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Media Release

Bill blunder: Millions of Australians could be paying too much for their electricity

        • 880,000 people don’t understand their electricity bill at all
        • 60% of Australians don't know what their tariff type is
        • Electricity bill jargon explained

21 September 2020, Sydney, Australia – Australians' lack of electricity bill literacy could be costing them hundreds, according to new research by Finder, Australia's most visited comparison site.

Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker, a nationally representative study of over 5,000 respondents, has revealed that 5.1 million Australians (29%) have little to no understanding of their electricity bill.

Of these Australians, more than 880,000 people don't understand their electricity bill at all.

A separate Finder survey revealed that Australians don't actually know where to find important information on their bill.

Worryingly, one in three (34%) have no idea what their electricity usage is or where they can find it on their bill.

Graham Cooke, energy expert at Finder, said that not understanding their bill is one reason why people can end up paying too much for their electricity.

"If you're not sure about a certain charge on your bill, it's always a good idea to query it with your retailer.

"It's always worth calling your retailer's customer service number with any concerns or questions, because if you don't ask, you'll never know.

"You can use your bill details to shop around for a better deal. If you switch to a cheaper plan, it can really add up over time."

The research also found that three in five (60%) Australians don't know what their tariff type is or where to find it.

Over a third (34%) of respondents don't know how much energy they're using, and of these 9% wouldn't even know where to find that information.

Gen Z have the least knowledge of their electricity bill with only 9% knowing all three pieces of information (tariff type, usage and bill period), compared to a whopping 57% of baby boomers.

Cooke also stressed that now is such an important time for Australians to get on top of their household finances.

"The financial crisis brought on by the pandemic has hit Australia hard. Many families that are now living pay to pay can't afford an overly expensive electricity bill."

"Australia is enduring a period of economic downturn. Now is the time to cut down on your household expenses, whether it be your electricity plan or insurances, and look for a cheaper deal to secure your finances.

"Digital tools like the Finder app can do some of the work for you by helping to keep track of your spending and looking for ways that you can save on your electricity bill."

For more on how to read your bill see here: https://www.finder.com.au/energy/how-to-read-your-energy-bill



When it comes to your energy bill do you know…

ResponseYesNoNo, I don't know where I'd find it
What your tariff type is?40%38%22%
What your usage is?66%25%9%
What your bill period is?83%11%%



Electricity bill jargon explained

  • Usage rates. This is how much you'll be charged for each unit of energy you consume, measured in c/kWh. Securing lower usage rates is vital as they will make up the bulk of your energy bill.
  • Tariff. Tariffs are prices set on your energy as it's provided to ensure that the providers are making their money back. Depending on your tariff type you will either pay a single flat rate or different rates for different times of the day.
  • Controlled load. This applies to a single appliance, e.g. a pool, rather than your entire electricity use. Controlled load rates are usually lower than other rates and are calculated by an energy meter attached to the appliance.
  • Relative usage to others in your area. This compares your usage to other nearby households, giving you context for how much power you're using.

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Disclaimer

The information in this release is accurate as of the date published, but rates, fees and other product features may have changed. Please see updated product information on finder.com.au's review pages for the current correct values.

About us

Every month 2.2 million unique visitors turn to Finder to save money and time, and to make important life choices. We compare virtually everything from credit cards, phone plans, health insurance, travel deals and much more.

Our free service is 100% independently-owned by two Australians: Fred Schebesta and Frank Restuccia. Since launching in 2006, Finder has helped Aussies find what they need from 1,800+ brands across 100+ categories.

We continue to expand and launch around the globe, and now operate in the United States and the United Kingdom. For further information visit www.finder.com.au.

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