Post on June 16th, 2015
Looking to compare electricity rates in Victoria & Melbourne?
Understanding the energy market in Victoria and Melbourne will help you to save money on your electricity bills. The 2017 Independent Review of Victoria’s Electricity and Gas Network examined the way the electricity market in Victoria operates. Along with the ACCC’s Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry, which investigated electricity affordability, a range of changes are on their way to improve the electricity network and the cost of electricity in Victoria.
Electricity distributors in Victoria and Melbourne
Victoria’s energy market is currently split between five electricity distributors. The electricity distributors are responsible for fixing faults, and maintaining the poles and wires (the energy infrastructure).
The five different distributors operating throughout Melbourne and Victoria are: Powercor, Citipower, United Energy Distribution, Jemena, and Ausnet Services. Consumers are allocated to distributors based on geographical location.
Electricity Retailers in Victoria and Melbourne
The electricity companies that manage your account and send you bills are different from the wholesale companies that distribute electricity. The price you pay for your electricity is set by your electricity retailer.
In Victoria, customers are free to choose their own electricity and gas suppliers. Victorians should make sure they compare the range of plans on offer in their area. While the wholesale rate is determined by the distributor, you can get great discounts on electricity prices per kilowatt hour because of local competition between retailers.
Lots of electricity companies offer discounts and special offers to attract new customers. While there’s a range of variables affecting the overall amount you pay for your electricity, choosing the right retailer can have a huge impact on your yearly energy bill.
Understanding your bill
Before choosing your new retailer, it’s important to understand how your electricity bill is calculated. Your bill is comprised of two key costs: the electricity you use (your usage charge), and the cost of your electricity supply (your supply charge).
The electricity usage charge is a based on how much electricity you use. This is what your electricity company charges you, and is made up of peak time and off-peak-time electricity usage charges (charged in cents per kilowatt hour). As your usage charge is set by your retailer, the cost is likely to change depending on who you choose as your electricity provider. This enables you to shop around to find the best rate that works for you.
The supply charge is your service to property fee. This electricity cost covers the cost of maintaining the electricity connection to your home. This “service to property” fee is charged at a cents-per-day rate. The supply charge is what you’re paying for the service of being connected to the electricity grid. These costs usually stay around the same each bill—unless your retailer changes their pricing.
If you’re comparing and shopping around for an electricity retailer with the cheapest supply charge, make sure to also compare their service to property costs.
Comparing electricity rates in Victoria & Melbourne can be complex. So who do you choose?
What Electricity Plans are Available in Melbourne and Victoria?
There are two standard types of electricity plans or contract offers that you’ll find when you start shopping around: a standing offer, and a market offer.
A standing offer is a default offer. This basic package comes with a minimum set of terms and conditions that govern it. These packages usually follow strict rules set by the Victorian government, and more often than not are older contracts that were set prior to deregulation, which you might still be on if you haven’t looked at switching suppliers for a long time.
These standing offers are there to make sure that everyone has access to the provision of electricity services. The price of these offers are set by the retailer, and are generally more expensive contracts, as they don’t provide any discount discounts or specials to help reduce costs. So if it’s savings you’re after, it’s better to look into a market offer instead.
A market offer is different to a standing offer in that it can have different terms and conditions that are set by the retailer, and can include different rates, features, or discounts. This is where you’ll find the retailers getting competitive—they’ll try and charge less, or offer more, or throw in a discount or incentive to make their package more attractive. Switching to a discount market offer is the best way to save money on your electricity bill.
Compare Electricity Companies and Plans
We all love a saving, and it’s important to remember that even with an electricity service you have to balance quality with quantity. The cheapest electricity rates don’t always guarantee the best service. So if you’re after the best rates coupled with the best service, make sure you keep the following in mind when you’re searching for your new electricity supplier:
- Terms and conditions – Don’t be fooled. Make sure you compare all relevant rates, tariffs, and terms and conditions from each supplier before deciding to switch.
- Get the right plan – Most electricity providers have plans that feature variable rates, which means that the price you’re charged for electricity can change. However, make sure to ask whether your supplier offers a variable or fixed rate plan. Some suppliers are starting to offer fixed rates, which sees you locked into one rate for a defined time period. Depending on your energy usage, this can work out to be a smarter move. Be sure to check your terms and conditions though, and make sure you won’t be slugged with any nasty fees on the way.
- Match rates – Ask the electricity supplier if they’re able to match or beat guarantees from other suppliers. Given the competition in Victoria, this ensures that you get the best deal from a dependable supplier that you can trust for the long-term.
- Any discounts? – That’s right, even with your current electricity company you might be able to get a discount, so ask the supplier about any discount offers they have available. Some providers offer discounts for switching to email billing, some offer discounts for direct debit payments, and some even can give you a discount just for paying on time.
To keep that competitive edge, it’s best to change suppliers every 12 to 24 months, to make sure you can take advantage of the best rates and the newest technologies.
Make the right choice for you new electricity company
There are an increasing number of electricity retailers operating in Melbourne and Victoria. Comparing all the different contract offers, electricity prices, discount rates, and specials can be time consuming. It can also be daunting to make a final choice and be sure that you’re choosing the best electricity company.
Some of these companies specialise in a business and commercial supply, while others are more suited to residential customers. You might be looking at a greener energy alternative, or might have a preference that your supplier is Australian owned and operated.
Whatever your preference, the right fit is out there for you. The current electricity retailers servicing the Melbourne and Victoria area include:
- 1st Energy
- Alinta Energy
- Blue NRG
- Click Energy
- Commander Power and Gas
- Diamond Energy
- Dodo Power and Gas
- Energy Australia
- Energy Locals
- ERM Power Retail
- GloBird Energy
- Lumo Energy
- Momentum Energy
- Origin Energy
- People Energy Pty Ltd
- Red Energy
- Sanctuary Energy
- Simply Energy
- Tango Energy
With so many suppliers to consider, it’s no wonder many consumers find it difficult to choose the best electricity retailer. Electricity Wizard can offer you a free comparison service to help you find the lowest electricity prices from an electricity company that’s easy to deal with.
Get a Better Deal on Your Victoria Electricity Bills
At Electricity Wizard, we do all the hard work for you. When you call us, we’ll compare your rates and plans against the leading electricity retailers available in your area. Next we help you select the right plan for you. Whether you want to cut down on costs or meet other criteria, we will do our very best to get you the plan to suits your home or business. Best of all, our service is completely free – So what do you have to lose?