Powershop Review

Powershop is an Australian and New Zealand owned retailer with a unique approach to energy. Unlike traditional providers, Powershop lets you pre-purchase electricity with its ‘Powerpacks’. These Powerpacks include discounts and special deals, rewarding proactive customers with low prices on electricity. However, you will need to put in a little leg work to get the best deals. It’s called ‘Powershop’ for a reason.

If you’re having a hard time wrapping your ahead around how all this works, then we’re here to help. In this review, Canstar Blue examines how Powershop operates and takes a closer look at what this retailer might cost you. We take you through everything you need to know to make an informed decision about whether Powershop is right for you.

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Powershop electricity plans

Customers can deal with Powershop in the same way they deal with any other power company – where they simply receive a bill once a month. However, those wanting to take full advantage of what Powershop has to offer need to regularly visit the Powershop online store to purchase Powerpacks and snap up special deals. In addition, Powershop is also one of Australia’s leading electricity retailers when it comes to helping customers closely monitor and better understand their energy usage through its handy smartphone app. Provided you have a smart meter, you can get access to some very helpful tools.

If you don’t purchase a Powerpack, then Powershop will automatically assign you to its default pack – the Standard Saver (unless you’ve opted for another default option). The Standard Saver from Powershop comes with a guaranteed discount on usage and supply charges, the value of which varies across each state as shown below.

Standard Saver discounts

State NSW VIC QLD
Discount 4% 18% 2%

Powershop Powerpacks

Powershop customers can pre-purchase ‘packs’ of energy at a reduced price through its online store or phone app. Powerpacks can be bought as you go, or you can stock up for the future if you prefer.

Again, customers who haven’t purchased sufficient Powerpacks to cover their usage will receive the Standard Saver deal discussed above. So don’t fret, Powershop won’t suddenly switch your lights off just because you’ve used up all your Powerpacks. You also shouldn’t be concerned about forgetting to purchase Powerpacks. The Powershop phone app will keep updating you on special deals and notify you when it’s time to buy more energy.

Powershop has four types of Powerpacks: Top-up, special, green and future packs.

Top-up packs

Top-up packs can be purchased anytime you like and can be used straight away. The top-up range is comprised of Powershop’s default Powerpacks, including the Standard Saver.

Special packs

Special packs include the highest discounts Powershop has on offer. There are two types of special packs, known as the Online Saver and ‘spot’ special packs. The Online Saver has a discount of between 8 and 16 per cent on top of the Standard Saver discount. Customers will need to visit the Powershop online store each month to purchase the Online Saver. There are also ‘spot’ special packs that are released occasionally, and include a bonus discount of between 15 and 24 per cent. Customers have a short time window to purchase these special packs after receiving a notification on their phone. These discounts typically only apply to a relatively small portion of electricity usage, though the savings can add up.

Future packs

These electricity deals let you stock up on power months ahead of time. Powershop says that generally, the discounts included in future packs are larger the further ahead of time you purchase them. Because the price of future packs is based on usage estimates which vary across different periods, Powershop warns future packs can sometimes be more expensive than special packs, so be sure to consider your personal situation when deciding whether they are right for you.

Green packs

When you purchase a GreenPower pack, Powershop commits to purchasing the equivalent amount of Renewable Energy Certificates. GreenPower deals are also included in the range of special packs, such as the Green Online Saver. Alternatively, customers can set GreenPower as their default top-up pack.

Powershop electricity prices

Because of Powershop’s rather unique pricing structure, it can be a bit tricky to compare its costs to other retailers. Fortunately, Canstar Blue is here to lend a hand. We’ve calculated expected quarterly bills for average five person households with Powershop. These calculations assume that the customer purchases the Online Saver pack each month.

 Powershop prices Victoria

Electricity plan Discount Non-discount cost Discount
Online Saver 34% $629.05 $415.17

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. May 2017.

These costs are based on Citipower energy rates. Customers on other distribution networks are charged different rates. Customers must remember to purchase the Online Saver pack in order to receive the 34% discount in this calculation. You can see how other retailers compare to Powershop in our Victorian price comparison report.

Powershop prices NSW

Electricity plan Discount Non-discount cost Discount
Online Saver 18% $551.16 $451.95

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, May 2017.

Powershop is usually one of the cheapest electricity retailers in NSW, our research shows. You can see exactly how it compares to other providers in our NSW price comparison report. Keep in mind that these prices are calculated using rates on the Ausgrid network. Customers connected to other distributors will receive different rates.

Powershop prices Queensland

Electricity plan Discount Non-discount cost Discount
Online Saver 10% $577.66 $519.90

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

These calculations reflect the expected quarterly costs for a Powershop customer on the Energex distribution network across Brisbane and South East Queensland. Powershop is not available on the Ergon Energy network in regional QLD. See how Powershop compares to other retailers in our Queensland price comparison report.

Powershop renewable energy

Powershop is owned by Meridian Energy, Australasia’s largest 100% renewable energy generator, so it’s no wonder that Greenpeace rated Powershop as Australia’s greenest energy company. In fact, Powershop says all its customers are completely carbon neutral. Powershop also has GreenPower packs available for customers wanting to give a little bit more back to the environment.

Customers with solar panels receive a fairly generous 8.2c/kWh feed-in tariff, which is higher than the government-regulated amount. If you have a smart meter, you can also use the Powershop app to monitor electricity usage and access heat maps of your solar panels to see how much energy your system is producing.

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Powershop refund policy

Powershop lets its customers easily refund their Powerpacks. Even if it’s just because you’ve simply changed your mind, Powershop customers may receive a full refund by going to the ‘transactions’ section of the online store. The refund option is only available for 48 hours after your purchase. Customers looking to refund an item outside this window will need to give Powershop a call.

Refer a friend

Powershop customers who refer a friend will receive $75 of credit towards their next bill. Powershop says some of its customers have saved well over $3,000 using this referral scheme.

Is Powershop right for me?

Powershop is certainly a different proposition if you’re keen on a change of retailer. Whether you consider its unique billing structure a highlight or a drawback really comes down to the type of energy customer you are. If you’re fine putting in a little effort to get lower prices on energy and can trust yourself to remember to buy Powerpacks, then Powershop could be a great choice. However, if you would rather not have to think about your energy bill more than once every few months, then it’s maybe best you look elsewhere. While you’re fine to treat Powershop like any other retailer and forego purchasing Powerpacks, this would probably end up costing you more on electricity than what’s necessary.

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