that make up each bill.
- How long is the contract for? It’s no use looking at short-term contracts when you’re after something to stick with for a few years, or signing up for a contract and realising you’re stuck with it for years to come. Make sure you find this information out before you sign anything.
- Will they increase their rates any time soon? Most suppliers keep their rate rises in line with the cost of living, but some energy retailers may tell you that they don’t have a cap on their rate rises. If they tell you this then it’s best to avoid them, as this means they can change your rate whenever they want.
- Do they charge fees for moving house, disconnections, or even exiting their contract? Organising a disconnection for any reason is stressful enough, and so is moving house, so you want to be careful to see that a surprise fee isn’t going to add any more stress to your life during these times.
- What payment options do they offer? You might prefer paying by Bpay, or you may enjoy the convenience of setting up direct debit, so be sure to ask the supplier if the option that you prefer is available to you.
- Are there any discounts or incentives they can offer you? In a state with full retail competition, most electricity providers are hoping to gain a customer’s business, so they may offer special discounts to sign up for their service, and could throw in a number of freebies to sweeten the deal, like magazine subscriptions and movie tickets.
- But be certain you know what you’re getting the discount on, so whether it’s a rate 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 that the discount is actually worth it.
- Are they willing to match—or even beat—a rate offered by one of their competitors? Much like asking them about a discount, this is where the competition in the electricity market works in your favour, and asking if they’re willing to do a better rate than their rival can see you get a better deal, on a better plan, with a supplier who you prefer.
As you can see, comparing energy providers can get complicated. There’s a lot to think about, as you want to make sure you know absolutely everything about a certain plan before you decide to go with that one or not.
So as a customer, if you’re looking for better electricity rates but think it’s too much work or it’s out of your league, it’s important to trust the experts. ElectricityWizard can help you to compare energy providers to find the best deal available in your local area, considering all of the factors listed above—especially price.
How to compare energy providers the easy way
To take advantage of an absolutely free electricity comparison to compare energy providers in your area, contact ElectricityWizard to make the switch today!
ElectricityWizard allows you to quickly and conveniently compare against many of the best electricity providers and plans in your area. One of our trained specialists can help you find many of the better available rates and options in your service region so that you can choose a plan that best meets your needs.