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Energy discounts in Australia

When you’re searching around for a new energy plan, it’s easy to be distracted by the shiny offers and discounts providers might promise. The question is, which of these offers are marketing and which are genuine, useful discounts?

Updated

Fact checked
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To help you navigate the world of energy discounts in pursuit of the best deal, we've put together a short guide with everything you need to know.

What types of energy discounts exist?

While the sheer number of energy discounts out there from different providers may seem complicated, they mostly fall into just a few different categories. Usually, you'll be looking at a conditional discount, something which only applies when a certain condition is met. Here's what common discount types exist:

  • Direct debit. Letting your provider pull your bill directly from your bank account at payment time saves them administrative work and can save you money.
  • Paperless billing. Don't mind receiving your bill in your email inbox? Paperless billing can save you from paying a surcharge for the extra time and money the company has to spend printing and mailing your bill.
  • Pay on time discount. Pay your bill on time, every time, and you might be eligible for one of these discounts. Watch out, though, since if you're late on a couple of payments you might not end up saving much at all. Your discount could be cancelled and you could be hit with large dishonour fees.
  • Sign up or limited term discounts. When you sign up with some providers, they may offer you a big discount that only applies for, say, 12 or 24 months. Make sure the discount is worth it with the period offered.

1. Discounts in NSW

Here are the type of discounts various brands offer in NSW as an example.

Discount typeExampleBrands that offer the discount
Bonus credits$75 Credit for online sign up
Up to $40/$240 in bonus credits p.a.
Sumo Saver Credit
AGL
AGL
Sumo
Pay on time discountsPay on time discount on total bill
Pay on time discount on total usage
1st Energy, Globird Energy, Sumo, Red Energy, Diamond Energy
Elysian Energy, Enova Energy, Future X Power, 1st Energy
Direct debit discountsGet an xx% discount for paying with direct debit.CovaU, Diamond Energy, ActewAGL, Globird Energy, Origin Energy
Guaranteed discountsGuaranteed discount on total bill
Guaranteed discount on total usage
EnergyAustralia, Powerdirect
ActewAGL, Discover Energy, Origin Energy, CovaU
Other special discountsMega Pack
Early Bird Discount
Free Power Bonus
Powershop, Powershop Australia
Lumo Energy
Energy Locals

Last checked December 2019.

1. Credits or discounts?

Some providers will offer their 'discount' as credits. So for example, Sumo Energy offers:

$100 in credits on your electricity account over 24 months if you pay on time.

Read the T's and C's

One thing to be aware of however is the terms and conditions when it comes to credits. In the Sumo Energy example, they will pay back their credits every third monthly bill.

The amount you get back may also vary based on the type of discount you are attempting to receive e.g., Bundle, Pay on time, etc.

The information above was last checked as correct on October 2019.

Rates first, discounts second

Discounts are appealing because everyone likes to feel like they've saved, but you should never purchase a plan based on discounts alone. What matters most is the rates (at which you're being charged for electricity) that the company is offering. This is for two reasons.

1. Discount length

First, some discounts (commonly phrased as 'benefits') are temporary. A company may offer you a hefty discount when you sign up, bringing what you're paying down below a competitor with a lower base rate. However, this decrease could evaporate 12 months later, leaving you stuck in a plan where you're now paying way above what you could get from another provider.

2. It might be conditional

Remember, you'll need often meet the condition to unlock the discount. This penalises you (and sometimes quite a lot) if you don't meet the conditions.

Be careful of large conditional discounts

Consider whether you'll be able to always meet the condition. If not, you might find yourself paying lower rates for a while and then seeing your rates skyrocket up above competitors because you missed a payment, for example. It's entirely possible you're better off with another plan without the conditional discount.

...retailers often advertise large conditional discounts and many consumers end up paying a much higher price when those conditions are not met. These 'penalties' provide an excessive benefit to retailers. - ACCC, 29 March 2019

And as usual, check the rates. You might be paying a low flat fee for your electricity, but have high usage and supply rates. Deals may not always be as good as they appear at first.

What is the reference price?

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The reference price is a benchmark price set by the Australian Energy Regulator to help make understanding prices easier in New South Wales, South Australia and South-East Queensland.

It's the highest a retailer can charge a customer on a standing offer.

The state of Victoria uses a slightly different benchmark called the Victorian Default Market (VDO) offer.

You'll often see the reference price mentioned with discounts to make it easier for you to understand how much you are saving.

Video: How to compare energy discounts on our engine

Origin Energy Example

Check out the discounts from Origin Energy.

Disclaimer: The following price estimates are a general guide only. Prices are based on a residential customer in NSW who consumes 3,900 kWh a year on a single rate tariff in the Ausgrid network. Prices last checked on April 2020 and are subject to change. Always check the providers site before applying.
Name Product Rates Reference Price Estimated Quarterly Price Reference Price Desc Mobile More details
Origin Max Saver - Online Special
Green Electricity Guide rating
Origin Energy
Green Electricity Guide rating
Daily supply charge:
$0.86108/day

General usage rates:
$0.29425/kWh

17% less

than the reference price

$303

Includes GST
With Origin Max Saver - Online Special, for a residential customer who consumes 3900 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the Ausgrid network, the lowest annual cost is $1,213 which is 17% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
Origin Flexi
Green Electricity Guide rating
Origin Energy
Green Electricity Guide rating
Daily supply charge:
$0.86108/day

General usage rates:
$0.29425/kWh

14% less

than the reference price

$314

Includes GST
With Origin Flexi, for a residential customer who consumes 3900 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the Ausgrid network, the lowest annual cost is $1,256 which is 14% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
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Disclaimer: The following price estimates are a general guide only. Prices are based on a residential customer in Melbourne, Victorian who consumes 4,000 kWh a year on a single rate tariff in the CitiPower network. Prices last checked on April 2020 and are subject to change. Always check the providers site before applying.
Name Product Rates Reference Price Estimated Quarterly Price Reference Price Desc Mobile More details
Origin Max Saver - Online Special (Single Rate)
Green Electricity Guide rating
Origin Energy
Green Electricity Guide rating
Daily supply charge:
$1.1309/day (01/01-12/31)

General usage rates:
$0.2517/kWh (01/01-12/31)

11% less

than Victorian Default Offer

$316

Includes GST
With Origin Max Saver - Online Special (Single Rate), for a residential customer who consumes 4000 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the CitiPower network, the lowest annual cost is $1,262 which is 11% less than the Victorian Default Offer (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
Origin Flexi (Single Rate)
Green Electricity Guide rating
Origin Energy
Green Electricity Guide rating
Daily supply charge:
$1.1309/day (01/01-12/31)

General usage rates:
$0.2517/kWh (01/01-12/31)

6% less

than Victorian Default Offer

$333

Includes GST
With Origin Flexi (Single Rate), for a residential customer who consumes 4000 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the CitiPower network, the lowest annual cost is $1,333 which is 6% less than the Victorian Default Offer (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
Origin Flexi (Single Rate)
Green Electricity Guide rating
Origin Energy
Green Electricity Guide rating
Daily supply charge:
$1.1309/day (01/01-12/31)

General usage rates:
$0.2517/kWh (01/01-12/31)

5% less

than Victorian Default Offer

$337

Includes GST
With Origin Flexi (Single Rate), for a residential customer who consumes 4000 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the CitiPower network, the lowest annual cost is $1,348 which is 5% less than the Victorian Default Offer (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
Origin Flexi (Single Rate)
Green Electricity Guide rating
Origin Energy
Green Electricity Guide rating
Daily supply charge:
$1.1309/day (01/01-12/31)

General usage rates:
$0.2517/kWh (01/01-12/31)

5% less

than Victorian Default Offer

$337

Includes GST
With Origin Flexi (Single Rate), for a residential customer who consumes 4000 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the CitiPower network, the lowest annual cost is $1,348 which is 5% less than the Victorian Default Offer (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
Origin Basic (Single Rate)
Green Electricity Guide rating
Origin Energy
Green Electricity Guide rating
Daily supply charge:
$1.1309/day (01/01-12/31)

General usage rates:
$0.2517/kWh (01/01-12/31)

Equal to

Victorian Default Offer

$355

Includes GST
With Origin Basic (Single Rate), for a residential customer who consumes 4000 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the CitiPower network, the lowest annual cost is $1,418 which is Equal to the Victorian Default Offer (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
Origin Flexi (Single Rate)
Green Electricity Guide rating
Origin Energy
Green Electricity Guide rating
Daily supply charge:
$1.1309/day (01/01-12/31)

General usage rates:
$0.2517/kWh (01/01-12/31)

3% less

than Victorian Default Offer

$344

Includes GST
With Origin Flexi (Single Rate), for a residential customer who consumes 4000 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the CitiPower network, the lowest annual cost is $1,376 which is 3% less than the Victorian Default Offer (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
Origin Standing (Single Rate)
Green Electricity Guide rating
Origin Energy
Green Electricity Guide rating
Daily supply charge:
$1.1309/day (01/01-12/31)

General usage rates:
$0.2517/kWh (01/01-12/31)

Equal to

Victorian Default Offer

$355

Includes GST
With Origin Standing (Single Rate), for a residential customer who consumes 4000 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the CitiPower network, the lowest annual cost is $1,418 which is Equal to the Victorian Default Offer (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
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Disclaimer: The following price estimates are a general guide only. Prices are based on a residential customer in South-East Queensland who consumes 4,600 kWh a year on a single rate tariff in the Energex network. Prices last checked on December 2019 and are subject to change. Always check the providers site before applying.
Name Product Rates Reference Price Estimated Quarterly Price Reference Price Desc Mobile More details
Origin Max Saver - Online Special
Green Electricity Guide rating
Origin Energy
Green Electricity Guide rating
Daily supply charge:
$1.11496/day

General usage rates:
$0.23936/kWh

16% less

than the reference price

$316

Includes GST
With Origin Max Saver - Online Special, for a residential customer who consumes 4600 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the Energex network, the lowest annual cost is $1,266 which is 16% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
Origin Flexi
Green Electricity Guide rating
Origin Energy
Green Electricity Guide rating
Daily supply charge:
$1.11496/day

General usage rates:
$0.23936/kWh

10% less

than the reference price

$339

Includes GST
With Origin Flexi, for a residential customer who consumes 4600 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the Energex network, the lowest annual cost is $1,356 which is 10% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: The following price estimates are a general guide only. Prices are based on a residential customer in South Australia who consumes 4,000 kWh a year on a single rate tariff in the SA Power Network. Prices last checked on December 2019 and are subject to change. Always check the providers site before applying.

Name Product Rates Reference Price Estimated Quarterly Price Reference Price Desc Mobile More details
Origin Max Saver - Online Special
Green Electricity Guide rating
Origin Energy
Green Electricity Guide rating
Daily supply charge:
$0.85712/day

General usage rates:
$0.37983 to $0.40535/kWh

16% less

than the reference price

$386

Includes GST
With Origin Max Saver - Online Special, for a residential customer who consumes 4000 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the SA Power Networks network, the lowest annual cost is $1,542 which is 16% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
Origin Flexi
Green Electricity Guide rating
Origin Energy
Green Electricity Guide rating
Daily supply charge:
$0.85712/day

General usage rates:
$0.37983 to $0.40535/kWh

13% less

than the reference price

$399

Includes GST
With Origin Flexi, for a residential customer who consumes 4000 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the SA Power Networks network, the lowest annual cost is $1,597 which is 13% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
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The following price estimates are a general guide only. Estimated prices are based on a residential customer in Canberra, ACT who consumes 5499k kWh a year on a single rate tariff in the Evoenergy network and only one plan per provider is shown. Estimated prices include conditional discounts (if any). Any plans with special eligibility requirements are excluded. Prices last checked on December 2019 and are subject to change. Always check the providers site before applying.

Name Product _compare_ Rates Reference Price Estimated Quarterly Price Reference Price Desc Mobile More details
No items match the given criteria.
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Important: Providers may change or remove discounts at any time. Always check the provider's website for what discounts are available.

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