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It’s now easier to take advantage of new electricity rates

5 min read
5 Oct 2021

Great news for Australians as the time it takes to switch electricity providers has been dramatically slashed, following a rule change from the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC).

From 1 October, switching to a new electricity provider will take just two business days rather than the original three months it could take for switches in the past.1 This change means you’ll be able to take advantage of new electricity deals, prices and discounts quicker than you’ve ever been able to. The rule will apply to both Australian households and small businesses.

Switching previously not instant, despite misconception

Despite the misconception, switching electricity providers was never instant. It could easily take up to 90 days to switch, as distributors read some electricity meter types once every three months and new providers previously needed usage information from these reads before they could start billing you.

Thankfully, under the new rules, you’ll be able to switch in two business days, subject to eligibility, regardless of your meter type. Of course, you’ll continue to receive a power supply – no matter how long the switch takes.

Compare the Market’s Energy Expert and General Manager of Utilities, Brett Mifsud, said the new changes mean the switching process is also easier to understand.

“For years, governments and consumer groups like Compare the Market have been encouraging households to save on their energy bills through the proactive searching for better deals on the market, although the process has remained confusing for many people,” Mr Mifsud said.

“Unfortunately, we have seen that even after switching – some customers would continue to be billed by their old retailer as they waited for the new one to take over their account. Not only is this confusing, but it means people must wait to start paying the new prices they have signed up to.”

couple realising electricity switch was not instant

Don’t be guilt-tripped into provider loyalty

There was previously a delay in being transferred to a new plan with a different provider, as the switching process was 10-90 days. This gave ample time for your previous provider to contact you to convince you to stay by giving you a better offer, although this offer wasn’t always the best available.

Under the new rules, it will be very difficult for the old retailer to try and save the customer as the timeframes are so short.

Mr Mifsud said these new changes mean you’ll likely end up with more money in your pocket because you’ll have access to the best electricity deals sooner.

“With these new rules in place, providers will likely make their best deals available to all customers to remain competitive in market, putting a downward pressure on prices across the board,” he said.

Set to address affordability and trust in the electricity market

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) launched an electricity pricing enquiry in 2018, which addressed affordability and trust within the electricity market.2 The ACCC outlined recommendations to industry regulators and suggested that AEMC amend its rules and procedures to speed up the switching process and limit the ability for retailers to try and stop customers from switching.

While it was three years in the making, Mr Mifsud said the changes mean the electricity industry is now more transparent and easier and quicker to navigate.

“This is another move in the right direction to empower customers and give them the confidence to be proactive in the market and benefit from lower bills,” Mr Mifsud said. “This is another move that the retailers probably won’t like, which is the best indicator that consumers are the focus.”

Many benefits to comparing and switching

Now that it’s easier to switch electricity providers, there are many reasons you could benefit from finding a new provider. These include:

  • taking advantage of plans that offer cheaper rates or usage charges;
  • Switching to a provider who offers discounts;
  • making the most of customer service that better aligns with your needs; and
  • finding a contract that better suits your lifestyle.

Just remember, you’ll still have your standard 10-day cooling-off period if you change your mind.

We can help you look for a better electricity deal with our free electricity comparison service. Simply enter some details about the type of plan you’re looking for and your electricity usage to see a range of options from a variety of providers in Australia.

We don’t have access to all the products available in your area: we do not compare all brands in the market, or all products offered by all brands. At times certain brands or products may not be available or offered to you. From time to time we may have access to better offers that are only available over the phone. Call us to see if you are eligible. Learn more.

We don’t have access to all the products available in your area: we do not compare all brands in the market, or all products offered by all brands. At times certain brands or products may not be available or offered to you. From time to time we may have access to better offers that are only available over the phone. Call us to see if you are eligible. Learn more.

Sources

  1. Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) – ‘Reducing customers’ switching times’ – Accessed 27/09/2021
  2. Australian Competition & Consumer Commission – ‘Restoring electricity affordability and Australia’s competitive advantage Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry—Final Report’ – Accessed 27/08/2021

Images by Shutterstock

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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.

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