Which supplier is best for gas in South Australia? Canstar Blue compares Origin and AGL based on customer satisfaction, including bill clarity, customer service and value for money.
* 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.
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Canstar Blue research finalised in February 2017, published in February 2017.
See our Ratings Methodology.
The South Australian gas market is becoming increasingly competitive, but for now it remains dominated by the country’s two biggest energy companies – AGL and Origin. So how do these suppliers stack up in the minds of their customers? To find out, Canstar Blue annually surveys households across the state, and their feedback is reflected by the star ratings you see above.
In the battle of the big two, Origin comes out on top with five stars for customer service, bill clarity and overall customer satisfaction. AGL received four-star reviews in each of these areas. These results mirror those from Queensland where Origin also beat AGL in a straight shootout between the two.
While Origin and AGL dominate the majority of the South Australian gas market, it’s important to remember that there are other suppliers out there equally capable of sending you a gas bill at the end of the month or quarter. Other notable gas suppliers include EnergyAustralia, Simply Energy, Alinta Energy and Lumo Energy, but keep in mind that the smaller retailers tend to only offer gas as part of a packaged deal with electricity. If you’re happy with your existing electricity provider but would like to switch gas suppliers, Origin, AGL and EnergyAustralia are likely your only options. However, there is usually value to be had from paying for both electricity and gas with the same provider, as discounts are often applied for doing so. Whatever your situation, it can pay to shop around. If you haven’t switched providers in a couple of years or more, there’s a good chance you could save money by switching to a new deal that offers a discount.
If you’re worried about signing up with a smaller gas supplier, remember that these companies are simply the customer-facing part of the service. They handle your billing and other enquiries, but it’s the gas distributions that are actually responsible for your supply. In South Australia, the gas distributor is Australian Gas Networks (formerly Envestra). This is who you should contact in the event of a gas leak or other emergency.
The gas you use for your hot water system or stove cooktop comes from a number of different sources. The majority of natural gas (around 60%) is used to generate electricity, and the rest is piped to households and businesses throughout the distribution network. South Australia’s gas is sourced from Victoria, Queensland and the Cooper Basin, with six transmission pipelines then delivering the gas to Adelaide and major regional areas. The retailers purchase this gas and sell it onto their customers. Transmission and distribution costs can account for as much as 50% of your final bill. Households who can’t access the natural gas distribution network can purchase liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
In South Australia, natural gas typically costs around 2-4 cents per megajoule (MJ) – the unit of measurement for gas. The exact price you’ll pay depends on a number of factors, including your retailer, plan and tariff. In SA, gas retailers charge for gas in ‘blocks’ of daily usage. For example, you might pay 3.6c per MJ for the first block of 30 megajoules, followed by 3.2 cents per MJ for the next block of 20 megajoules, and then 2.2c per MJ for all remaining usage. It’s important to check your energy price factsheets for the rates you pay. Some suppliers charge for gas in two daily blocks, while others charge in multiple increments. To put these prices into perspective, the average gas oven will use around 12 megajoules an hour.
In addition to these usage charges, also pay close attention to the daily supply charges on your price factsheet. These are the costs you need to pay simply for the pleasure of being connected to the gas network. These can add a significant amount to your bill – anywhere from 60c to 80c each day. It’s entirely possible that gas supply charges will contribute more to your overall bills than usage charges, especially if you don’t use gas for water heating.
Customers connected to the gas distribution network can access one of two types of contracts with their supplier – standard contracts and market contracts. Understanding the difference is the first step to saving money.
Market contracts will almost always work out cheaper than standard contracts, provided that customers meet the conditions of their discounts. Market contracts can come with variable or fixed rates.
If you haven’t switched plans in recent years, you will likely save money by switching to a new offer with a conditional discount.
Ultimately though, you will need to get to know usage and supply charges, and compare rates between different providers. If you think you’re paying too much for gas, you probably are.
Canstar Blue commissioned Colmar Brunton to survey 6,000 Australian adults 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 South Australia and pay the gas bills in their household – in this case, 225 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. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. 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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