Do you live in VIC and are looking for a better electricity plan for your home? Compare electricity providers, plans and rates in VIC with Canstar Blue.
* Overall satisfaction is an individual rating and not a combined total of all ratings. Brands with equal overall satisfaction ratings are listed in alphabetical order.
^ By clicking on a brand or ‘details’ button, you will leave Canstar Blue and be taken to our referral partner to compare. You agree that Canstar Blue’s terms and conditions apply to this referral. If you click on a brand that our referral partner does not cover, you will be taken to a brand page on Canstar Blue.
Canstar Blue research finalised in December 2015, published in January 2016.
See our Ratings Methodology.
No one likes paying for electricity, but it’s an inevitable consequence of running all of those home appliances, televisions, air conditioners and, if you’re lucky, a swimming pool. However, what you do have a choice over is which energy company you decide to pay for supplying your electricity. And customers in Victoria have the greatest choice of all, with 21 different retailers all desperate to power your home for you.
So which one can you trust to provide competitive prices, easy to understand billing information and a level of service you should expect? At Canstar Blue, we make it our business to find out which electricity providers are getting things right, by surveying more than 1,400 bill-payers across Victoria. Over the previous five years, three different energy retailers have topped our customer satisfaction ratings for The Garden State – Red Energy, Lumo Energy and Momentum Energy. But in 2016, we are able to announce a new winner, Powershop. Powershop was rated 5 Canstar Blue stars in Overall Customer Satisfaction for Electricity Providers in Victoria in 2015.
Companies need a minimum of 30 responses to be included in our ratings, and this is the first year that Powershop has featured in the final results. One of the newest additions to what is a hugely competitive Victorian energy market, Powershop launched its retail business in Victoria as recently as 2014, having become a major player across the Tasman Sea – topping our customer satisfaction ratings in New Zealand for four years in a row. Part of Meridian Energy, Powershop is a 51% New Zealand state-owned enterprise. You may recognise the brand from its cheeky advertising campaigns featuring a power socket smiling face in various guises.
An online energy retailer with no fixed term contracts, Powershop boasts that it puts customers in control of their energy. The company says you’ll know exactly how much power you’re using and what it will cost you before you get your bill – thanks to your smartphone. It also sends out weekly emails so you can keep track of your electricity use and how it compares to previous periods. Powershop’s happy-go-lucky image certainly seems to be a hit with its customers in Victoria as they have awarded it five-star ratings in every research category, including customer service, billing clarity and accuracy, and even value for money – which is no mean feat considering most of us pay our power bills through gritted teeth.
Consumers in Victoria may not realise that they have more choice over which electricity provider they use than people in any other state. Victoria leads the way in Australia when it comes to energy regulation and consumer choice, having become the first state to introduce Full Retail Competition in 2002. Before that, Victorians would have been served by one of the big three energy companies – AGL, Origin Energy or EnergyAustralia. Full Retail Competition allowed other retailers to enter the energy market and compete with those incumbents. Now, there are 21 providers to pick from, all licensed to operate in the state by the Essential Services Commission – the body responsible for ensuring compliance with, and enforcement of, Victoria’s energy retail customer protection laws and codes.
Victorians have been able to choose electricity providers since Full Retail Competition was introduced, with the aim of increasing competition in the energy market and giving consumers more choice. That, at least in theory, would lead to reduced energy costs. New South Wales followed Victoria’s lead in introducing Full Retail Competition that same year, while South Australia followed suit in 2003 and Queensland in 2007. While Full Retail Competition meant new entrants were able to join the market, energy prices in Victoria were still regulated by the state government until 2009. Deregulation means the electricity retailers can now charge whatever prices they want. South Australia deregulated energy pricing in 2012 and it took until 2014 for New South Wales to do the same. Queensland is yet to deregulate electricity prices, but the state government looks set to do so in the near future.
The Victorian energy market is the most mature in Australia, with more electricity retailers meaning that consumers in the state are the most likely to switch. In the last five years, 50% of households in Victoria have moved to a new electricity provider, our research shows. Of those bill-payers, 82% are pleased they switched and 77% say they have saved money on power bills as a result. But some people are clearly still not content, as 45% would like to switch again. Why do people switch electricity providers? Just over half (51%) did so in the search of cheaper rates, but 18% simply took the opportunity when they moved home. Meanwhile, 11% were sick of the poor customer service they received from their pervious retailer and 9% said they were tempted after an approach from another energy company. But what about those who haven’t switched in the last five years? What is holding people back? We found:
Meanwhile, 4% are sticking with their provider because they benefit from a rewards program and 2% have concerns about losing their power supply if they switch.
Switching energy providers is probably up there with going to the dentist when it comes to things you’d rather not do, even if deep down you know something needs to change. It can seem like a very confusing and daunting thing to do, but the good news is that switching electricity providers has never been easier. It could begin with simply registering your interest in switching on another provider’s website and waiting for them to call you with details. There are also various websites dedicated to helping you compare tariffs. Look at the ratings table above and click on the name of the provider you’re interested in switching to.
Whatever you decide to do, you shouldn’t be worried about losing your power supply if you do switch providers, because electricity is supplied to your home through the same infrastructure in your area regardless of the name on your bill. The energy retailers are simply the customer-facing business which handles your energy contract, sets the prices you pay and deals with your enquiries. The energy distributors get the power to your home, with different distributors responsible for different geographical areas. There are five electricity distributors in Victoria:
Essential Energy also serves a small number of customers in regional Victoria. See the Australian Energy Regulator website for further details.
There are a few things that you, the customer, are entitled to expect from your electricity retailer, including a fair price on the power you use. But in order to get the best value you can, you’ll need to understand the difference between the tariffs on offer from your provider, which can be very difficult. That, in turn, makes good customer service extremely important. So what do Victorians expect from their providers? We found the drivers of customer satisfaction to be as follows:
While value for money is most important to customers across the country, Victorians are the most concerned about customer service, our research shows. With so much competition between providers in the state, it seems consumers are looking for alternative points of difference, and service is one of them. The energy retailer that strikes a good balance between price and customer service will be onto a winner with customers. And in Victoria in 2016, it’s Powershop that has been rated highest.
Canstar Blue commissioned Colmar Brunton to survey 6,000 Australian consumers across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who live in Victoria, have an electricity account, and pay the bill – in this case, 1,403 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then alphabetically. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
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