A comparison of electricity prices in South Australia

South Australians are slugged the highest electricity prices in the country, which is why it’s hugely important to compare plans and make sure you’re getting the best deal possible. This means understanding energy discounts and how they impact your overall costs. To help you find a cheaper plan, we have compared costs from the biggest electricity providers in SA and show what you can expect to pay with each of them.

Which energy provider is cheapest in SA?

To work out which electricity providers are cheapest in South Australia, Canstar Blue has calculated the daily supply and usage charges of the six major retailers which operate in the state, taking all conditional discounts into account. The estimated quarterly costs below are based on five-person households living in Adelaide. We have compared the electricity plans with the highest discounts available from each energy provider, as these are usually their cheapest plans.

Electricity provider Electricity plan Discount Non-discount cost Discount cost
Lumo Energy Lumo Advantage 12% $704.35 $619.83
Simply Energy Simply Plus 15% $707.06 $610.58
Origin Maximiser 18% $692.52 $580.62
Energy Australia Power Plan 21% $760.64 $617.75
Alinta Energy Fair Deal 20 20% $743.01 $610.28
AGL Set and Forget 16% $694.92 $594.70

Costs based on yearly usage calculations based on statistics from AER for a five-person household. Prices used are based on the SA Power Networks network, current as of October 2016.

As you can see, based on this comparison, Origin and AGL are the two cheapest electricity providers in South Australia, both before and after conditional discounts have been applied. They are the only two providers with estimated quarterly costs under $600. However, this table does paint a rather bleak picture of electricity costs across the board in SA.

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How energy discounts impact your bill

Energy discounts are a great way to drive down overall electricity costs, but there are some things to be aware of, as the table above illustrates. Energy discounts are typically off your usage charges, which make up the biggest expense on your bill, so that’s good. However, be aware that some discounts could only apply to supply charges, which will make much less of an impact on your overall costs. Discounts off your entire bill are preferable, but as a general rule, discounts off your usage charges are most likely to help cut your costs.

Discounts are typically available for paying bills on time, or by direct debit. Some providers will also give you money off if you agree to receive bills via email instead of post. However, discounts are not always as good as they may seem. Generally speaking, providers with the highest discounts may also have the highest usage rates, which would negate any cost savings overall. It’s interesting to note that, in our comparison, AGL and Origin do not have the highest discounts in South Australia, but work out cheaper when all is said and done. Their discounts are as follows:

  • AGL offers a 16% discount off usage charges when you pay by direct debit.
  • Origin has an 18% discount offer usage charges when you pay by direct debit.

Be aware that failing to meet the terms of your discount will not only mean you could lose the benefit, but you could also be charged a fee. Therefore customers who struggle to pay their bills on time may find better value from electricity plans with the lowest base prices. As we have seen in South Australia, AGL and Origin are cheapest both before and after discounts are applied.

The other thing to be aware of in regards to energy discounts is the benefit term. Being able to lock-in a good discount for a couple of years represents a good deal. And no matter how long the benefit period, make sure you pay attention to when it disappears because it may not return and you’ll be left paying more. In the case of Origin and AGL, their discounts both last for 12 months. After that, you may find your costs increasing.

Other incentives

Also be conscious of sign-up incentives. It’s common for the energy companies to offer a rebate on your first bill when you sign up online, for example. Others have rewards programs whereby customers can get money off things like movie and theme park tickets. Lumo Energy has Lumo Ameego – a rewards program that brings discounts at various retailers, restaurants and other entertainment activities. Meanwhile AGL offers flybuys points on the money you spend on bills. While attractive, it’s probably best not to let these incentives dictate your final decision, although they can be a good point of difference if you find two similar plans.

To find the best deal, you need to compare usage and supply charges from different electricity providers, and then work out how much you are likely to save with their respective discounts. Energy discounts are constantly changing and you never know when a better deal might come along. This emphasises the importance of regularly reviewing your electricity plans to make sure you’re getting the best possible deal you can. No one wants to switch electricity providers every year, but the reality is that it takes effort to get the best deals.

Which energy providers are rated highest in South Australia?

It’s natural that consumers will be drawn towards the cheapest electricity prices in South Australia, but it’s also worth considering other factors, particularly customer service. That’s why Canstar Blue produces an annual review of electricity providers in the state to see which are meeting expectations. In 2016, Lumo Energy was rated highest overall. Lumo Energy earned five-star ratings for customer service and value for money, in addition to overall customer satisfaction.

South Australians are paying a high price for electricity, but you can help reduce costs by ensuring you are getting a good deal. Compare plans from other providers and make the most informed decision you can. We hope this comparison proves helpful, because if there is one message to take away from this, it’s that shopping around is hugely important.

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