Seniors and pensioners guide to electricity providers and energy plans in Australia
Managing bills can be a problem for seniors and pensioners who usually rely on a fixed income. The rising cost of electricity is an issue that could burden them eventually. Unfortunately, most of the time, energy bills tend to go up along with the years added to our age. Spending quality time at home often comes with a price and it’s important to be aware of the options that are intended to help energy users who are already in their senior years.
Ageing and energy plans may not complement each other, but there are ways for seniors and pensioners to avoid stress by learning how to manage their energy bills.
Tips for seniors and pensioners in managing energy plans
Review offers and contracts
Wherever you live, there are electricity retailers in Australia electricity retailers in Australia that can support your energy requirements. You may even receive several energy offers, so you have to carefully assess which retailer to choose. To ensure that your energy bills are easy to manage, make it a habit to read offers and contracts. Ensure that you pay attention to the terms and conditions.
Check to see what your meter tariff is
Some electricity meters are configured for peak off-peak energy use (time-of-use), while others are set up to accommodate a single rate all day long. Depending on your meter type, you can adjust your lifestyle to take advantage of your tariff. For time-of-use meters, this would mean savings for consumers if one were to opt to use off-peak periods for flexible activities such as washing and cooking; however, one should also be cautious enough to consider heating and cooling requirements, as it may lead to increased energy costs if you need to run them during peak periods.
Ensure customer protection
Know the laws that are in place to promote customer protection when it comes to energy matters. Customers are entitled to information that will affect them while under contract with a provider. Trusted electricity retailers should provide a printed summary of the contract. Customers should also refer to the energy price fact sheet to know the following:
• All prices and charges
• Early termination fees
• Contract date and duration
• Billing and payment information
• Customer rights and obligations
Note: Customers who have agreed to a contract with an energy provider can still change their mind and be spared from penalties provided it is within their 10 business-day cooling-off period.
Check for possible energy bill errors
Make it a habit to check your bill, especially if you think that there is something wrong or if the charges do not complement your actual usage. You can request your electricity provider to review it. If after that you are still not satisfied, you may also contact the energy ombudsman in your state or territory who can offer a free and independent dispute resolution service.
Know your billing options
For seniors and pensioners who rely on a fixed income, paying energy bills can be financially stressful; however, there are ways to ease this burden and unload the financial stress from your energy bill.
Instead of receiving a large quarterly bill, you can request to deduct smaller amounts from your account regularly by your energy provider. Contact your energy retailer if you will not be able to pay your bill on time. You should find their contact number on your energy bill.
Usually, electricity providers have a hardship policy that outlines how they can help customers with financial difficulties. They may be able to offer delayed payments or allow you to pay off in smaller amounts.
In cases where you have already received a disconnection notice from your electricity retailer, do not hesitate to contact them immediately. Discuss the possible options that they may offer. You should know that disconnections are not allowed during weekends or public holidays, also known as the protected period. People who depend on a life-support system are also protected from disconnection.
Dealing with the burden brought on by high energy bills brings on stress; however, there are steps that you can take to make them manageable. Seniors and pensioners can avoid financial difficulties by knowing their rights as consumers and finding electricity providers that can best match their needs and lifestyle requirements.
Do you need help in comparing energy plans and finding electricity providers in your area? Check out the fast, easy, and free energy comparison tool from Electricity Wizard today!