It’s important to take all the details into consideration when you’re determining which energy option is best for you. From reviewing the fine print and assessing the inclusions and exclusions, right through to considering your location, usage requirements and lifestyle; the small things matter.

Regardless of which supplier you choose, there is some important information you need to know.

How to read bills and understand pricing

Being able to read your bills is essential to keeping a tight hold of your household budget, yet it’s a confusing process for many.

A few pointers to get you started:

  • Monitor your usage. Your bill will give you an overview of usage for the billed period and often provide a comparison of your usage to that of the average customer.
  • Review dates carefully. This will include things such as the billing period and due date, plus things like penalties for late payment.
  • Pay close attention to the cost break down for an explanation on where the charges are coming from. If you’re a new customer, there may be an added connection fee on your first bill, and the same can be said for disconnection and service fees when terminating an agreement.
  • Read up on payment terms. These will be displayed on your bill, and there are typically several options to choose between.

So, what about payment methods?

In this day and age, there are a variety of options available for paying the bills to suit the varying needs of energy customers. This may include;

  • Credit card payment online
  • Payment over the phone
  • BPAY
  • Bank cheque
  • Direct Debit

Find out how easy payment will be with your provider, as its likely this is the only time you will deal with them.

Renewable energy: what to consider if the environment is important to you

If minimising the effect your energy usage has on the environment is important to you, renewable energy suppliers could be a step in the right direction. Solar power, for example, remains a popular choice for many Australian homeowners, but there are other options available too. Other examples of renewable energy include wind, wave and biomass, which can all be purchased via your energy supplier to offset your reliance on renewable sources.

Managing expectations: what to expect from your provider

This is where the fine print comes in. When you’re comparing potential energy providers, review the specifics carefully. This includes:

  • What is required from you should you decide to terminate the agreement?
  • Is there a call centre or online chat function to answer your queries? If so, what hours do they operate?
  • Is the provider legally allowed to alter rates or change payment terms?
  • If so – under which circumstances? And how much notice must they provide?

The small things matter. To make the right choice to suit your needs review the fine print and ensure you take the time to understand the process. If you’re still unsure, it only takes a few minutes to compare energy providers and see your options side by side.