For years the Australian electricity market was dominated by just two major providers, Origin Energy and AGL. Only in the past decade have we seen new retailers emerge and slowly chip away at their market share. One retailer in particular has asserted itself as the third major player – that’s EnergyAustralia.
AGL and EnergyAustralia battle it out across the four major states, with both using their size to offer competitive value. So which retailer is cheapest where you live – the incumbent or the challenger? In this report, we compare the two companies and how much you their plans might cost you across Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland.
AGL and EnergyAustralia both offer three plans to Victorian residents with varying rates and discounts depending on your electricity distributor. EnergyAustralia’s plans are the Flexi Saver, Anytime Saver and Rate Fix plans. The first two are variable rate open contracts, while the third is a two-year fixed rate contract.
- Flexi Saver: This is a variable rate plan with a one year benefit period that gives customers a 32% discount off usage charges when the bill is paid on time. New customers on this deal receive 20% GreenPower free for 12 months, and those who sign-up online receive $50 credit on their first bill. EnergyAustralia estimates this plan has a monthly cost of just $99 for a 3-4 person household on the Citipower network.
- Anytime Saver: This plan has a smaller usage rate discount than the Flexi Saver, offering 18%. This discount however applies regardless of whether your bills are received by email or paid on time, making it a great option for those customers who sometimes fall behind on their bills. Like the Flexi Saver, there are no exit fees and it has a benefit period of one year. EnergyAustralia estimates this plan will cost $112 a month for medium energy-use households on the Citipower network.
- Rate Fix: This plan freezes your rates, so what you’re charged will not unexpectedly increase within the next two years. The downside is that it has a lock-in contract with an exit fee of $70 or $50 depending on if you leave in the first or second year of the contract. Like most fixed plans out there, there are no discounts available on this plan. To compensate, the usage and supply charges on this plan are slightly lower than those on the Flexi Saver or Anytime Saver electricity plans. EnergyAustralia’s Rate Fix plan also gives you $100 off your first bill. EnergyAustralia predicts this bill will cost the average Melbourne household $119 per month.
AGL’s electricity plans in Victoria are named Set and Forget, Saver, and Fixed. AGL provides flexible billing options on most plans and eligible customers who sign up online will receive $50 credit towards their first bill. Customers who also have a gas account with AGL receive an additional ‘double-up’ discount of 2%.
- AGL Powercombo Savers: This is a variable rate plan with a benefit period of one year. Customers on this plan who pay their bills on time will receive 28% off usage charges. ‘Double-up’ by also purchasing gas through AGL to receive a bonus 4% discount.
- AGL Savers: Similar to the first AGL plan, this is a one year deal which applies a variable electricity rate. AGL Savers comes with a slightly higher pay on time discount of 30%.
- AGL Fixed: This is a two year fixed rate plan meaning that usage rates won’t increase for two years. The rates are lower than AGL’s variable rate plans mentioned above, however, this product offers no discounts.
Who is cheapest in Victoria?
When comparing which provider is cheapest in Melbourne, we will take a closer look at the best discounted plans of both. For EnergyAustralia, its best discount is its Flexi Saver at a whopping 32%. AGL’s best discount is slightly lower at 30% with its Savers deal. The costs displayed in the following table are based on an average five-person household once discounts have been applied.
Costs based on yearly usage calculation broken into quarterly payments. Average energy consumption figures from the AER. Usage figures are for a five-person household with no pool on the Citipower network. Figures correct as at January 2017.
There’s not much in it, but EnergyAustralia edges AGL out as the cheaper of these two retailers in Victoria. This goes to show that the discount size can matter. You shouldn’t always assume that the biggest discounts mean the biggest savings, but in this case it does. See how these two providers compare to several others in Melbourne with our Cost Comparison Report for Victoria.
New South Wales
AGL and EnergyAustralia each have three plans on offer for Sydney and New South Wales customers. The contract terms are similar to those in Victoria, though the usage rate discounts are smaller. Here is how EnergyAustralia lines up:
- Flexi Saver: This is an open term variable rate plan with a one year benefit that includes a discount up to 20% off usage rates for customers who pay their bills on time. EnergyAustralia estimates an average Sydney household on the Ausgrid network would pay $107 per month on this plan. New customers who sign up with this product receive 20% GreenPower free for one year, as well as $50 credit on their first bill if they do it online.
- Anytime Saver: This is a simple plan that applies a 12% discount guaranteed. It’s the safest bet if you’re not sure you can always pay your bills on time. EnergyAustralia estimates this will cost $115 for Sydney area homes with medium energy usage.
- Rate fix: This is a fixed rate contract, which means your rates won’t increase for at least two years. You will also receive $50 off your first bill. The catch is that exit fees apply and there are no conditional discounts available. EnergyAustralia estimates this plan will cost households $117 per month for the average Sydney home.
AGL’s New South Wales residential electricity plans are also similar to those offered in Victoria, with the only considerable change being the difference in rates and discounts. New South Wales customers who sign up online will receive $50 credit toward their first bill.
- AGL Powercombo Savers: This variable rate plan gives residential customers 18% off usage charges when they pay their bills on time. Customers who also purchase gas through AGL receive an additional 3% discount.
- AGL Savers: Customers on this plan will receive a 19% discount when they pay on time. Once again, this is a no lock-in variable rate contract with a benefit period of one year. After this year, customers will be placed on a new contract.
- AGL Fixed: This is a two year fixed rate contract. This means that your rates will not change within a two-year period, but there are exit fees for cancelling the plan early.
Who is cheapest in New South Wales?
To compare prices in NSW, let’s look at EnergyAustralia and AGL’s deals with the highest discounts. For AGL, this is the Set and Forget plan, while EnergyAustralia’s best discount is with its Flexi Saver plan. We have crunched the numbers for an average five-person household in Sydney that consumes 18.8kWh per day, taking into consideration both usage and supply charges as well as conditional discounts.
Costs based on yearly usage calculation broken into quarterly payments. Average energy consumption figures from the AER. Usage figures are for a five-person household with no pool on the Ausgrid network. Figures correct as at January 2017.
Once again we see the plan with the slightly larger discount results in slightly lower prices, with EnergyAustralia cheaper than AGL in NSW. However, see how these providers compare to others in the Sydney area with our NSW Cost Comparison report.
South Australians unfortunately face the highest electricity rates in the country, however those who sign up to the right plan can still have access to considerable discounts to help reduce costs. EnergyAustralia offers the same three plans that it does in New South Wales and Victoria.
- Flexi Saver: The Flexi Saver has a 20% pay on time discount for a benefit period of one year. It’s a variable rate plan with no exit fees. Once again, customers on this plan receive 20% Greenpower for free for their first year, as well as $50 credit if they sign up online. EnergyAustralia expects the average Adelaide household to spend $136 per month on the Flexi Saver.
- Anytime Saver: Arguably EnergyAustralia’s simplest plan, this includes a flat 12% guaranteed discount. The benefit period is one year and there are no exit fees. EnergyAustralia says the average 3-4 person household on this plan should expect to pay $147 a month.
- Rate fix: This plan ensures your rates don’t change for a period of two years. This plan includes $100 credit on the first bill, however, there are exit fees for leaving early and there are no discounts. EnergyAustralia estimates this plan will cost a low energy user $163 a month.
AGL does not offer South Australian customers a fixed rate plan, though its Savers deal is still available, alongside its long-standing Set and Forget product.
- AGL Set and Forget: This electricity plan has a discount of 12% off usage charges for customers who pay their bills using direct debit. This is a variable rate deal which lasts for one year before being transferred to a new plan, however, customers are free to leave any time without exit fees. Customers who also buy gas through AGL receive a bonus ‘double up discount’ of 2%.
- AGL Savers: The AGL savers deal is a one year contract that includes an 11% pay on time discount off electricity usage charges. Once again, if you sign up to gas with AGL as well, you’ll receive an extra 2% double up discount.
Who is cheapest in South Australia?
We will compare the highest discounted plans of each retailer. EnergyAustralia’s largest discount for Adelaide customers is included in its Flexi Saver, while AGL’s best discount comes with its Set and Forget deal. Below we have crunched the numbers for the average five-person household, taking into account usage and supply costs, as well as conditional discounts. See our comparison of electricity retailers in South Australia to find out how these two compare to the rest of the field on price.
|SA||AGL||Set and Forget||12%||$619.63|
Costs based on yearly usage calculation broken into quarterly payments. Average energy consumption figures from the AER. Usage figures are for a five-person household with no pool on the SA Power Network. Rates correct as at January 2017.
This time it’s AGL that comes out on top as the cheapest of the two providers in SA. This is particularly noteworthy given it has a considerably smaller discount – showing that sometimes big discounts can be negated by high usage charges. See how AGL and EnergyAustralia compare to other retailers with our Cost Comparison report for SA.
EnergyAustralia keeps it consistent in South East Queensland, while AGL brings the same three products that are available in New South Wales and Victoria.
- Flexi Saver: This plan has a maximum 16% discount on usage rates for paying your bill on time. EnergyAustralia estimates this plan will cost a medium usage household in Brisbane $132 per month. New customers will also have 20% of their electricity sourced through GreenPower for free for the first year.
- Anytime Saver: This includes an 8% discount guaranteed regardless of how or when you pay. This is a variable rate plan with a one year benefit period and no exit fees. The EnergyAustralia website says it expects this plan to cost a medium-usage household $141 a month.
- Rate fix: This plan ensures your rates don’t increase within the next two years. It could be a great choice for those who like a bit more certainty, but it’s a two year lock-in contract and green energy options are not available on a fixed rate. EnergyAustralia estimates this plan will cost a 3-4 person household $144 a month.
AGL offers its standard three plans in South East Queensland, but the discounts are considerably smaller than in other states. Customers who sign up online to any of the below three plans will also receive $25 credit on their first bill.
- AGL Powercombo Savers: This is a variable rate deal with a maximum discount of 12% off usage charges. This discount is comprised of an 11% pay on time discount and a 1% guaranteed discount.
- AGL Savers: The main feature of this plan is its 11% discount on usage charges for paying on time. It is on a variable rate for a benefit period of one year and customers are free to leave at any time without penalty.
- AGL Fixed: A two year contract which freezes your rates, protecting you from unexpected price hikes. Keep in mind however that this is a two-year contract, so there are fees for cancelling early. Additionally, there are no bonus discounts on this plan.
Who is cheapest in Queensland?
We have calculated which energy company is cheaper in Queensland by comparing the expected cost of AGL’s and EnergyAustralia’s highest discounted plans. The best AGL discount is 12% in its Set and Forget deal, while EnergyAustralia’s Flexi Saver discount is slightly higher at 14%. But which plan works out cheaper?
Costs based on yearly usage calculation broken into quarterly payments. Average energy consumption figures from the AER. Usage figures are for a five-person household with no pool on the Energex Network. Rates correct as at January 2017.
EnergyAustralia takes top spot in the Sunshine State, coming in around $16 cheaper per quarter in our calculations. But which retailer is the cheapest overall in Queensland? Find out with our QLD Cost Comparison report.
How to find the best deal?
Both AGL and EnergyAustralia are perfectly viable choices as an electricity retailer. Remember that our price comparisons in this article are specific examples of expected costs. Energy retailers are desperate for your custom and you may be able to organise a better deal by contacting the company directly. Remember to carefully read the energy price factsheets before signing up to an electricity deal to make sure it’s right for you.