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When and how to switch energy supplies

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In 2013 the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported that on average Australians spend $32 a week on household energy. That’s over $2,000 each year on household power from electricity, gas, heating oil and wood. With electricity and gas being a large proportion of this cost, how do we know when our supplier is charging too much?

If you’re already doing everything right to save energy in the home, but feel your annual spend on electricity is still too high, it might be time for a change of provider. If you’re unsure about when and how to switch this article could help. Read on for information about:

  1. When to consider switching energy providers
  2. When you can and cannot switch providers
  3. How to switch energy providers
  4. The benefits of switching

When to consider switching energy providers?

There are a few situations that may call for the need to switch up your energy service provider, including:

When can you change providers?

In Australia, location matters

Depending on which state or territory you’re in there may be different barriers to switching suppliers, so it’s important to know what your local policy is.

Residents in the following states can freely switch energy and gas providers without government restriction:

Residents in the below states may be able to switch, however it is with some restriction:

Residents in the below states cannot change power provider due to current regulation:

High rise developments and embedded networks

It is becoming more common for high rise developments to have embedded networks for their electricity. This means that one company own the meters and internal supply lines, so residents of the building may not be able to change suppliers. However these companies may be able to buy electricity in bulk and give lower pricing. The law concerning this differs per state, so check with your jurisdiction if you have any concerns.

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Contracts and termination fees

Before making the decision to switch energy suppliers it’s worthwhile to review your existing agreement and the accompanying terms and conditions. In most cases you can switch with ease; however the change may incur a termination fee if you’re not at the end of your contract. It’s a good idea to contact your existing electricity supplier for more information about what restrictions or penalties may apply.

To avoid termination fees in future, it might be worthwhile to look into the number of ‘no contract’ options on the market.

How to switch energy providers

  1. Determine your individual requirements. For example, a family of five will often have very different energy usage needs compared to a single resident who is rarely home. At this initial stage it can also be useful to review recent energy bills to see how much power you’re currently using, and at what rate.
  2. Compare the options available to you. Weigh up the pros and cons for each. An informed and educated decision is always the best decision.
  3. Make your selection and lock in connection.

So why change energy providers?

There are a number of benefits for those who do switch energy providers at the right time, such as:

Over spending on your energy is often lining the pockets of energy companies, so switching may help keep the dollars in your pocket.

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