We've built a tool to help you compare gas or electricity plans in your state in just minutes.
Whether you're looking for a better energy deal for your family household or you are moving house and just need to sort your utilities, you've come to the right place to save on your yearly energy bill.
Market contracts usually come with a benefit period of one or two years, which means you'll receive a discounted rate in exchange for a 'lock in contract'. If you want to leave in this time, you'll likely receive a charge. Once the discount period ends, you'll remain on the contract but likely pay more for your electricity unless you shop around for a new deal.
Other electricity retailers may offer you a 'no lock-in contract' deal. You might have to pay a little more but you can usually leave whenever you want without incurring an exit fee.
5. Is green important to you
Currently, most electricity comes from generators that burn fossil fuels like coal. If the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on the planet is important to you, then you might be to contribute to renewable energy in Australia.
While you will most likely continue to receive your electricity supply from the grid which is made up of a mix of generation sources, your money goes towards investing in clean energy. This includes government accredited renewable sources such as solar, wind, hydro and biomass.
6. Discounts conditions
Energy providers regularly offer discounts and incentives for your electricity and gas bills. The best offers are usually conditional discounts while unconditional offers are simply there to make the energy plan stand out.
Conditional discounts, on the other hand, means that in order to receive the discount, you'll need to meet specific conditions. These can include paying your bills on time or using direct debit.
Single rate tariff. This is the most common type of tariff in Australia and is also referred to as a flat rate, standard rate, general supply and anytime rate tariff. If you choose a single rate tariff plan, you'll pay the same rate at all times with no peak or off-peak periods.
Time of use tariff. With a time of use tariff, the electricity you use will cost different prices at different times of the day. Time of use tariffs require a smart meter, but many retailers offer smart meter installation for a one-time fee.
During peak times, or when most people use electricity, prices are the highest. Peak times are usually from 3pm to 9pm weekdays.
During off-peak times, or when fewer people are using electricity, rates are cheaper. Off-peak times are typically overnight.
During shoulder periods, rates fall somewhere in between peak and off-peak rates. Shoulder rates usually apply at any time that isn't considered peak or off-peak.
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.
Want to switch?
Once you've compared energy retailers and chosen the one that meets your needs, switching providers is simple. All you have to do is sign up for your new plan and notify your current provider that you want to switch.
When you switch providers, your distributor still stays the same so you won't lose power or gas during the transition. If you're moving to a new location, make sure to sign up for an energy plan before you move to make sure you're connected as soon as you move in.
Switching could take anywhere from a few days up to a few months depending on the type of meter you have.
Connection fees. If you're signing up for a new provider, check if you'll have to pay a connection fee to switch. If you move into a new property, this fee might be unavoidable.
Exit fees. Some energy providers may charge you exit fees if you decide to leave. However, even with an exit fee, it could still be cheaper to switch. Just make sure you factor the expense into your overall energy cost when you're comparing providers.
Contract terms. When choosing a provider, be sure to check the contract terms carefully. Some contracts are month-to-month, while others are for terms of up to two years. Always check your agreement carefully. Some providers will automatically roll over an existing contract. However, fees may apply.
Conditional and unconditional discounts. With conditional discounts, the discount only applies if you meet certain conditions, such as paying your bills on time. With unconditional discounts, it applies no matter what. Unconditional discounts are typically marketing tactics to make a providers plan stand out more.
Payment fees. Many providers charge transaction fees for certain payment types. If you prefer to pay by credit card or in person at a post office, check if you'll have to pay any additional fees.
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:
It's no secret that many energy providers offer discounts. These discounts can be as simple as getting a bill reductions for paying your bills on time or signing up online. If you notify your provider that you want to switch, you may even be offered a discount to stay. Whatever discounts your provider offers, make sure to read all of the terms and conditions as some offers only apply if you meet certain requirements.
If you're looking to connect both electricity and gas, you might be able to get a discount by signing up for both services with the same provider. Bundled plans also offer the added benefit of simplifying your bills into a single invoice and making it easier to budget for utilities.
Some providers offer concession discounts for pensioners, veterans, low-income households or households with specialised medical equipment. Check out our guide to concessions and rebates in Australia to find out what your options are, check eligibility requirements and learn how to apply.
Some providers offer a smartphone app or desktop software that lets you track your energy use. These apps can help you understand how much energy you're using and the real-time cost of using specific appliances. This can help you understand exactly what you're paying for and reduce your energy use to lower your bills.
Many providers now offer monthly billing or bill smoothing. With bill smoothing, the retailer estimates your annual electricity costs and sends you invoices for more manageable monthly payments. While this won't reduce your annual energy costs, it will help you avoid bill shock with quarterly invoices.
There are a number of different tariffs available for residential customers. Most households will probably end up on a general supply tariff. If there's usually nobody home in your house between the peak period of 4pm to 8pm on weekdays, then you might be interested in a "time of use tariff". As always, consider your individual needs and compare your options before signing a contract.
Sometimes, yes. Electricity retailers can offer specialised plans for residents with their own solar power. When selecting a plan, you will have to notify your retailer of your current solar system set-up.
Having your last electricity or gas bill is very helpful when getting quotes from providers. If you can't supply this, having an estimate of your bill and the payment period can get you started.
For both gas and electricity, fees will apply if you don't already have a meter or connection to the gas mains. In these cases, it might be quite expensive to get the necessary infrastructure and connection installed. If you are switching to a new company from a pre-existing relationship with another before your contract is up, there may be associated exit fees to pay. Contact your current energy provider to learn more about those.
This will depend on your provider. To find out whether your provider has exit fees, you can call them or check out the details of your package online.
If you already have a meter at your home, it will take around three business days to get connected. It takes longer if you don't have a meter, though.
Suppliers generate the electricity or gas via various green and not-so-green processes.
Distributors take the energy from the suppliers and distribute it out to residents and businesses. The distributors are often responsible for maintaining the infrastructure including power lines and pipelines.
Retailers are the companies who sell you the power from the distributors and whose names you are probably aware of: AGL, Dodo, EnergyAustralia and so on.
There are four main types of light bulbs: Incandescent, halogen, fluorescent and LED. Typically, LED is the most efficient. You can find a more detailed breakdown in our guide to light bulbs.
Gas is measured by its capacity to release heat energy and this unit is called a joule (J) (which might sound familiar from the amount of heat energy released from food). For instance, it requires 4.2 joules to heat 1 gram of water by just 1ºC. Your gas usage is measured in thousands of joules (kilojoules – KJ) or more likely millions of joules (megajoules – MJ).
Your electricity usage is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh). A kilowatt is 1000 joules used up in a second. So a kilowatt hour is 1000 joules used every second for a whole hour. That's 1 kilojoule * 60 seconds * 60 minutes = 3,600. So a kilowatt hour uses 3,600 KJ (or 3.6 MJ).
Peak and off-peak hours refer to the times when there is the most strain on an electricity network. To reduce the strain on the power grid, power companies introduced off-peak benefits. These provide cheaper electricity prices during periods of lower demand, to incentivise customers to try and spread the load of their electricity usage. Typically, peak and off-peak times are as follows:
Peak times: 3pm to 9pm weekdays.
Off-peak: 10pm to 7am all days.
Shoulder: Intermediate times between peak and off-peak.
If you have a solar panel system connected to the grid, you can earn money for supplying electricity to energy companies. The feed-in tariff defines how much you earn for the electricity your solar panels feed back into the network.
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Note: Not available in the Northern Territory, Tasmania and Western Australia.
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