According to a study by Roy Morgan, 1 in 5 Australians can’t recall who their energy provider is. If you’re on of them, it may mean you’re not receiving the full range of benefits from your utility provider or getting the best deal available. We take a look at some of the benefits in identifying and assessing your current energy plan, and some factors you should take into consideration through the evaluation process.
What are dangers of not knowing who your utilities provider is?
Chances are if you don’t know the name of your energy company, you’re unlikely to know the finer details of your plan. Is it a standard retail or market retail contract? Is it a fixed contract? You may be surprised at some of the rewards when you take ownership of your plan.
While this may mean scraping your energy account to find another deal, it’s worth the time and effort to investigate properly.
Assess and switch with ease
Changing your energy provider is simple, and with it can come sign up incentives and invaluable discounts which will benefit you in the long run. Begin by identifying your current provider and reviewing the past few months’ bills so you have a point of comparison. If you’re struggling to recall your energy provider, it’s likely that you’ve forgotten any perks and pitfalls of the existing account setup and plan too, so that would be a good first point of call.
Here’s a sample bill. Some Aussies have been neglecting to check out the top left corner, where you can see your provider’s brand logo.
First things first, take a look at recent statements. How much are you consuming and spending each billing period? Are you locked in to your contract? Is there flexibility with payment options, energy saving initiatives or ‘green’ options? Scan over the details or call your supplier to speak with an account representative for a more detailed explanation on charges and energy supply. Take into account any changes in your energy consumption and look for trends in billing activity.
The Australian Energy Regulator has some great advice for any Australian thinking about shopping around.
- Ring up your current provider, and ask for a better deal. This works best when you’ve done a bit of research beforehand and can tell them what you’d pay with other companies.
- If you do want to move on, check if you’re on a fixed contract. You may need to pay fees if you switch before this contract expires.
Once you have the basics down, it’s time to compare.
Switch to save
You may like to consider ending your current contract as switching is often easy. A popular time to switch is when you move house, especially with renters. Many real estate agents offer to connect your utilities for you, which can be convenient if you’re busy arranging plenty of other things. However, you’d be remiss not to compare other retailers yourself – so don’t be afraid to do the legwork and negotiate the connection yourself.
Whenever you decide to make the switch, it’s worth knowing that there are two contract types available; a Market retail contract and a Standard retail contract. To find out more about the difference, this page on our site has some great information. When comparing contracts, it’s a good idea to take a look over the fine print for any additional charges and speak with a sales representative if something is unclear.
Switching suppliers can equate to savings on future bills, plus a range of further incentives to entice and reward those of you who select a particular energy supplier.
To name a few, these incentives might include anything from:
- Percentage discounts for accounts paid on time and in full
- Credit applied to your account when signing up by a specified date
- One off or ongoing discounts for consolidating your gas and electricity accounts
- Rewards programs, discounting popular purchases such as movie tickets, fuel and groceries
- Gift vouchers
- No lock in contracts and removal of sign up fees
Conducting a comparison between your current provider and their competitors is a handy way to see if you’ll get more ‘bang for your buck’ elsewhere. In some cases, you may be better off sticking with the current plan or making some simple adjustments to the contract with the same company, but, you never know – you may just pick up a killer deal by shopping around. It’s easy to compare the options available on our website, you simply need to answer a series of simple questions, review the recommendations and make a decision accordingly.
You’ll have 10 working days to cancel your new plan without any financial penalties. This is known as the cooling off period. There may be a gap between your old and new plans – the changeover occurs when the meter is read next.
But wait, I’m already contracted to the best deal for my needs
If it turns out you’re already locked into the most appropriate contract for your area and requirements – congratulations! This doesn’t have to mean the end of savings though. There are many ways you can continue to save, without switching, such as minimising spikes in usage during peak times of the day, updating old appliances and whitegoods which might be chewing up power, or converting to cleaner energy sources such as solar power over time.