Do you live in south-east Queensland? Do you think you’re paying too much for electricity? If the answer is yes, then you’re probably right. Because while households in other states of Australia have been able to pick from a growing number and variety of different energy plans over recent years, consumers in Brisbane have been stuck on the same old energy tariffs, with minimal price competition. However, you can still do something about it by finding the best electricity provider and the cheapest electricity plan for your home. That’s our aim in this report.
The state of play in Queensland
Before we help you find a better deal on your electricity, it’s important to have an understanding of how the Queensland electricity market currently stacks up. The amount energy companies charge for power is dependent on a number of factors, location being one of them. However, daily usage charges often vary little around the country. What you pay to watch your television for an hour in Victoria won’t be too dissimilar to what you pay in Brisbane. However, what is different is that households in Melbourne can benefit from significant energy discounts, which help to reduce overall costs – thus making that quiet evening at home a little cheaper.
Energy discounts are available because of intense competition between energy retailers following the lifting of price restrictions (known as deregulation). A Canstar Blue review of electricity plans in Victoria found that discounts of 28% or more are common, with some energy providers offering up to 35% off usage charges for meeting certain conditions – usually paying bills on time, or by direct debit. Make no mistake, this will save a household hundreds of dollars each year. Compare this to Queensland where there is less competition and the electricity providers don’t offer such favourable discounts, even following the lifting of price restrictions in July 2016. However, it is still relatively early days.
Will deregulation help?
New energy companies have started to take an interest in the Queensland market since the lifting of price restrictions (which we’ll come to shortly), but for now deregulation has done little to reduce costs. The biggest conditional discount on electricity you will find in Brisbane is currently just 15%.
Queensland’s Productivity Commission found that deregulation would boost competition and potentially lower electricity prices – and it’s easy to see why when you compare average costs in Brisbane with those in Victoria, the most mature energy market in Australia. But so far prices show no sign of coming down. In fact, prices increased by an average of 3% after July 1, when the energy companies set their prices for the next 12 months.
Which electricity provider is cheapest in Queensland?
It has never been more important to try and find the best deal on your energy. So, where can you find the cheapest electricity prices in Brisbane? We have the answer. Based on the cents per kWh usage prices and daily supply charges of the six energy providers we’ve compared, plus average energy consumption figures, the following table shows estimated quarterly costs for households on the Energex network in Brisbane. The comparison is based on the highest discounted market offers from each provider, showing costs once available discounts have been applied.
|Electricity provider||Electricity plan||Discount||Non-discount cost||Discount cost|
|Dodo Power & Gas||No Term Market Offer||15%||$561.88||$495.08|
|Energy Australia||Flexi Saver||16%||$563.16||$491.84|
|Simply Energy||Simply Plus||15%||$577.01||$503.39|
|AGL||Set and Forget||12%||$563.28||$507.55|
|Mojo Power||Energy With Benefits (Basic)||0%||$546.30||$546.30|
Prices based on yearly usage calculations based on statistics from the Australian Energy Regulator for a five-person household. Prices used are based on the Energex network, current as of 10 October 2016.
This cost comparison shows that Mojo Power is currently cheapest in Brisbane before conditional discounts have been applied. Once you factor in the discounts, Energy Australia and Dodo Power & Gas become the cheapest options. We have compared prices for five-person households, but these costs should also be a good guide for smaller households.
Energy discounts in Queensland
Energy discounts are crucial in bringing down the cost of your bills, but it’s important to understand exactly what you’re getting. Discounts are typically available for paying your bills on time, or by direct debit, and some providers will give you money off for receiving your communications by email instead of post, or for signing up online. Here are some questions you should get the answers to when it comes to discounts:
- Is the discount off your entire bill, or just usage or supply charges? As usage charges make up the majority of your bill, this should be your preference, although some providers do take discounts off your entire bill.
- How long is the benefit period? It’s typically that the headline discount offers you see will only apply for the first year of your plan. After that, you will start paying the non-discounted cost – which as you can see from the table above, are a lot more expensive.
- What are the conditions of your discount and what happens if you don’t meet them? Most people will find it easy to pay their bills on time or by direct debit, but failing to do so one billing period could result in you losing the benefit all together. You could even be slugged a fee.
Our comparison of Queensland electricity plans shows that, at the time of publication, Click Energy offers the highest conditional discount. This is 15% off usage and supply charges when you pay your bill on time, by direct debit, and receive communications via email. This is an ongoing discount off your entire bill, which could prove very useful in the long-run.
When it comes to weighing up your options, you should also consider any additional incentives offered by the electricity retailers. These are unlikely to dictate your final decision, but they can be a helpful point of difference when looking at comparable plans. Lumo Energy, for example, boasts an online rewards program which gives customers discounts on things like fuel, movie and theme park tickets, as well as reduced prices at selected retailers. Lumo Energy also has an energy plan that sees customers earn Velocity Frequent Flyer points. Other incentives are a little more basic, with AGL giving a $25 credit to your bill when you sign up online, for example. You can also collect flybuys points with AGL. While these incentives should not dictate your final decision, they can be helpful if you are likely to make maximum use of these bonuses.
New electricity providers in Queensland
Queensland does not have as many electricity retailers competing for your business as Victoria or New South Wales, but at least one new provider has entered the market since it was deregulated in mid-2016. That retailer goes by the name of Mojo Power. As you can see from our price comparison above, Mojo Power is slightly different to other electricity providers because it does not offer any discounts as such. Instead it promises access to wholesale rates, provided you first subscribe and pay a monthly or annual fee.
Mojo Power’s usage prices in Brisbane are about 16% cheaper than the market average and its supply charge is 72% cheaper. However, the savings are offset because you need to purchase one of three Energy Passes to access these rates in the first place – costing between $30 and $50 per month, although you can save money by buying a year’s membership upfront. While Mojo Power does not appear particularly competitive in our comparison, households with very high electricity usage could save money because they are purchasing power at a lower rate.
While Mojo Power is the only new addition to Queensland at the moment, it’s expected that others could follow.
Highest rated energy providers in Queensland
Energy discounts help reduce your energy costs, and incentives are a nice bonus, but the most important thing to consider when selecting an energy plan is the overall value it offers you. It’s also worth considering other factors such as customer service, because no one wants to feel like they’re not being heard when you have a query or problem to raise. That’s why Canstar Blue annually surveys households in Queensland to find out how they rate their electricity provider on factors like value for money, customer service, and most importantly, overall customer satisfaction. In 2016, Click Energy was rated highest overall.
The key message to take from this comparison is that it’s always a good idea to review your energy plans and assess other offers on the market. Households in Brisbane do not get the best deal on electricity, so unless you’re happy paying over the odds, make sure you shop around.