Beyond the basics: your essential checklist for a Tasmanian energy provider
Not sure if your energy provider meets your needs? We've put together a checklist to help you find the best fit for your household.
Once you've selected an energy provider, it's very easy to let your plan sit in set-and-forget mode.
However, it's important to do a periodic check-in and ask yourself some key questions to ensure you're getting good value for money.
To give you a hand, we've put together a checklist to help you decide if you need to switch.
☐ Is your "local" provider actually local?
"Shopping local" is important to many Tasmanians, and the energy market is no exception.
Buying locally gives back to the economy and encourages further development for local infrastructure.
That's why it's worth looking for a locally-owned energy provider, rather than one that simply has local operations.
As an example, Aurora Energy is a Tasmanian-owned and operated energy provider. Because it's not owned by an outside party, choosing them will give you the opportunity to reinvest in the Tasmanian economy.
☐ Does your provider offer long-term stability?
With Elysian Energy going out of business last year, it's not really surprising that stability has grown in importance for Australian customers.
"Stability" encompasses a number of different things when it comes to an energy company. Let's take a look at some of them:
- The company should have a history of good customer relations and high-quality service.
- It's worth checking to see whether the company has reliable backing (e.g. a government body).
- There shouldn't be any unexpected or drastic changes in price (more on that in just a moment).
With elements like this in place, you can have confidence that you're going to get the service you need.
☐ Does it offer fixed rates or variable rates?
Both fixed and variable rates offer their own sets of pros and cons.
Variable rates can sometimes be cheaper, but there's also the potential for significant price fluctuation during the lifespan of your contract. In turn, this means you can end up paying more unless you switch plans when you're notified of a price increase.
By contrast, fixed rates such as those offered by Aurora Energy may be a couple of cents more expensive (though this isn't always the case) but they can allow you to stabilise your energy expenses.
Aurora Energy's prices can only change once per year – on July 1st – as they are regulated.
This way you're able to have a clearer picture of what your expenses are likely to be and budget accordingly.
☐ Are you getting a good deal on your solar tariff?
If your home is powered by solar power, are you actually getting the best deal for it?
Many energy providers encourage customers to feed their energy back into the grid to earn tariffs.
This can be a tidy little earner for some Tasmanians.
But in some instances, it can actually be better to use the energy yourself, rather than to opt for the feed-in tariff. This is because the tariff doesn't always have parity with what you'd be paying as part of your bill.
The aurora+ app allows you to see the value of what you generate every day against your bill balance. You can track your usage (in $ and kWh) which can help you to budget for your bill before it arrives.
Accordingly, you can then make decisions about whether you're better off feeding into the wider power supply, or simply using it yourself.
☐ What sort of flexibility does your plan offer?
Flexible plans have become much more common in the energy space, but they're not necessarily the default.
Prices, markets and your personal circumstances can all change quite rapidly. So it's always worth looking for an energy provider that offers flexibility in its plans.
Aurora Energy allows you to easily switch to a new plan for a small fee.
☐ Do you have visibility on your energy consumption?
To look for ways to cut back on your energy bill, it's important that you know how much you're actually using in the first place.
Although you get a breakdown of your energy consumption on your bill, it can be really helpful to get a more regular breakdown.
This way, you're able to better track your usage and adjust it accordingly.
Some energy providers allow you to get daily updates via an app. For example, Aurora Energy offers aurora+, which allows you to see how much power you're using, and the times you're using it most.
If you're on a Time of Use plan with different charges for peak and off-peak times, having better insight into your energy consumption will help you adjust when you use major appliances. You can choose to avoid using power-hungry devices at more expensive times.
This way, you can save on costs in the long run.
Even if you're not on a Time of Use plan because you're unable to take advantage of off-peak rates, having real-time access to your energy consumption can still help you make informed decisions about how you use electricity moving forward.
☐ Does it offer customer support programs?
It's important to know that your energy provider can offer assistance in a variety of different scenarios.
Questions about bills, outages in your area, hardship arrangements, updating your connections… these are just a few of the situations that can arise.
So make sure you find out what sort of customer support is available.
As an example, Aurora Energy offers online, app and phone-based support.
Customers can even set up a payment plan in the app without needing to directly speak to someone.
So no matter what else is going on, you'll be able to get the assistance you need.