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Incoming energy bill shock: Urgent warning to switch and save

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Australian electricity users are being told to expect rising energy bills, according to Finder.

Household electricity bills are expected to rise by up to 100% in July, due to soaring costs of wholesale electricity.

It comes as small energy retailers across the country are urging their customers to "go elsewhere" as their rates are about to spike. This week, ReAmped Energy urged over 70,000 customers to switch providers as bills are set to double.

1 in 5 Australians (20%) admit their energy bill is one of the expenses that causes them the most stress, according to Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker. That's equivalent to almost 4 million people who are already suffering energy bill stress.

Customers are desperate to keep their bills down – Finder searches for new energy providers have jumped 66% compared to the last 30 days and are up 77% compared to the last 7 days.

A new nationally representative survey of 1,002 respondents revealed 1.1 million Aussies (6%) can't afford to use their heater this winter.

A further 11 million (57%) will only use the heater sometimes as it's expensive.

Mariam Gabaji, energy expert at Finder, said Australia is in the middle of a cost of power crisis.

"Households which are already stretched to the limit are now confronted with another utility price hike.

"This at a time when the mercury is dropping around Australia, forcing Australians to go to extreme lengths to keep power charges down."

Finder research found 1 in 2 (50%) Aussies will be rugging up to save money on their energy bill during the colder months.

The data shows 45% will use the lights less, while 43% will switch off unused appliances.

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

"Small energy providers have started to drastically hike up prices, even before the 1 July price reset.

"Power prices have more than doubled in the past 12 months and smaller energy retailers are starting to crumble under the pressure, passing on the surging costs to customers.

"One of the best ways to save on energy is by switching your energy provider. Finder analysis shows this could save you up to $415 each year."

Gabaji urged those searching for a new energy plan to keep an eye out for the T&Cs.

"You don't want to be locked into a contract without benefit, or pay a hefty disconnection or reconnection fee, especially if you're a renter.

"Remember you will have a cooling-off period of 5 to 10 days (dependent on where you live) after making the switch. If you aren't satisfied with your new provider's services, you should cancel your plan before being hit by any exit fees."

Gabaji said there are steps Aussies can take to lower the cost of their energy bill.

"If you keep the heater on for 3 hours instead of 4 each day during winter it could lower your energy use by 25% and save you up to $46 a year.

"Other changes include turning off your unused appliances or naturally air-drying your clothes when the sun is out.

"Bottom line: If your energy provider notifies you of price hikes that are more than 10–15%, it is time to switch," Gabaji said.

Do you use a heater in your house during the cooler months?
Yes, but only sometimes because it's expensive57%
Yes, it's on all the time17%
No, it doesn't get cold where I live10%
No, my house doesn't have a heater10%
No, my house has a heater but I can't afford to use it6%
Source: Finder survey of 1,002 respondents, May 2022
What do you plan to do to save money on energy this winter?
Wear extra clothes50%
Switch off the lights more45%
Switch off unused appliances43%
Only heat the room I'm using40%
Take shorter showers24%
Use an electric blanket instead of a heater11%
Switch energy providers7%
Source: Finder survey of 1,002 respondents, May 2022

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