Imagine you can compare gas providers like an expert. Follow these steps to get there.
So we’re heading into winter now and the temperatures are about to starting dropping down a few degrees. That means that central heating systems across Australia will start clanging back to life and the morning hot showers start to become a few minutes longer each day. That said, no matter what time of year it is, it is always good to consider whether you’re getting the best deal available on your gas supply. There is lots of competition for gas suppliers in Australia and, as always, a lot of competition means a lot of good value for consumers. So here we’ve compiled a handy guide for how to shop around for better deals on gas and how to switch when you find one.
Search and compare energy suppliers
Complete the form with some details about your residential or business electricity and gas needs and you'll be contacted by a consultant for an obligation-free discussion about your options.The consultant will work with you to compare a range of energy suppliers in your area.You may also receive a quote from the below providers.
How to save using finder.com.au
|If you would like to discuss your options or to see if you can find a better deal, fill in the form above to get in touch with an energy consultant. Your energy consultant will help you determine your next steps.||Have a copy of your existing energy bill ready. You'll also need to tell your energy consultant about any solar powers panels you may have.||If you're happy with what your energy consultant has presented to you, they will help you facilitate your switch, so you can start saving money.|
How do I switch gas providers?
Switching gas providers almost couldn’t be easier. First, have a read through our guides or visit some of our partner gas comparison sites to find a price and a deal that works for you. Then agree to transfer your gas from your existing company to your new company, which can usually be done online in a matter of minutes. And that’s it. Turn on the heating and enjoy a hot shower even more knowing it is costing you last than it did the day before.Back to top
What do I need to switch gas providers?
Even if you’re happy with your current gas supply, or don’t think that you use it enough to save serious money, it’s still worth having a look around for a better price. Now, before you start looking you’ll need a few bits of basic information, in order to get an accurate quote. Make sure that you've at least got:
- Your postcode or suburb.
- 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, as I mentioned above gas usage varies greatly from summer to winter, so try to make your usage estimate based on your peak usage time and don’t get caught short.Back to top
What happens after I switch?
Basically nothing. 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. That’s it. So if you’re worried about the practicalities of switching gas, don’t be, because there aren’t any.Back to top
How to compare gas providers?
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 billing period, it may also be good to consider which payment options your retailer provide: BPAY, direct debit, check, etc.
- Other incentives — Some retailer provide their customers with bonus incentives such as frequent flyer points or discounts at stores.
There are lots of different companies all fighting to be the one who supplies you your gas, and though this may sound a little weird, it is actually great, because the intense competition forces the prices down. The easiest way to compare gas providers is online. Simply grab your information, enter it into a gas comparison site (like one of the ones featured here on finder.com.au) and start saving.Back to top
How am I charged for gas?
There are several ways that your gas bill will be put together depending on which tariff you’re on or which plan you decide to go with. First of all there are two basic types of charge.
- The fixed charge — This is a daily amount that you get charged by the supplier for providing the gas to your home or business, it doesn’t vary dependent on use and will be agreed on before you sign the contract.
- The usage charge — This is charged on top of the fixed charge for how much gas you use. This is calculated in cents per megajoule (c/MJ).
Now, the fixed charge won’t change much, but there are certain other options with the usage charge, depending on the plan you agree on. These are as follows:
- 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 are only charged for the amount of blocks you use.
- Feed in — This is actually a payment and not a charge. It is paid to people who generate their own power, usually through solar panels, and produce more energy than they need, so begin selling it back to the grid.
Are there any other charges?
There can be. While price of the gas will most likely be the dealbreaker for you, there are a few other things to consider when choosing a supplier. We’ve listed a few common additional charges to check below so that 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 — Charged if you miss or are late on a payment.
What happens if I can't pay my bill?
If you are unable to pay your bill, or are entering a situation when you soon will not be able to pay your bill, then get in touch with your retailer as early as possible. Your retailer can give you an extension or set up a personalised payment plan that takes your financial situation into account. If you have informed your provider of your situation, they must provide a payment plan for you, as it is part of the Energy Retail Code. Alternatively, if you foresee that you may be unable to pay your bill, you can request a shorter billing period from your provider. That way the sum will be more frequent but less, and thus easier to incorporate into your budget.Back to top
What is natural gas?
Good question. 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 is literally a type of fossil. Natural gas has been used as a fuel for over a hundred years. The gas that we use mostly consists of methane, it is colourless and odorless, if you’ve ever smelled gas in your home, that smell is actually added to make it easier to detect. About half of Australian homes rely on natural gas as a source of energy. These are predominantly in VIC, NSW, and the ACT.
Is gas environmentally friendly?
Yes and no. Natural gas is considered an environmentally friendly fuel because it releases about half of the carbon that burning coal releases. However, it is not as good for the environment as solar, wind or hydroelectric, so if the environment is your number one concern then look for companies that source power from these sources. Origin Energy now offers 'Green Gas', whereby Origin offsets some of your carbon emissions by contributing energy from sustainable sources into the system.
What is natural gas used for around the home?
Natural gas is used for multiple purposes around the house. It is used for cooking, where it provides fine control over heating. Gas-powered heaters are also used to heat rooms, also known as 'space heaters'. Gas is used to heat up water in a house's boiler or water heater — this water is then used for showering, washing up, washing clothes etc. Some fireplaces are also fuelled by gas. There are even gas-powered clothes dryers!
How can I reduce my gas use around the home?
Newer gas appliances will have an energy rating system with familiar energy efficiency stars, but blue rather than red. When selecting which product to purchase, take these stars into consideration to reduce your ultimate gas usage.
- Heating Since gas is often used for heating, many general heating tips are applicable here, too.
- Water Water saving shower heads can help you save water (and having to heat water up).
- General For more general tips, you can view our complete list of energy saving tips, here.
How many gas distributors are there?
There are just 10 gas suppliers in the whole of Australia. The different states are serviced by them as follows:
|VIC||Envestra, Multinet gas, SPI Networks, ActewAGL|
|NSW||ActewAGL, Country Energy, Envestra, AGL|
|TAS||Tas Gas Networks|
What do I do if I have a complaint with my provider?
Complaints with energy providers do occur, and often the answers are simple: the meter is reading wrong, or the meter was read wrong. A good first step to rectifying an issue is to contact your provider directly. If you look at your latest energy bill, there should be a number to contact your provider on. If they are 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 and plan, and a concise description of the issue. More likely than not, your ombudsman can resolve your issue.
So that’s it?
Those are the basics. Now, switching providers from here is really easy. Have a look through our provider guides, check out the prices on offer and pick the one that offers you the most of what you want.
Frequently asked questions
What are gas heaters, and which are the best?
Gas heaters are room or space heaters that heat up the immediate room they are in. There are many varieties, and there is no 'best' one. You should select a heater that is best suited to your room size. Here is a handy rule of thumb from ELGAS.com.au —
- Very Cold Zone: 1kW output required for each 8.5 m²
- Cold Zone: 1 kW output required for each 10 m²
- Cool Zone: 1kW output required for each 13 m²
- Mild Zone: 1kW output required for each 16 m²