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Who is the best energy brand in Australia?
At Energy Finder™ we are straight up in saying there is no clear best plan or deal or provider for everyone.
Certain deals, plans and offers are only available in certain postcodes and specific plan may have different features and rates based on your tariff type and where you live.
This is why we picked out the overall brand (in three categories)
When it comes to energy brands, different brands are considered the 'best' for different reasons i.e. there are certain brands that do well in certain areas. For this guide, we looked at popularity, customer service and green.
Popularity: Origin Energy
Customer service: AGL
Who's behind our energy comparison?
Some of the brands we compare
Types of energy you can compare
Get a price estimate from Origin EnergyNo lock in contracts, solar options and in-app bill management.
Energy deals in your state
Compare providers in your state or territory.
Our engine lets you compare estimated prices to give you an idea of how much you'll pay. Here's a quick guide on how to use it:
What features can you compare using Energy Finder?
Our engine is capable of comparing quite a few things. Here are the features our users find most helpful to compare:
- Price. This is how much you can expect to pay on a given plan in a quarter, assuming average energy use. For most states, this will be placed against a default reference price for a clearer comparison.
- Usage rates and supply charges. Usage rates are how much you pay for each unit of energy you consume, while supply charges are what you pay daily for being connected to the energy network.
- Contract terms and benefit periods. The contract term tells you how long you're locked into a contract for (as opposed to month-to-month, which means you can leave at any time). A benefit period tells you how long discounts apply before they expire.
- Solar feed-in tariffs. This is how much you'll earn for each unit of surplus energy that you feed back into the grid from your solar array, measured in c/kWh.
- Exit fees. This is how much you'll be charged if you leave your contract early. This applies only to plans with a lock-in contract.
- GreenPower. GreenPower lets you guarantee that a certain percentage of your energy is purchased from renewable sources, such as wind, solar or bioenergy. For example, a plan might offer 10%, 25% or 100% GreenPower options at an additional usage cost.
Compare Guide: How to find best energy deal
Understand how energy prices are calculated
Energy plans may appear complicated, but their price depends on just three main things.
If you can understand these elements, you may be able to find yourself a cheaper deal.
- Supply charges. This is a flat fee that you are charged for being connected to the energy network, measured in c/day.
- Usage rates. This is how much you'll be charged for each unit of energy you consume, measured in c/kWh. Securing lower usage rates is vital as they will make up the bulk of your energy bill.
- Discounts. These are usually a percentage discount on some or all of your bill, though they can take other forms. Discounts may require special conditions or they may only apply for a strictly limited time. Factor in the limits of a discount when you're comparing energy plans.
"Price isn't the be-all and end-all of energy plans"
What's in this guide?
- Who is the best energy brand in Australia?
- Popularity: Origin Energy
- Customer service: AGL
- Green: Powershop
- Understand how energy prices are calculated
- Look deeper than the price
- Understand your bill
- Do the big energy brands matter?
- What is Finder's customer service rating?
- What should green-conscious customers look for in an energy plan?
- What should solar owners look out for?
- How much can you save by switching?
- Before you switch energy plans
Look deeper than the price
Price isn't the be-all and end-all of energy plans.
The most common trap that people fall into is finding a plan with a cheap estimated price that is actually heavily reliant on discounts.
Discount benefit periods expire eventually, which can lead to prices jumping way back up. Additionally, discounts are sometimes conditional e.g. a pay-on-time discount.
Don't get blinded by discounts – compare the rates themselves. To get the best measure of how well priced a plan actually is, have a look at the scenarios below.
|A cheaper estimated price|
|Will it decrease your bill?||Yes|
|What should you look out for?||It may decrease your bill overall, but could be reliant on discounts.|
|Useful if...||You want a rough indication of how much you could save.|
|Will it decrease your bill?||Yes|
|What should you look out for?||Decreases your bill, but may only last for a certain amount of time e.g. one year. May also require you to meet certain requirements e.g. pay on time.|
|Useful if...||You are able to meet discount conditions and you are aware of when your discount will end.|
|Lower usage rates|
|Will it decrease your bill?||Yes|
|What should you look out for?||Decreases your bills usage rate either per kWh (electricity) or per MJ/h (gas).|
|Useful if...||You have a high energy usage (although this can be beneficial to anyone, regardless of how much energy you use).|
|A lower daily supply charge|
|Will it decrease your bill?||Yes|
|What should you look out for?||Decreases the daily charge you have to pay simply to be connected to power.|
|Look for this if...||You're not a high energy user (although this can be beneficial to anyone, regardless of how much energy you use).|
Consider your situation and make sure your plan has the right features
Here are some features you should compare depending on your circumstances.
Seniors should be sure to compare the following features.
|Feature||Why should seniors compare this?|
|Supply rate||If you don't have particularly high energy usage, securing a low supply rate will save you having to pay as much for being passively connected.|
|Feature||Why should students compare this?|
|Exit fees||As a student, you might move house more often. Having to pay an exit fee to switch your energy contract can cost you a lot unnecessarily.|
|Disconnection and connection fees for moving||As a student, you might move more often. Pay attention to the fees charged for getting your energy set up at your new address.|
|Bonus signup credits||Students could be switching plans more often than other people, meaning they can wring some extra value out of things like bonus sign up credits for no penalty.|
|Feature||Why should couples compare this?|
|Lower usage rates||Two people use more energy than one, so it's important to aim for the lowest usage rates you can.|
|Feature||Why should family households compare this?|
|Disconnection and connection fees when moving||Whether you're starting a family and need more rooms or you're looking for the new family home, keep an eye on connection fees when moving - they matter!|
|Lower usage rates||Families, whether large or small, use much more energy than a single individual. Considering how much power you'll consume, low usage rates are a must.|
|Feature||Why should single households compare this?|
|Lower supply rates||One person won't consume too much energy themself, so keeping your daily cost for being hooked up to the network is important.|
|Feature||Why should those with low usage compare this?|
|Low supply rates||When you don't have much in the way of power needs, keeping down the daily costs of being hooked up to the network becomes a major focus.|
You are willing to actively find ways to save your energy.
|Feature||Why should energy optimisers compare this?|
|Prepaid pack||Prepaid packs can potentially save you quite a bit of money if you're quite careful and consistent with your energy use, making it attractive to those who are invested.|
|Time of use tariff||Time of use tariffs greatly reward customers who use power outside of peak times. If you can restructure your power use around it, you can save.|
|Solar feed in tariff||If you manage your energy use so that you have a good excess of solar and cover a lot of your own use, you can benefit from high solar feed in tariffs.|
|Usage management app||Some retailers offer energy management apps that let you track your usage and solar production closely. This can let you benefit from wholesale prices, solar tariffs, and more.|
Your living circumstances
|Feature||Why should renters compare this?|
|Exit fees||Renters can usually be forced to move with short notice. You don't want to be locked into a contract with fees for leaving early.|
|Connection and disconnection fees when moving||Renters move more frequently. Depending on your rental agreements, these fees may be covered by your landlord or real estate agent, but you should keep them in mind.|
|Bonus signup credits||When you sign up to new deals more frequently than others, bonus signup credits are a good way to add value to your plan.|
Your financial situation
|Feature||Why should people who are financially insecure compare this?|
|Disconnection and reconnection fees - non payment.||When you don't pay your bills on time, you may end up being charged for having your power reconnected. Talk to your retailer ahead of time to stop this from happening, or ensure that such fees are low.|
|Bonus signup credits||Signup credits are a good way to squeeze some extra value out of a new plan. If the plan is good value anyway, bonus credits can help relieve a bit of financial pressure.|
|Financial hardship program||These programs are designed to help out anyone struggling to keep up with their bills, and settle the debt in a manageable way. All retailers are required to have one, but some may be better than others.|
Value hunter / Active saver
|Feature||Why should value hunters compare this?|
|Benefit period||Deals with larger benefit periods last a longer time, increasing their value.|
|Conditional discounts||If you're committed enough to meet conditions like paying on time, you can get a number of ongoing discounts.|
|Incentives||Different retailers may have different incentives, like frequent flyer points or rewards programs. Shopping around lets you find an incentive that you'll get extra value from.|
|Bonus signup credits||Signup credits are usually offered to new customers, so they can add value to an already good plan.|
|Prepaid pack||So long as you have a good idea of how much energy you're likely to use in a month, prepaid packs may offer significant savings compared to a regular plan.|
|Time of use tariff||Value hunters who are willing to rearrange their energy usage habits can take advantage of a time of use tariff, by shifting their usage to off-peak times.|
|Solar feed in tariff||For solar customers, finding a plan with high feed in tariffs can help you make the most out of your excess solar energy.|
|Usage app||Usage management apps are available from certain retailers. These assist you in understanding, adjusting, and taking advantage of your energy usage habits.|
Time poor / Lazy - convenience
|Feature||Why should time poor people compare this?|
|Disconnection and reconnection fees - non payment||If you miss out on paying bills because you can't keep up, you might have to pay reconnection fees to get power restored. Your retailer should notify you if this is going to happen, but watch out for these fees just in case.|
|Guaranteed discount||Guaranteed discounts are an automatic reduction on your rates. They're great if you don't have time to keep up with all the conditions on other discount types.|
Set and forget
|Feature||Why should set and forget customers compare this?|
|Benefit period||Discounts and deals usually last for a set time, called the benefit period. Be aware that discounts with a benefit period may run out without you noticing and cause your energy bills to go way up.|
|Conditional discounts||Certain discounts or benefits require you to fulfil certain conditions to receive them. Make sure you're picking a plan that has conditions you'll be able to meet without too much work.|
|Fixed rates||Fixed rate deals will keep your usage and supply rates frozen until the benefit period expires. They're ideal if you don't want to worry about your rates going up without you noticing.|
|Variable rates||Watch out for variable rates - retailers can change them at any time without much notice. Usually, they go up, so if you're not paying close attention you can end up paying more.|
|Time of use tariff||Time of use tariffs rely upon your usage being mostly outside of peak periods. Customers who want to use energy whenever should avoid time of use tariffs.|
|Single rate tariff||A single rate tariff is ideal for set and forget customers. No matter when you use power, you'll pay the same rate, so you don't have to think about your usage too much.|
You care about green
|Feature||Why should green-conscious customers compare this?|
|Solar feed in tariff||If you're environmentally conscious and own solar panels, searching for plans that reward you for exporting excess energy is in your best interests.|
|GreenPower||GreenPower options vary from retailer to retailer, and not everyone has them. Ensure your retailer has the guaranteed renewables you're looking for, at the percentage you want.|
|GreenAward||Retailers who win the GreenAward have scored very well in a number of different environmental categories. Signing up with a GreenAward winner ensures you're picking one that cares about the environment, like you.|
You own solar panels
|Feature||Why should solar panel owners compare this?|
|Solar feed in tariff||When you own solar panels, you'll inevitably feed excess power you've generated back into the greater grid. Be rewarded for solar with higher feed in tariffs.|
You like customer service and communicating with your provider
|Feature||Why should the communicator-conscious compare this?|
|Customer service rating||The Finder customer service rating scores retailers on a number of factors, including how responsive they are. A higher rating here means you'll probably have an easier time getting in touch with them.|
|Call centre hours/weekend hours||Longer call centre hours and lots of weekend availability means greater flexibility in contacting your retailer.|
|Online chat||Retailers with an online chat feature in addition to a call centre have another avenue of contact, making it easier to reach them when you need to.|
You like rewards and gifts
|Feature||Why should consumers compare this?|
|Incentives||There are plenty of different incentives available across the market, from frequent flyer points to rewards programs and more. Finding an incentive that you'll make good use of will improve your plan's value.|
You hate commitment
|Feature||Why should commitment phobes compare this?|
|Exit fee||Exit fees penalise you for leaving a contract early, so don't sign up to contracts that have them.|
Understand your bill
Understanding your energy bill means you understand your energy consumption and can figure out if you can get a better deal.
Here's what matters on your bill:
Usage in period.
Peak and off-peak usage.
Relative usage to others in your area.
Controlled load usage.
Usage and supply charges.
For a more in-depth look at understanding your bill, check out our detailed guide.
Do the big energy brands matter?
Around 65% of Australian residents buy their power from one of the "Big 3" energy retailers: Origin Energy, Energy Australia and AGL.
Their rates are competitive but aren't always the best
While these three retailers are competitive with price in most electricity markets, they rarely offer the single best deal, which usually comes from a smaller retailer.
On top of that, many of their competitive prices come from hefty discounts rather than low rates, meaning you'll need to keep on top of refreshing your plan to get the best deal after its benefit period runs out.
They do well on customer service
The big energy brands do score well on their Finder customer service rating, though.
|Online chat available?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Financial hardship program||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Both Origin and AGL performed well, with ratings of 4.5 and 4.8 stars out of 5 respectively, though Energy Australia was behind at around 3. (but still above the overall average of 2.8).
This scale is based on a number of factors including when service is available, ease of application and financial hardship programs.
For example, AGL offers 24 hour customer support, which contributes to its excellent rating.
What is Finder's customer service rating?
Finder's customer service rating is a score assigned to different energy retailers based on the ease with which customers can sign up to a plan and how responsive they are to issues.
The Finder customer service rating is distinct from customer reviews, which can be fairly unreliable for a number of reasons, and are calculated using the following factors:
Call centre service. When customers can call and weekend hours.
Website/app usability. Ability to check usage and bills online, plus useful tools like graphs and charts.
Online help and support. Online (live) chat, or responsive Facebook support.
Ease of application. Can you apply online, over the phone or do you have to send a query to get a plan?
Financial hardship program. This is a measure of how supportive the company is for people who are experiencing financial hardship. Does the company offer payment plans or financial counselor referrals?
What should green-conscious customers look for in an energy plan?
With the bulk of Australia's electricity still coming from non-renewable sources (for example, coal burning), having some assurance of the greenness of your energy is as important as ever. Luckily, there are several things you can consider to help you make a greener choice:
- GreenPower. GreenPower is an option available from many energy retailers. Essentially, you can pay a little bit extra in usage charges to guarantee that a certain amount of the power you use is green power. For example, a 10% GreenPower rating means that at least 10% of your energy is purchased from renewable sources. Learn more in our GreenPower guide.
- Green Ratings. The Green Electricity Guide is an initiative by Greenpeace and the Total Environment Centre that rates retailers by how environmentally friendly their actions and policies are. It takes into account the company's transparency, fossil fuel policy, solar offers and more to arrive at its rankings.
- Finder Green Award. The Finder Green Awards are handed out to the businesses making the biggest contribution towards a green future, including energy retailers as well as many others.
Beyond this, our individual provider pages go into detail about how green that provider really is.
What should solar owners look out for?
Solar is an excellent way to offset high power costs, since every bit of power that you generate is one less bit of power that you have to pay for. But what about the excess energy that you produce? If you don't have solar batteries, it gets fed back into the grid for a rebate known as a solar feed-in tariff.
Simply searching for the highest feed-in tariff isn't necessarily the best option. Most retailers offer higher feed-in tariffs on plans with higher general usage rates, meaning that even if you are able to earn more, you might still pay more overall. See our guide on the best plans for solar feed-in tariffs for your area.
How much can you save by switching?
Did you know that the current rate you pay for energy can change in the future? That's why you should compare often and consider switching.
We looked at bills from 37 electricity providers and discovered that the some Australians could be saving nearly $120 every quarter on their power bill - around $480 annually.
"Some Australians could be saving nearly $120 every quarter on their power bill - around $480 annually."
|Most expensive plan||$393||$355||$392||$485|
|Least expensive plan||$300||$301||$322||$412|
From the big 3 providers (AGL, EnergyAustralia, Origin Energy), here is the difference between the most expensive and least expensive plan we compared in our engine.
|Most expensive plan||$367||$355||$399||$485|
|Least expensive plan||$304||$316||$330||$408|
Accurate as of April 2020.
Exactly how much you can save by switching provider depends on where you live, but even between the big three (Origin, AGL, and EnergyAustralia) there's almost a $70 difference on bills, with Victorians seeing the largest gap.
To find out how much you could save, just plug in your postcode at the top of the page and browse plans by their estimated price.
Before you switch energy plans
Here's a quick checklist:
- Understand your new plan. The retailer must provide you with all the relevant details of the plan in an easy-to-read format, along with an energy price fact sheet. You're entitled to the full facts about your new plan, with no hidden catches.
- Contract terms. Make sure you aren't still locked into your current contract when you decide to switch, or you may be hit with an early exit fee.
- Discounts. Know what conditions you have to meet to get the discount and confirm that you can meet them. Will you always be able to pay your bill on time, for example?
- Rebates and concessions. You may be eligible for a rebate or concession. Check our list of energy rebates for every state to see if you qualify for any. Some providers have concession-only plans, such as AGL's seniors plan.
- Resolve any complaints or problems. If you're switching because of an issue with your current provider, see if it can be resolved first. You can always address serious issues to the energy and water ombudsman for your state.
Under Australian energy regulations, all plans must offer a 14 day cooling-off period. If you're unhappy with your service during that period, you can cancel or switch with no penalty.
As long as you aren't physically moving properties, the actual switch will be handled by your new retailer. All you'll need to do is provide them with some information, such as your metering details, and they'll do the rest, which is explained in detail here.
If you're moving house, you will need to let your energy provider know. When moving to a new location, you do have the option to stay with your current provider if it supplies energy to that new area. It's smart to check and compare services in your new location. You may potentially find a much better deal with another provider that services that address.
Typically it takes up to three business days to get your energy connected. As such it's best not to leave this to the last minute, otherwise you may be leaving your family in the dark.
5 tips to save on energy
One of the easiest ways to save on energy costs is to switch to a cheaper energy provider. Here are a few more tips to lower your bills:
Frequently asked questions
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