GG: But how do we stop the energy rip-off?

DG: Learn to play the retailers game and understand the energy plans

The plethora of plans makes it truly harder to compare what it will cost you with one retailer over another. The lack of any meaningful analysis of your data use makes it even harder. No wonder price comparison websites are thriving.

The Australian Government Australian Energy Regulator Energy Made Easy website is a good start, but it only shows 25 of the possible 367 plans (in your case). With your use, a time of day tariff is not as good as a single rate tariff with perhaps a higher daily supply fee.

Price comparison websites

There is a great article about the Energy Made Easy website here and how just two main retailers, Origin Energy and Energy Australia, had previously posted 547 publicly available market offers across three markets. They now post 2,010 offers in those markets; the difference explained by the offers only made available to price comparison websites.

And let’s not get started on discounts – it should be standard APRA regulated percentage for late payment

A US survey (nothing done here yet) found

  • 46% of people habitually pay bills late
  • 61% pay some bills late as it is a case of managing money between paychecks to pay the most pressing bills first

So, for that 46% what is the point choosing between 30% or a 10% discount with a lower tariff. What sounds better? On the face of it the former seems like the best option, but what most Aussies don’t realise is that it depends on the kilowatt-hour (kWh) rate and other charges.

GG: The other charges?

DG: It’s not just the kWh charge. Many retailers have a huge range of add-ons including pay-on-time discounts, feed-in-tariffs, termination fees, time-of-use-tariffs, variable consumption charges (can be based on what the retailer pays per kWh by the hour), and a daily supply charge to name a few.

GG: Next steps?

DG: Unfortunately it is up to the consumer to make the first move.

  1. Consumers must understand that different states and territories have different energy retailers and, therefore, different energy plans.
  2. Research is key. Aussies must spend the time delving into the world of energy to ensure they’re getting the best bang for their buck
  3. Individual energy consumption per house varies, so it is important consumers understand their own energy use and patterns
  4. Statistics show that 50% of consumers have never switched energy retailers, only doing so when they move out of an area serviced by their retailer. That blind devotion costs money.
  5. Ask your current energy retailer to put you on a better plan NOW or threaten to switch! We need to stop shying away from what we deserve.
Price comparison websites

There are ‘anti’ price comparison website crusaders helping to open consumer’s eyes and new technology like Emberpulse is slowly moving the balance of power back to consumers.

To gain the best deal, you need knowledge.

About Embertec (You can read GadgetGuy’s first two-week money saving review here)

Embertec is Australia’s largest energy efficiency technology company. It provides

  • Emberpulse, a device to measure energy use at the main power box
  • EmberIQ, a smart plug that measures energy use of attached appliances
  • Emberpulse app for Android, Windows, iOS or macOS to view real-time energy use
  • And it maintains a current database of almost every retail energy plan to objectively compare your use against the plethora of confusing rates. It advises Emberpulse users of the best plans for their use – no bias or money changes hands.

Emberpulse has no commercial relationships with retail energy companies or GadgetGuy (nor do the hundreds of other companies we write about or review). We think it’s a good thing!