Many Australians are paying more than they should for gas. With plenty of options for most Australian gas consumers, we recommend shopping around. To help you, we’ve compared gas plans and providers in different states. Once you've chosen the right plan for you, we'll walk you through the steps to switch providers.
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Compare gas providers in your state to find a plan and a price that works for you. Next, transfer your gas from your existing company to your new company. This can usually be done online in a matter of minutes.
You’ll need a few bits of basic information in order to get an accurate quote. Make sure you have the following:
- Your postcode or suburb
- Your type of property: residential or business
- Details of your current provider
- A copy of your latest bill
It’s worth having a few old bills if you can, so you can get a full understanding of how you use your gas supply at different times during the year.
What happens after I switch?
The gas will still be supplied to your home exactly the same, there will be no down period or need for re-installation or anything else. All that happens is somewhere your account is transferred from one company to another.
There are many things to consider when selecting a new gas provider and plan. The better informed you are, the better equipped you'll be when it comes to choosing the best plan for you.
- Tariffs. This may be the most important consideration when deciding on a plan or provider. Tariffs govern how much your gas bill will eventually cost, including the price for every litre or megajoule of gas you use.
- Discounts. Many retailers offer discounts. Discounts may be applied if you pay your bill on time or early, and they can be worth considering at around 15% of your bill.
- Billing period and payment options. Your bill may need to be paid monthly, bimonthly or quarterly. This may seem incidental, but it could be very important depending on how often you get paid and your own budgeting. Aside from the billing period, it may also be good to consider which payment options your retailer provides: BPAY, direct debit, cheque, etc.
- Other incentives. Some retailers provide their customers with bonus incentives such as frequent flyer points or discounts at stores.
What if I have a complaint with my provider?
Common problems customers have with their gas bills include the meter being incorrect or the meter being read incorrectly. The first step to rectifying an issue is to contact your provider directly. If you look at your latest energy bill, there should be a contact number for your provider. If it's unable to resolve your issue, it may be necessary to contact your state energy ombudsman. Before describing your issue to your ombudsman, make sure to compile as many details as you can: your name/age/address, your energy provider, plan details and a concise description of the issue.
There are several ways your gas bill will be put together depending on which tariff you’re on or which plan you decide to go with. There are two basic types of charges: the fixed charge and the usage charge.
The fixed charge is a daily amount you get charged by the supplier for providing the gas to your home or business, it's agreed on before you sign the contract and doesn’t vary depending on use. The usage charge is added on top of the fixed charge for how much gas you use. This is calculated in cents per megajoule (c/MJ). There are several types of usage charges, depending on your gas plan. Potential usage charges include the following:
- Single rate. This is charged at a single rate for usage no matter what time of day it is used.
- Off-peak rate. This charges different rates for peak and off-peak usage, typically day and overnight.
- Block rate. Usage is divided into blocks and you're only charged for the number of blocks you use.
We’ve listed a few common additional charges to check below so you don’t get hit with anything unforeseen.
- Establishment fee. Some providers will charge this to new customers for setting up the service.
- Termination fee. The reverse, charged if you leave or cancel your tariff.
- Processing fee. This can be charged as a small fee on certain credit cards.
- Late payment fee. This applies if you miss a payment or are late on a payment.
What happens if I can't pay my bill?If you're unable to pay your bill or are entering a situation when you soon won't be able to pay your bill, then get in touch with your retailer as early as possible. Your retailer may be able to give you an extension or set up a personalised payment plan that takes your financial situation into account.
About half of Australian homes rely on natural gas as a source of energy. These are predominantly in VIC, NSW and the ACT. Natural gas is generated from organic matter that was initially plants or animals that had been buried. Through heat and pressure forces over hundreds of millions of years, these organic chemicals were compressed to form inorganic fuels. This is where the name "fossil fuel" comes from, it's literally a type of fossil. The gas we use mostly consists of methane, it's colourless and odourless. If you’ve ever smelled gas in your home, that smell is actually added to make it easier to detect.
Natural gas is considered a more environmentally friendly fuel because it releases about half of the carbon that burning coal releases. However, it isn't as good for the environment as solar, wind or hydroelectric. If the environment is your number one concern, check out our comprehensive guide to going solar.
Once you've compared providers, checked out the prices and picked the plan that offers what you want, you can switch to your new energy provider.
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