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Exclusive: Energy providers are charging up to $800+ a year more

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Power prices are surging across the east cost and more price pain could follow as an El Nino weather system brings higher demand for energy in the summer.

Finder's research exclusively reveals that some energy providers are charging over $800 more a year after the recent price rises.

We did a deep dive to see how energy providers have reacted to rising power prices in states that have been impacted the worst including NSW, VIC, southeast QLD and SA. The biggest increase of the lot was in SA.

We compared annual price estimates for electricity plans between 30 June 2023 and 17 July 2023 for a 2-3 person household on a single rate tariff. We used the same postcode for each provider per state.

Our analysis follows changes to the benchmark pricing set across the 4 states by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) and the Essential Services Commission for VIC. The benchmark pricing is there to help households compare energy plans.

Here's what we found as we looked at prices for 7 energy providers per state, using a single plan as an example.

NSW electricity price changes

NSW bill estimates for the year saw an increase of 15-36%.

ProviderPlanPrice on 30 June 2023Price in July 2023Price difference
AGLResidential Basics$1,515$1,826$311 (21%)
Alinta EnergyHomeDeal$1,423$1,770$347 (24%)
Origin EnergyOrigin Go Vairable$1,424$1,643$219 (15%)
Red EnergyRed Fixed Saver$1,502$1,816$314 (21%)
Simply EnergySimply Energy Saver$1,379$1,661$282 (20%)
Sumo EnergySumo Assure$1,332$1,743$411 (31%)
PowershopPowershop 100% Carbon Neutral$1,341$1,761$420 (31%)

Compare NSW electricity plans

VIC electricity price changes

In VIC, prices were bumped by 22-31%.

ProviderPlanPrice on 30 June 2023Price in July 2023Price difference
AGLResidential Basics$1,351$1,718$367 (27%)
Alinta EnergyHomeDeal$1,270$1,615$345 (27%)
Origin EnergyOrigin Go Variable$1,068$1,358$290 (27%)
Red EnergyLiving Energy Saver$1,298$1,694$396 (31%)
Simply EnergySimply Movie Perks$1,283$1,581$298 (23%)
PowershopPowershop 100% Carbon Neutral$1,341$1,631$290 (22%)
Lumo EnergyLumo Plus$1,279$1,650$371 (29%)

Compare VIC electricity plans

SA electricity price changes

For SA, annual estimates for residential households saw a jump between 22-63%.

ProviderPlanPrice on 30 June 2023Price in July 2023Price difference
AGLResidential Basics$1,844$2,278$434 (24%)
Alinta EnergyHomeDeal$1,732$2,277$545 (31%)
Origin EnergyOrigin Go Vairable$1,733$2,118$385 (22%)
Simply EnergySimply Energy Saver$1,908$2,271$363 (19%)
Sumo EnergySumo Lite Residential$1,844$2,279$435 (24%)
PowershopPowershop 100% Carbon Neutral$1,341$2,188$847 (63%)
Diamond EnergyEveryday Renewable Saver$1,843$2,273$430 (23%)

Compare SA electricity plans

QLD electricity price changes

In QLD, annual price estimates rose by 8-41%.

ProviderPlanPrice on 30 June 2023Price in July 2023Price difference
AGLResidential Basics$1,623$1,968$345 (21%)
Alinta EnergyHomeDeal$1,525$1,850$325 (21%)
Origin EnergyOrigin Go Variable$1,542$1,869$327 (21%)
Simply EnergySimply Members$1,623$1,869$246 (15%)
PowershopPowershop 100% Carbon Neutral$1,341$1,889$548 (41%)
Diamond EnergyEveryday Renewable Saver$1,622$1,959$337 (21%)
Energy LocalsLocal Member$1,461$,1,579$118 (8%)

Compare QLD electricity plans

More price hikes on the way from EnergyAustralia

Energy providers, including EnergyAustralia, that didn't throw in price changes on 1 July will roll them out from 1 August instead.

EnergyAustralia residential customers on variable rate electricity plans will see an increase of 5.5% to 18.9% depending on where they live.

NSW: 14.9% increase ($312 a year extra)
VIC: 5.5% increase ($111 a year extra)
QLD: 18.9% increase ($367 a year extra)
SA: 14.9% increase ($312 a year extra)
ACT: 13.3% increase ($259 a year extra)

Finder's own energy writer received an email from EnergyAustralia saying their new plan prices would be 11% more than the reference price. This would result in around an increase of $290 per year.

You shouldn't be paying more than the reference price (NSW, SA, QLD) which is also known as the Victorian Default Offer in VIC. Compare energy plans to get on a cheaper deal.

Why wholesale power prices are still surging in Australia

The AER's latest Wholesale Markets Quarterly Report shows wholesale power prices increased for the quarter up to June 2023 compared to the previous 3 months.

The price rises are not as bad as what we saw in 2022, but it's still a pain point as we continue to battle cost of living pressures across the board.

According to the regulator, the surge in power prices was driven by the closure in April of AGL's Liddell coal-fired power station in NSW and higher seasonal demand.

Because of this, electricity needed to be sourced from the more expensive gas-fired generator and pumped hydro.

East coast gas spot market prices also saw an increase mostly due to high prices in May linked to supply constraints.

"The second quarter of 2022 was an extremely challenging time for the sector. We're pleased the factors that drove the high prices at that time weren't present to nearly the same extent this year," AER board member Justin Oliver said.

The AER also says power prices are set to remain elevated going into 2024.

According to to a report by The Sydney Morning Herald, the El Nino weather pattern forecast for this summer will surge demand for air conditioning and "a global energy crunch pushing up coal and gas prices, high wholesale energy prices are expected to keep the pressure on power bills."

It's safe to say, we're not out of the woods yet when it comes to higher energy bills as wholesale costs make up 30-40% of a household's power bill.

We've rounded up the best electricity and gas plans in each state if you're struggling to cut through the noise and want to know which provider's offering the most value for money.

Image: @MStudioImages via Canva.com

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