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 in recent years, consumers in Brisbane have been stuck on the same old energy tariffs, with minimal price competition. However, times are changing and you can now do something about it, by finding the best electricity provider and the cheapest electricity plan for you. 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 understand 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 huge energy discounts, which help to reduce overall costs – thus making that quiet evening at home in front of the TV a little cheaper.
Energy discounts are available because of intense competition between energy retailers following the lifting of price restrictions. Canstar Blue’s review of electricity plans in Victoria shows that discounts of 30% or more are common, with some energy providers offering up to 40% off usage charges for meeting certain conditions – usually paying bills on time, or by direct debit. 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 overall costs. The biggest conditional discount on electricity you will find in Brisbane is currently just 16%. However, there are still plenty of opportunities to save – you just need to know what to look for.
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 overall prices show no sign of coming down, so it’s important to find the best deal of the bunch currently on offer. That’s where we can help.
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 and the surrounding areas? We have the answer. Based on cents per kWh usage prices and daily supply charges of the energy providers we’ve compared, plus average energy consumption figures, the following table shows estimated quarterly costs for households with single rate tariffs on the Energex network. This is everywhere from the Sunshine Coast to the Gold Coast, including Brisbane and Ipswich.
We have compared the highest discount market offers from each provider, showing costs before and after conditional 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|
|Mojo Power||Energy With Benefits (Basic)||0%||$546.30||$546.30|
|Click Energy||People Power||15%||$603.65||$513.10|
|Powerdirect||Residential Market Offer||8%||$563.28||$526.13|
|Red Energy||Easy Saver 10%||10%||$555.02||$499.52|
Costs based on yearly usage calculations based on statistics from AER for a five-person household. Prices used are based on the Energex network, current as of January 2017.
This cost comparison shows that Mojo Power is currently cheapest in Brisbane before conditional discounts have been applied. Once you factor in the discounts, EnergyAustralia and Dodo Power & Gas become the cheapest options. We have compared costs 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 will 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 rates – 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 EnergyAustralia currently offers the highest conditional discount at 16% of usage charges. However, this discount is only available if you sign up online, pay your bills on time, and receive bills via email. There is a one-year benefit period, after which you will start paying the full rate. There are no exit fees.
Click Energy is also worth a mention as its 15% discount applies to your entire bill and is ongoing for as long as you stick with the plan. Dodo Power & Gas also has an ongoing discount off usage charges. These are fairly rare examples of retailers having discounts that do not expire after a year or two. These may be good options if you don’t much like the idea of switching providers every 12 months or so.
When it comes to weighing up your options, you should also consider any additional incentives offered by the electricity retailers. These should not 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. 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. Meanwhile Simply Energy has a specific offer for RACQ members that results in an extra discount off usage charges.
New electricity providers in Queensland
Queensland does not have as many electricity retailers competing for your custom as Victoria or New South Wales, but three new providers have entered the market since it was deregulated. They are Mojo Power, Red Energy and Powershop.
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 and supply charges in Brisbane are cheaper than the market average, but the savings are largely negated 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. However, you can save some 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.
Powershop is a unique case because its best prices are available by purchasing packs of power in advance at cheaper rates. The costs listed above for Powershop are based on the purchase of an Online Saver pack each month, but further savings are possible if you buy larger packs for future use. Meanwhile Red Energy is more of a straightforward energy provider, simply delivering easy to understand plans and competitive prices.
How to save on electricity in Queensland
As we’ve established, Queensland does not have as many electricity providers as other states, but you can still save money if you’re a savvy energy shopper. It’s as simple as knowing what type of contract you’re on, and what discount you are eligible for.
- There are two types of energy contracts in SE Queensland – standard contract and market contracts. If you’re still on a standard contract, you are paying too much. Contacting your retailer and asking to be moved onto their cheapest market offer is the quickest and easiest way to save hundreds of dollars a year.
- Even if you’re already on a market contract, you could still be paying too much. This is because the cheapest deals are available through the sort of conditional discounts we discussed previously. These have benefit periods, so if you’ve been on the same market offer for a couple of years, you will also be paying too much and could save by switching to a new discounted offer.
Electricity prices do not need to come down for you to save money, and the increased competition in SE Queensland should ensure you have even more opportunities to save. You need to take these opportunities.
Highest rated electricity 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 important factors like value for money, customer service, and most importantly, overall customer satisfaction. In 2017, AGL and EnergyAustralia have been 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. There are savings to be found.