Shop around for electricity and gas plans from NSW energy providers. Learn what to look for and how to save.
In New South Wales there are three electricity distributors maintaining electricity grids in different parts of the state. Over 20 retail providers sell electricity from these grids to consumers. There are 6 gas distributors in NSW and 10 retail gas suppliers selling gas to consumers.
Energy customers in NSW are offered energy rebates if they hold a valid concession card.
Search and compare energy suppliers in NSW
How can I switch providers?
Energy in NSW is a free market. While your electricity and gas comes from the same network regardless, your choice of retail provider can make a noticeable difference to your energy bills. Switching providers is fairly simple, but there are a few things you should consider when shopping for a new provider:
- Early termination fees. Some energy providers charge a fee when you terminate a contract early. You should factor this in to your costs when switching providers. Early termination fees typically range from $40 to $100 and must be specified in your contract.
- Tariffs. Always compare your current tariffs with any new plan you're looking at. Note which tariffs are fixed and which are variable.
- Cooling-off periods. Check if a provider's energy plan comes with a cooling-off period. Many plans, by law, must have a 10-day cooling-off period that allows you to cancel a plan free of charge.
- Contract terms. When looking at a new energy plan, check the contract terms carefully. Some providers will automatically roll over your contract when it expires, which can be convenient, but may come with different costs.
Will electricity prices increase in NSW this year?
Electricity prises are set to rise across most Australian states in the next few years and NSW is no exception. While NSW prices are estimated to rise by a slender 0.9% in 2017/2018, this is expected to jump a further 6.9% in 2018/2019. This could increase average energy bills by $100 a year.
There are several reasons for the increase in electricity prices. These include:
- The closure of the Hazelwood power station in Victoria.
- Increased network maintenance costs.
- Greater investment in renewable energy and increased penalties for unclean energy production.
- Increased retail charges.
What kind of energy plans and deals are available in NSW?
One of the biggest advantages to switching providers is saving money. Like any other market, retail energy providers are competing for your dollars. While there is no single, best energy plan for everyone, here are some features and benefits you should look out for when energy shopping.
- Choice. Some energy providers offer more than a single energy product, and may even let you buy your energy at different rates at different prices. Powershop, for example, offers NSW consumers the option of buying their energy in advance instalments, with various discounts. Many providers offer a variety of plans, and you might find that one is far better for you than others.
- Flexible payment. Check to see how your provider lets you pay your bills. It might be possible to pay your bills in advance, or in flexible instalments. For some customers flexibility can often mean the difference between paying an energy bill on time or paying late and incurring a fee (it's also a good idea to compare fees for late bill payment).
- Discounts. Energy providers want your money and frequently offer discounts for new customers. This alone can make switching worthwhile, but it's a good idea to look for energy plans that extend discounts to customers beyond the early stages of a contract. You want to be rewarded for your loyalty. Some plans even include discounts for paying your bills on time.
- Bundling. If a provider allows you to bundle your gas and electricity they may offer a discount for doing so.
- Monitoring. Could an energy app help you save money? Some providers let you track your energy usage through their smartphone app. This could help you understand your energy usage patterns, giving you more information for your future energy purchases.
The best way to know if an energy deal is right for you is to know your needs. Some energy plans offer free energy at certain times of day, which can be useful if you're using energy at that time. If you have a busy house that's consistently using energy you might want a plan that charges a flat, all-day rate. If you're out working all day, this plan probably wouldn't suit you. If you work irregular hours, a plan with peak and off-peak pricing might be a great way to cut down on your power bills.
I have some more questions about comparing and switching energy providers
What are tariffs?
Energy providers charge their consumers for energy use using tariffs. There are various types of tariffs, including:
- Fixed. This is the daily charge for supplying energy to a house.
- Variable. The charge for the actual amount of energy you use.
There are many other types of tariff. Find a more detailed explanation here.
What is GreenPower?
GreenPower is a government scheme that allows consumers to purchase renewable energy through their provider. It is a way of displacing dirtier forms of energy and supporting renewable energy. Providers offering GreenPower must be accredited by the Australian government. Read our full GreenPower guide here.
What happens when I move states?
If you're moving to a different state your energy options may be quite different. NSW, along with Victoria and the ACT, has an open, deregulated energy market. This gives consumers plenty of options. But other states might not offer you any choices outside the sole provider for your region.
Regardless of the state you move to you should always notify your energy provider a few days beforehand. This way you can be sure you're not paying for energy in a house you're no longer living in.
What's the difference between an energy distributor and an energy provider?
Energy distributors maintain the grids and energy networks. They do not sell energy directly to consumers.
Energy providers buy energy from the distributors and sell it on to consumers.
What is a cooling-off period?
A cooling-off period is the time during which a customer can cancel an energy contract without any fee or penalty. In many cases the cooling-off period is 10 days, but not all plans include a cooling-off period.
What is a no lock-in contract?
No lock-in contracts allow you to switch providers freely without incurring a penalty or fee.
All energy providers get their energy from the same grids, and most of this energy is not carbon neutral. However, some providers will offset the carbon emissions from their energy. Some providers include this as standard, or offer it at no extra cost to the consumer.