Victoria's energy market is highly competitive, giving consumers plenty of options for electricity and gas retailers.
There are over 20 electricity retailers and more than 10 gas providers selling energy to Victorians. Energy consumers in the state can compare plans and prices across these providers and potentially find a much better energy deal.
Search and compare energy providers in Victoria
How can I switch providers?
In a free energy market, electricity and gas providers offer all sorts of discounts and energy plans tailored to specific types of consumers. To switch providers, it really is as simple as:
- Finding a new energy provider.
- Contacting the new provider to arrange the switch.
Your energy flow should not be interrupted during the switching process, but you should always contact your old and new providers if you have any concerns.
Why should I consider switching energy providers?
Switching providers could save you serious cash, and it's easy to do. But you have to do your research to get the best possible plan and provider. Here's what you need to consider when comparing providers.
- Tariffs. Always look closely at the tariffs charged by various providers. Some tariffs are fixed while others are variable. Providers can and do raise tariffs, so check energy contracts carefully.
- Cooling-off periods. Check if your provider's energy plan includes a cooling-off period. Many plans are legally compelled to have a 10-day cooling-off period that allows you to cancel a plan free of charge.
- Termination fees. Some energy providers charge a fee when you terminate a contract before the end period. Early termination fees generally range from $40 to $100 and must be specified in your contract.
- Contract terms. When shopping for energy, check the contract terms carefully. Many providers automatically roll over your contract when it expires, for example, which can be convenient but may come with higher charges.
You might not even need to switch energy providers to get a better deal. It's always worth asking your existing provider if they are willing to match the better price you've found elsewhere. It never hurts to ask.
I heard electricity prices in Victoria will rise this year?
Victoria's electricity prices look set to rise this year. This is partly due to rising wholesale energy costs generally, but also because of the closure of the Hazelwood coal-fired power station. A rise of 8.4% is predicted for 2017/18 but this will be partly offset by an expected decrease of 1.3% in 2018/19.
What energy plans and deals are available for Victorian residents?
Before looking at energy plans, consider your needs. At what time of day do you use electricity and gas most? Do you value flexibility when it comes to payment or would a discount for paying on time benefit you more? Do you want a flat, simple fee structure with fixed payments or an energy provider who gives you options to monitor your energy consumption and buy energy in ways that suit your needs specifically?
Here are some common benefits found offered by competitive energy providers:
- Discounts. Providers routinely offer discounts for new customers. This alone can make switching worthwhile. But an introductory discount upfront might be balanced out with higher charges later on. 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 include discounts for paying on time or signing long-term contracts.
- Choice of plan. Many energy providers sell more than a single plan, and may even let you buy your energy at different rates. You might find that one plan is far better for you than others, depending on the discounts included and the way you use energy.
- Payment flexibility. Check if a provider lets you pay your bills in different ways. If you're worried about paying bills on time, flexible options can really help. Some providers let you purchase energy in advance, helping you control your spending and limiting bill shock.
- Energy tools. Many providers, particularly smaller newcomers, include a variety of apps and online tools that let consumers measure their energy consumption. Information is key: knowing more about your energy usage patterns can help you make better energy decisions in the future.
- Bundling. A provider may sell both gas and electricity and offer discounts on one or both if you bundle them together.
I have more questions about comparing energy providers in Victoria
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 finder's full GreenPower guide here.
What rebates are available for Victorian residents?
The state's department of Health and Human Services offers many rebates and concessions for eligible Victorians, usually those on low incomes or holders of valid concession cards. Rebates include:
- Winter Gas Concession
- Medical Cooling Concession
- Annual Electricity Concession (a year-round discount for residents with concession cards)
- Life Support Concession
What happens when I move states?
If you're moving to a different state your energy options may be quite different. NSW and the ACT have largely open energy markets, but if you're moving from Victoria to Tasmania or Western Australia you will find your options very limited.
Whichever state you live in, you should always notify your energy provider a few days before you move out.
What's the difference between an energy distributor and an energy provider?
Energy retailers sell electricity and gas which they purchase from energy distributors. They then deliver the energy using pre-existing grids and pipelines, which don’t belong to them but to the distributors.
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.