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The hack helping Australians save money on their energy bills

Reviewed by expert, David Koch
4 min read
19 Feb 2024

Compare the Market is encouraging Australians to check their gas and electricity bills carefully, with recent changes implemented by the Australian Energy Regulator meaning energy retailers must now let customers know if they have better deals available.

Under an amendment to the AER’s Better Bills Guideline, which came into effect last September, retailers in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory are required to let their customers know if they can offer them a cheaper energy plan. A similar initiative has been in place across Victoria for some time.

Depending on the existing plan and others available, it’s a move that could save some customers hundreds of dollars a year, according to Compare the Market’s Economic Director, David Koch.

“Gas and electricity prices in Australia have soared to new highs and the simple fact is many Australians are paying too much for their energy supply,” Mr Koch says. “If it’s been more than a year since you’ve changed gas or electricity plans, chances are your retailer has rolled you onto a more expensive plan and you could be paying more for the exact same gas or electricity supply.

“By detailing very clearly on energy bills if a better offer is available, this move helps hundreds of thousands of households across Australia know if they could be saving money by switching to a cheaper plan.”

Australians may not be aware that retailers must display a ‘better offer’ message on your bill at least once every 100 days. They will also conduct a better offer check to see if you’re on the best rate or if you could save by switching.

“It’s important to note that your retailer will inform you if they have a cheaper offer available, but it’s not actually reflective of the whole market,” Mr Koch explains. “This is why it’s so important to get into the habit of comparing your plan against others on the market.

“You wouldn’t pay more for items at the grocery store and hopefully this change will help Australians wake up to waste to keep more money in their own pockets.

“Many Australians open their energy bill every month or quarter and don’t actually know what they’re looking at or what everything on the bill means,” Mr Koch says. “These recently implemented amendments force retailers to use simpler language, make the bill easier to understand, highlight the key information you need to know and present information in a coherent order.”

Mr Koch’s top tips for looking for a better energy deal

  1. Always read the fine print, as plans available, even those with the same retailer, can be priced differently. Keep an eye out for any discounts available or any conditions you need to meet to maximise your benefits.
  2. Consider the supply charge as this could be very high compared to other retailers offering similar usage rates, with lower supply charges.
  3. Understand what electricity tariff(s) your home has, as they’re not all the same. For example, a time-of-use tariff means you’ll be charged different rates depending on the time of day or night.
  4. Retailers can set their own solar feed-in tariffs, which is the amount you’re credited for the solar electricity you export back to the grid. In Victoria, new minimum solar feed-in tariffs are effective on 1 July each year. Check the difference between the solar credit you may receive and your usage from the grid.
  5. If it’s been more than a year since you’ve switched retailers or plans, you’ve likely defaulted to an offer with a higher price. Even though prices are increasing across the board, deals are still available, and you could pay less overall.

For more information, please contact:  

Phillip Portman | 0437 384 471 | [email protected]

Compare the Market is a comparison service that takes the hard work out of shopping around. We make it Simples for Australians to quickly and easily compare and buy insurance, energy, and home loans products from a range of providers. Our easy-to-use comparison tool helps you look for a range of products that may suit your needs and benefit your back pocket.

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avatar of author: Phillip Portman

Written by Phillip Portman

When he’s not busy writing, Phillip can usually be found at the movies, playing with his Italian Greyhound Wilma, hanging out with his cockatiel Tiki, or talking about everything pop culture. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Journalism and has previously written about health, entertainment, and lifestyle for various publications. Phillip loves to help others and hopes that people learn something new from his articles.

[email protected]

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