The Australian energy market has seen an explosion in new retailers in recent years, giving consumers more power and freedom than ever before.
There are some states that still operate under a state government-regulated energy market. The Northern Territory for example has one dominating electricity provider, and two very minor providers. Western Australia has only one provider altogether!
On the other hand New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, the ACT and South Australia are deregulated, giving customers the power to find the best deal. Yet while deregulation has spurred competition, many Aussies are still getting dealt the short straw when it comes to their power bill.
Too little awareness of the different options available means some Aussies are unsure how to change suppliers, or are simply uninterested in their energy plan beyond the ever-rising monthly bill. The fact is, however, that the difference in service between providers can often be considerable. So, here are some tips to help you reduce your monthly bill and get the most out of your provider.
Could you be paying less on energy?
Every consumer can find the best deal if they’re proactive enough – especially if you’re in a deregulated state where you can shop around.
One of the best ways to get more from your provider is to review your current energy plan and see if the company (or an alternative provider) can offer you a better one. Many providers offer several plans, ranging in price, tariff structure and available discounts.
Alternatively, if you’re looking to simply decrease your bill rather than squeeze more out of it, consider downgrading your plan to a basic services one. These are usually the cheapest and often require no contract to be signed, though you won’t get some of the extras that come with other plans. Here are three other questions you need to ask yourself when comparing electricity plans:
Top 3 Tips for Getting a Better Deal
Does your provider offer renewable energy?
With the increasingly interest in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, most energy providers offer their customers the an option to have some or all of their electricity sourced from renewable generators.
Your provider does this by generating from a renewable source the amount of electricity you choose to offset – ensuring you effectively generate no greenhouse emissions. So, if you feel like spending a few extra dollars a month to reduce your carbon footprint, go for it! After all, reducing your power bill isn’t just about spending less money, but being kinder to the environment too!
Renewable energy is also a great starting point to going off the grid. The Government offers healthy rebates into solar paneling and credits for selling power back to the grid. Depending on your own individual circumstances, it may be viable to look into renewable energy to lessen the burden every quarter. Compare solar providers here.
Can you save more energy at home?
There are always going to be more efficient ways to use electricity at home and save yourself money, so it never hurts to review your habits and see what you can improve on. A good resource from the Victorian Government can be found here, and another from the Federal Government here. When looking for ways to save, it boils down to three main things:
- Turning appliances off when you’re out of the room or not using them
- Buying efficient devices (though you may take some time to recoup your investment!)
- Insulating your home to reduce air conditioning or heating costs.
Hot Tip: Proper insulation of your home can save up to 45 per cent off your power bill each year.
When you can’t always rely on your power provider to grant you the best deal, you can look to yourself and your household’s habits to reduce your power bill.
Could you be getting better service?
If you’re unhappy with the customer service you’re receiving from your provider, the best way to improve it is usually to contact them and let them know. Certainly if you have a complaint, let it be heard! Here are some of the best ways to air your complaints to your electricity provider.
If a call to your provider doesn’t yield a satisfying result, in deregulated states it’s easy to switch providers. If you’re convinced that you need to change providers, there’s no better way to choose the most people-friendly provider than from customers themselves. It’s important to assess your own needs and what you want from a provider.
While dealing with energy companies might sometimes feel like a battle of David versus Goliath, the fact is, if you are unhappy with your provider then it is useful to air your complaints to them. It’s important to know that at the end of the day, they are people too and if you are unhappy it can pay to shop around or try to renegotiate a better deal from your current provider.