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Sapped and stressed: Energy worry up 40% as electricity prices bite

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Electricity bill

Energy-bill stress is skyrocketing as the energy crisis takes hold, according to new research by Finder.

Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker shows energy-bill stress ballooned this month, with 28% of Aussies – equivalent to 5.4 million people – placing their energy bill in their top 3 most stressful expenses.

That's up from 20% in May – a 40% increase in just a month.

There's no reprieve in sight with a spike in wholesale electricity prices coinciding with the winter demand surge.

The electricity market is in turmoil with smaller energy companies going into voluntary administration or urging customers to move to another retailer as soon as possible to protect them from massive rate hikes.

Australians are paying on average $322 on their quarterly electricity bill – $1,288 a year.

Mariam Gabaji, energy expert at Finder, said a growing number of Australians could face energy bills they can't afford.

"Bills have already increased this year and it is only set to become a bigger problem for households across Australia.

"Rising energy prices and higher interest rates squeezing budgets, together with the winter energy surge could be the perfect storm.

"Vulnerable households are doing what they can to offset the increases – but with prices forecast to spike even further, there are little cost-saving measures left for them to try," Gabaji said.

As of July 2022, default market offer (DMO) prices are set to increase by as much as 18.3% in New South Wales, 12.6% in southeast Queensland and 9.5% in South Australia.

This could raise the average quarterly energy bill in New South Wales by as much as $63. In Southeast Queensland and South Australia, the potential increases could be as high as $36 and $34.

Gabaji said now is the time to consider switching energy providers.

"Finding a cheaper deal with another energy supplier could cushion the forecasted bill shock.

"Unless you can lock in a fixed rate energy plan before 1 July, it's best to wait until after to switch your energy provider. This is when retailers would have updated their plans and prices and you'll have a clearer picture of what your energy bills could look like," she said.

Between the generations, baby boomers are spending the least on energy ($274), while generation Z are shelling out the most ($340).

Finder app users who compare and switch their energy providers can get up to $100 credit ($50 for electricity, $50 for gas) in their Finder Wallet (available until 30 June).

For more energy and electricity stats, visit Finder's Energy Statistics page.

Energy bill forecast

StateNominal increase in DMO energy pricesCurrently quarterly energy billProjected new quarterly energy bill
New South Wales8.5% - 18.3%$342$371 - $405
Southeast Qld11.3% - 12.6%$288$321 - $324
South Australia7.2% - 9.5%$354$379 - $388
Source: Finder Consumer Sentiment Tracker average based on the past 12 months, DMO

For more information on the energy crisis and practical ways to save on your energy bill, visit https://www.finder.com.au/app/energy-crisis-explainer-app.

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