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Momentum Energy Review

Momentum Energy is an Australian company, owned and operated by Hydro Tasmania, Australia’s largest producer of renewable energy. Momentum Energy retails electricity to homes and businesses across New South Wales, the ACT, Victoria, South Australia and South-East Queensland. It also sells natural gas to customers in Victoria.

Momentum Energy holds itself out as an energy company that’s passionate about renewable energy, ranking third in the Green Electricity Guide. It also claims its customer service is second to none and that its energy rates are fair and transparent, without large, confusing discounts. Electricity providers in some states offer huge headline discounts of up to 40%, but these often just cover very high base rates. With Momentum Energy, it’s very much a case of what you see is what you get, with modest discounts on top of generally low rates.

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Momentum Energy plans

Momentum Energy wants its customers to feel good about energy, hence the name of its SmilePower market offers. However, SmilePower isn’t just your standard electricity deal, it’s a promise by Momentum to ensure Hydro Tasmania generates an equivalent amount of wind, solar and hydro renewable energy to the National Electricity Market that it bills its SmilePower customers.

SmilePower is offered to both residential and business customers, the terms and conditions of which vary somewhat between each state. In some areas, customers are locked into a fixed term contract with exit fees, while other customers can benefit from discounts and sign-up incentives. South East Queensland customers do not receive SmilePower, only Momentum Energy’s standing offers.

Victoria

In the most competitive energy market in Australia, Momentum Energy stands out from the crowd as transparent and price-competitive. This is how its plans line up in Victoria:

  • SmilePower: This plan has a 1, 2 or 3 year contract period, though there are no exit fees for leaving early. There are no conditional discounts, but customers who sign up online receive $50 credit towards their first bill.
  • SmilePower Plus: This plan is similar to the standard SmilerPower, but also includes a 2% discount on usage and supply charges when you pay your bills on time, pay via direct debit and receive email correspondence.

Victorians can also purchase natural gas through Momentum Energy. Again, those who sign up online receive $50 credit. When it comes to electricity, the table below shows what five person households with average usage can expect to pay per quarter with SmilePower Plus.

Momentum Energy Rates Victoria

Electricity plan Discount Non-discount cost Discount cost
SmilePower Plus 2% $424.84 $416.35

Costs based on annual usage calculations broken down into quarterly payments. Calculations based on statistics from AER for a five person household on the Citipower network. January 2017.

These prices were based on Citipower network rates. The rates you receive may vary depending on your distribution network. See how Momentum Energy compares to other electricity providers in the state with in our Victoria electricity price comparison. You will be interested to see that, despite its modest 2% discount, it works out cheaper than many offering more than 30% off!

New South Wales

Momentum Energy is also very competitive in a growing NSW electricity market. It offers the same two plan options as in Victoria, but rates will of course differ:

  • SmilePower: This plan is similar to the one offered in Victoria with a 1, 2 or 3 year contract period. The key difference is that NSW customers are charged an exit fee for leaving early. Customers who end their contract in the first year are charged $99, while those who leave in the second or third year will need to pay $49.50.
  • SmilePower Plus: This is the same as the SmilePower plan but with an added 2% conditional discount on usage and supply charges. To receive the discount, customers must pay their bills on time through direct debit, and agree to receive correspondence via email.

So, how much can NSW electricity customers expect to pay per quarter with Momentum Energy’s SmilePower Plus?

Momentum Energy Rates NSW

Electricity plan Discount Non-discount cost Discount cost
SmilePower Plus 2% $492.73 $482.87

Costs based on annual usage calculations broken down into quarterly payments. Calculations based on statistics from AER for a five person household on the Ausgrid network, January 2017.

These rates are for customers on the Ausgrid network, spanning Sydney and parts of northern NSW. Households on the Endeavour or Essential Energy networks will usually be charged different usage and supply rates. You can compare how Momentum Energy compares to other retailers in our NSW price comparison.

South Australia

Momentum Energy is again prominent in South Australia, where wholesale electricity prices are higher than in any other state. This is how Momentum’s plans shape up in SA:

  • SmilePower: This is a one year contract with a $75 exit fee. This is a basic agreement with no discounts or online sign-up bonus.
  • SmilePower Plus: This is the same plan as the SmilePower with the addition of a 2% discount on usage and supply charges when you pay your bills on time and by direct debit, and also receive bills by email.
  • SmilePower Flexi: This plan has no contract period or exit fees, meaning you’re free to leave at any time. The downside is that the rates on this plan are slightly higher than the standard SmilePower offer.

We are not able to show estimated costs for Momentum Energy customers in South Australia, but you can see which providers work out cheapest among those we have compared in our SA price comparison. Interestingly, Momentum is one of few retailers in SA to offer flexible pricing tariffs.

GreenPower

GreenPower is a government-accredited renewable energy program. Customers can sign up to a GreenPower product with most retailers and have an equivalent portion of their electricity sourced from an accredited renewable generator in exchange for slightly higher rates. This does not mean they use renewable energy at their home, but that their retailer commits to sourcing more of it for the National Grid on their behalf. Only customers on Momentum Energy’s standard contracts can include GreenPower.

What’s the difference between GreenPower and SmilePower?

Because Hydro Tasmania’s hydro generators were built before 1997, it does not qualify as an accredited renewable generator for the purposes of the GreenPower program. In turn Momentum Energy introduced SmilePower to operate as an alternative to GreenPower, though they’re both designed to encourage renewable energy generation.

While Momentum Energy is undoubtedly dedicated to sourcing renewable energy, it still sells electricity from the National Electricity Market like all other retailers. Momentum found itself in hot water in 2016 when the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) raised concerns about its advertising which was deemed to suggest that Momentum actually sold renewable energy.

Is Momentum Energy right for me?

Momentum Energy could be a good choice for anyone passionate about renewable energy and minimising their carbon footprint. While Momentum continues to retail electricity sourced from fossil fuels like all other retailers, it clearly has a vision to help lead Australia’s push towards greater energy sustainability.

With its modest conditional discounts, Momentum Energy is also helping to remove much of the confusion around picking an energy plan. It’s very much a case of what you see is what you get, rather than having large discounts masking high base rates.

NSW and SA customers need to be wary that Momentum Energy’s market offers include exit fees for leaving early. But this aside, it’s hard to find fault with Momentum. It’s generally very price competitive and almost always ranks highly in Canstar Blue’s customer satisfaction ratings for electricity providers. But be sure to compare offers from a wide range of retailers before making a decision.

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