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Energy plans for renters

Renting shouldn't mean settling for a terrible energy plan. Find out how to make the best of your move.

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Even though you're not in charge of the property when you're renting, you may still be in charge of your energy. This means that you can choose a plan that will deliver good value for the duration of your lease, and that you may even want to keep when it comes time to move.

Renters are in a bit of a unique position when it comes to energy, so we've broken down all the fees and questions involved when you're renting a property.

Who chooses my energy provider when I'm renting?

For the most part, renters are able to choose their energy provider just the same as someone who owns their property.

There are three exceptions to this. You probably won't get to pick your plan if:

  • You're not paying the bill directly. Sometimes the energy account will be in the name of your landlord or real estate agent. In this case, power costs are likely to be included in your rent and you won't have a say in the plan.
  • You've moved into an embedded network. An embedded network is a set-up where all the energy for a building is run through a centralised supply and dealt with collectively. We go into more detail on how embedded networks and renting works further down the page.
  • You're in a regulated market. Deregulated energy markets exist in most of Australia and allow for different energy providers to compete for your business. However, if you're moving into a regulated market like rural Queensland or WA, you won't be able to choose your provider.

Energy plans for renters

In charge of your own energy? As a renter, your living situation is usually a little less permanent than someone who owns their property. With that in mind, consider plans that have:

  • No exit fees/lock-in contracts. Your lease might be up or you could just be ready to move on to somewhere new. Either way, make sure you won't have to pay for the privilege of moving at short notice.
  • No connection or disconnection fees. Some plans waive the fees for hooking up the power at your new place and disconnecting it from your old place, handy for those who know they'll move in the future.
  • Low usage and supply rates. The above features are nice, but low usage and supply rates are always valuable. After all, saving a couple hundred dollars in connection fees isn't great if you're paying more than that on your energy bills.

Quickly compare energy plans in your state

Quickly get a price estimate below. Alternatively, use your bill and postcode to get a more accurate price estimate.

Here are some deals from retailers on our database that include either a link to the retailers website for more information or to a form from an energy broker to enquire for more information. Prices are based on a residential customer in NSW (Postcode: 2000) who consumes 3,900 kWh a year on a single rate tariff in the Ausgrid network. We show one plan per provider and the estimated price includes conditional discounts (if any). Any plans with special eligibility requirements are excluded from this list. Your actual bill may vary, depending on your usage. Always check the provider's site before applying.

Name Product Features Reference Price Estimated Quarterly Price Reference Price Description Reference Price Desc Mobile More details
Origin Max Saver - Online Special
Customer service rating
Origin Energy
Customer service rating
No exit fee
Ongoing contract with 12 months benefit period

19% less

than the reference price

$296

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 $1,184 which is 19% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
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 $1,184 which is 19% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
Total Plan Home
Customer service rating
EnergyAustralia
Customer service rating
No exit fee
Ongoing contract with 1 Year benefit period

17% less

than the reference price

$303

Includes GST
With Total Plan Home, for a residential customer who consumes 3900 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the Ausgrid network, the lowest annual cost is $1,212 which is 17% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
With Total Plan Home, for a residential customer who consumes 3900 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the Ausgrid network, the lowest annual cost is $1,212 which is 17% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
HomeDeal (Single Rate)
Customer service rating
Alinta Energy
Customer service rating
No exit fee
No lock-in

16% less

than the reference price

$308

Includes GST
With HomeDeal (Single Rate), for a residential customer who consumes 3900 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the Ausgrid network, the lowest annual cost is $1,232 which is 16% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
With HomeDeal (Single Rate), for a residential customer who consumes 3900 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the Ausgrid network, the lowest annual cost is $1,232 which is 16% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
Shopper Market Offer
Customer service rating
Powershop
Customer service rating
No exit fee
No lock-in

15% less

than the reference price

Further 5% off the reference price for Pre-payment.
$294

Includes GST and conditional discounts
Shopper Market Offer is 15% less than the reference price for a residential customer who consumes 3900 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the Ausgrid network. If you qualify for all discounts, the lowest annual cost is $1,176 (a further 5% below the reference price). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
Shopper Market Offer is 15% less than the reference price for a residential customer who consumes 3900 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the Ausgrid network. If you qualify for all discounts, the lowest annual cost is $1,176 (a further 5% below the reference price). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
Kogan Energy Market Offer
No exit fee
No lock-in

25% less

than the reference price

$274

Includes GST
With Kogan Energy Market Offer, for a residential customer who consumes 3900 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the Ausgrid network, the lowest annual cost is $1,096 which is 25% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
With Kogan Energy Market Offer, for a residential customer who consumes 3900 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the Ausgrid network, the lowest annual cost is $1,096 which is 25% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
ReAmped Advance | Anytime
Customer service rating
ReAmped Energy
Customer service rating
No exit fee
No lock-in

28% less

than the reference price

$265

Includes GST
With ReAmped Advance | Anytime, for a residential customer who consumes 3900 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the Ausgrid network, the lowest annual cost is $1,060 which is 28% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
With ReAmped Advance | Anytime, for a residential customer who consumes 3900 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the Ausgrid network, the lowest annual cost is $1,060 which is 28% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
The One Plan
No exit fee
No lock-in

24% less

than the reference price

$278

Includes GST
With The One Plan, for a residential customer who consumes 3900 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the Ausgrid network, the lowest annual cost is $1,112 which is 24% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
With The One Plan, for a residential customer who consumes 3900 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the Ausgrid network, the lowest annual cost is $1,112 which is 24% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
Residential Market
Customer service rating
Dodo Power & Gas
Customer service rating
No exit fee
No lock-in

18% less

than the reference price

$301

Includes GST
With Residential Market, for a residential customer who consumes 3900 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the Ausgrid network, the lowest annual cost is $1,204 which is 18% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
With Residential Market, for a residential customer who consumes 3900 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the Ausgrid network, the lowest annual cost is $1,204 which is 18% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
1st Saver - Single Rate
Customer service rating
1st Energy
Customer service rating
No exit fee
Ongoing contract with Ongoing benefit period

13% less

than the reference price

$316

Includes GST
With 1st Saver - Single Rate, for a residential customer who consumes 3900 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the Ausgrid network, the lowest annual cost is $1,264 which is 13% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
With 1st Saver - Single Rate, for a residential customer who consumes 3900 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the Ausgrid network, the lowest annual cost is $1,264 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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Compare up to 4 providers

Here are some deals from retailers on our database that include either a link to the retailers website for more information or to a form from an energy broker to enquire for more information. Prices are based on a residential customer in Melbourne, Victoria (Postcode: 3000) who consumes 4,000 kWh a year on a single rate tariff in the CitiPower network. We show one plan per provider and the estimated price includes conditional discounts (if any). Any plans with special eligibility requirements are excluded from this list. Your actual bill may vary, depending on your usage. Always check the provider's site before applying.

Name Product Features Reference Price Estimated Quarterly Price Reference Price Description Reference Price Desc Mobile More details
Origin Max Saver - Online Special (Single Rate)
Customer service rating
Origin Energy
Customer service rating
No lock-in

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 $1,264 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.
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 $1,264 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.
HomeDeal
Customer service rating
Alinta Energy
Customer service rating
No lock-in

14% less

than Victorian Default Offer

$305

Includes GST
With HomeDeal, for a residential customer who consumes 4000 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the CitiPower network, the lowest annual cost is $1,220 which is 14% less than the Victorian Default Offer (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
With HomeDeal, for a residential customer who consumes 4000 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the CitiPower network, the lowest annual cost is $1,220 which is 14% less than the Victorian Default Offer (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
Total Plan Home - Peak Only
Customer service rating
EnergyAustralia
Customer service rating
1

11% less

than Victorian Default Offer

$316

Includes GST
With Total Plan Home - Peak Only, for a residential customer who consumes 4000 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the CitiPower network, the lowest annual cost is $1,264 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.
With Total Plan Home - Peak Only, for a residential customer who consumes 4000 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the CitiPower network, the lowest annual cost is $1,264 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.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Here are some deals from retailers on our database that include either a link to the retailers website for more information or to a form from an energy broker to enquire for more information. Prices are based on a residential customer in Brisbane (Postcode: 4000) who consumes 4,600 kWh a year on a single rate tariff in the Energex network. We show one plan per provider and the estimated price includes conditional discounts (if any). Any plans with special eligibility requirements are excluded from this list. Your actual bill may vary, depending on your usage. Always check the provider's site before applying.

Name Product Features Reference Price Estimated Quarterly Price Reference Price Description Reference Price Desc Mobile More details
Origin Max Saver - Online Special
Customer service rating
Origin Energy
Customer service rating
No exit fee
Ongoing contract with 12 months benefit period

12% less

than the reference price

$332

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 $1,328 which is 12% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
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 $1,328 which is 12% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
Total Plan Home
Customer service rating
EnergyAustralia
Customer service rating
No exit fee
Ongoing contract with 1 Year benefit period

13% less

than the reference price

$328

Includes GST
With Total Plan Home, for a residential customer who consumes 4600 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the Energex network, the lowest annual cost is $1,312 which is 13% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
With Total Plan Home, for a residential customer who consumes 4600 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the Energex network, the lowest annual cost is $1,312 which is 13% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
Shopper Market Offer
Customer service rating
Powershop
Customer service rating
No exit fee
No lock-in

9% less

than the reference price

Further 5% off the reference price for Pre-payment.
$321

Includes GST and conditional discounts
Shopper Market Offer is 9% less than the reference price for a residential customer who consumes 4600 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the Energex network. If you qualify for all discounts, the lowest annual cost is $1,284 (a further 5% below the reference price). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
Shopper Market Offer is 9% less than the reference price for a residential customer who consumes 4600 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the Energex network. If you qualify for all discounts, the lowest annual cost is $1,284 (a further 5% below the reference price). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
The One Plan
No exit fee
No lock-in

17% less

than the reference price

$312

Includes GST
With The One Plan, for a residential customer who consumes 4600 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the Energex network, the lowest annual cost is $1,248 which is 17% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
With The One Plan, for a residential customer who consumes 4600 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the Energex network, the lowest annual cost is $1,248 which is 17% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
Kogan Energy Market Offer
No exit fee
No lock-in

24% less

than the reference price

$285

Includes GST
With Kogan Energy Market Offer, for a residential customer who consumes 4600 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the Energex network, the lowest annual cost is $1,140 which is 24% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
With Kogan Energy Market Offer, for a residential customer who consumes 4600 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the Energex network, the lowest annual cost is $1,140 which is 24% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
1st Saver - Single Rate
Customer service rating
1st Energy
Customer service rating
No exit fee
Ongoing contract with Ongoing benefit period

13% less

than the reference price

$330

Includes GST
With 1st Saver - Single Rate, for a residential customer who consumes 4600 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the Energex network, the lowest annual cost is $1,320 which is 13% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
With 1st Saver - Single Rate, for a residential customer who consumes 4600 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the Energex network, the lowest annual cost is $1,320 which is 13% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
ReAmped Handshake | Anytime
Customer service rating
ReAmped Energy
Customer service rating
No exit fee
No lock-in

21% less

than the reference price

$298

Includes GST
With ReAmped Handshake | Anytime, for a residential customer who consumes 4600 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the Energex network, the lowest annual cost is $1,192 which is 21% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
With ReAmped Handshake | Anytime, for a residential customer who consumes 4600 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the Energex network, the lowest annual cost is $1,192 which is 21% 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

Here are some deals from retailers on our database that include either a link to the retailers website for more information or to a form from an energy broker to enquire for more information. Prices are based on a residential customer in Adelaide, South Australia (Postcode: 5000) who consumes 4,000 kWh a year on a single rate tariff in the SA Power Network. We show one plan per provider and the estimated price includes conditional discounts (if any). Any plans with special eligibility requirements are excluded from this list. Your actual bill may vary, depending on your usage. Always check the provider's site before applying.

Name Product Features Reference Price Estimated Quarterly Price Reference Price Description Reference Price Desc Mobile More details
Origin Max Saver - Online Special
Customer service rating
Origin Energy
Customer service rating
No exit fee
Ongoing contract with 12 months benefit period

15% less

than the reference price

$389

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 $1,556 which is 15% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
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 $1,556 which is 15% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
Shopper Market Offer
Customer service rating
Powershop
Customer service rating
No exit fee
No lock-in

13% less

than the reference price

Further 5% off the reference price for Pre-payment.
$374

Includes GST and conditional discounts
Shopper Market Offer is 13% less than the reference price for a residential customer who consumes 4000 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the SA Power Networks network. If you qualify for all discounts, the lowest annual cost is $1,496 (a further 5% below the reference price). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
Shopper Market Offer is 13% less than the reference price for a residential customer who consumes 4000 kwh a year on a flat rate tariff in the SA Power Networks network. If you qualify for all discounts, the lowest annual cost is $1,496 (a further 5% below the reference price). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
ReAmped Advance | Anytime
Customer service rating
ReAmped Energy
Customer service rating
No exit fee
No lock-in

23% less

than the reference price

$351

Includes GST
With ReAmped Advance | Anytime, 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 $1,404 which is 23% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
With ReAmped Advance | Anytime, 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 $1,404 which is 23% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
The One Plan
No exit fee
No lock-in

21% less

than the reference price

$364

Includes GST
With The One Plan, 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 $1,456 which is 21% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
With The One Plan, 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 $1,456 which is 21% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
Kogan Energy Market Offer
No exit fee
No lock-in

20% less

than the reference price

$368

Includes GST
With Kogan Energy Market Offer, 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 $1,472 which is 20% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
With Kogan Energy Market Offer, 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 $1,472 which is 20% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
No Fuss (Single Rate)
Customer service rating
Alinta Energy
Customer service rating
No exit fee
No lock-in

4% less

than the reference price

$441

Includes GST
With No Fuss (Single Rate), 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 $1,764 which is 4% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
With No Fuss (Single Rate), 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 $1,764 which is 4% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
No Frills
Customer service rating
EnergyAustralia
Customer service rating
No exit fee
Ongoing contract with 1 Year benefit period

5% less

than the reference price

$433

Includes GST
With No Frills, 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 $1,732 which is 5% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
With No Frills, 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 $1,732 which is 5% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
Lumo Plus
Customer service rating
Lumo Energy (SA)
Customer service rating
No exit fee
No lock-in

8% less

than the reference price

$423

Includes GST
With Lumo Plus, 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 $1,692 which is 8% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
With Lumo Plus, 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 $1,692 which is 8% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
Residential Market
Customer service rating
Dodo Power & Gas
Customer service rating
No exit fee
No lock-in

3% less

than the reference price

$445

Includes GST
With Residential Market, 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 $1,780 which is 3% less than the reference price (including any discounts). Your actual bill will differ, based on your actual usage and tariff type.
With Residential Market, 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 $1,780 which is 3% 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

Which providers have special plans designed for renters?

There are two providers that have plans that waive connection and/or disconnection fees: Lumo Energy and Momentum Energy.

  • Lumo Movers. Available in VIC and SA. Offers variable rate electricity with a no lock-in contract. Does not charge you any connection or disconnection fees if you stay with Lumo Movers at your new address. Otherwise, if you switch to a new plan, you'll be charged a disconnection fee.
  • Momentum Move Mates. Available in VIC only. Provides variable rate electricity with a no lock-in contract. If you're moving into a property on a Move Mates plan, you won't have to pay any connection fees, and you can get connected by the next business day.

How good are these plans really compared to a regular low rate plan? Assuming you move about once every year, here's how your energy bill might look on the Lumo Movers plan compared to something cheap and simple like the One Plan from OVO Energy.

Plan (Provider)Lumo Movers (Lumo Energy)The One Plan (OVO Energy)
Supply rate115.49c/day90.42c/day
Usage rate20.33c/kWh21.01c/kWh
Annual power usage6,000 kWh6,000 kWh
Connection/disconnection fees (Citipower)$0$84.21 ($41.79 connection + $42.42 disconnection)
Total usage and supply costs$421.54 (supply) + $1,219.80 (usage) = $1,641.34$330.03 (supply) + $1,260.60 (usage) = $1,590.63
Total energy bill$1,641.34$1,674.84

Note: Data last checked in September 2020.

As you can see, the amount you'd save on the Lumo Movers plan isn't huge compared to the overall bill, but it's also not zero. If you're moving more frequently during the year, the mover plan will provide significantly better value.

What do I need to consider when moving to a new property?

When moving into a new home where you're in charge of the energy bills, there are a few questions to consider.

Is a smart meter installed?

Smart meters are handy, so if there's one already set up at the property, you can take advantage of plans and features that rely upon them. If a smart meter is not installed, don't worry about it. You should never have to pay for smart meter installation – that will be dealt with by the owner.

What if the property has solar panels?

This may involve having a discussion with the owner. When you pick an energy plan, there will likely be some solar feed in tariffs involved for excess energy returned to the power grid. The owner may decide that they want control over these, so sort it out before moving in.

How much notice do I need to give to my provider?

Generally, a provider will only need five days or so to get everything set up. However, you should inform your provider (both new and old, if you're switching) of the date that you're moving as soon as you know. This will ensure that everything transitions over smoothly.

Do I have to pay for electricity in an apartment?

Usually yes, as long as the apartments are separately metered. Most apartment dwellers will be able to select their energy provider the same way as anybody else, provided that the distributor has easy access to the energy meter. The main exception is embedded networks, described below.

If your distributor can't access your meter, they may charge you based on estimated usage, instead. To avoid this, arrange for easier meter access or submit manual reads online or over the phone.

What if I'm moving into an embedded network?

Unlike most residents of apartment buildings, you won't get any say over your energy provider in an embedded network. In an embedded network, instead of each unit being connected to a separate energy circuit and meter, they are connected to a centralised power network for the whole building.

This network is then connected to the electricity grid, with all power to the building provided by the retailer who services the building. In theory, this allows buildings to negotiate cheaper power rates by buying it in bulk, but it leaves renters without any control over their energy plan.

Legally, you are still allowed to choose your own retailer even in an embedded network, but in practice, you may find that it's difficult and ends up being more expensive anyway.

Up next: Best energy providers in Australia

Image: Getty Images

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