While AGL and Origin dominate much of the Australian energy market, Red Energy and EnergyAustralia are two of their biggest challengers, particularly in New South Wales and Victoria. With a good mix of discounted plans and rewarding offers available, they present a viable alternative to the two big power companies. So, how do they compare and who works out cheapest where you live?
In this report, we review the electricity plans of Red Energy and Energy Australia across the states they serve, and show how much their plans are likely to cost you. While the names of their plans remain fairly consistent across the country, be sure to read the specific details in your state because their details and prices can vary significantly.
Red Energy provides two basic electricity market offers to households in Victoria, while Energy Australia has three options to navigate, including a fixed rate plan. Both of Red Energy’s plans come on no-contract terms with variable rates, meaning the amount you are charged for electricity usage or supply can change at the retailer’s discretion.
- Living Energy Saver: This Red Energy plan is available with no fixed term contract. It comes with a 10% discount off your entire bill when you pay on time, which is something of a rarity as most providers offer discounts on usage charges only. This plan includes access to Red Energy’s Rewards program whereby customers get cheaper deals on a number of different goods and services with selected partners. You can receive your emails by email and there are no exit fees.
- Living Energy Saver Green: As the name suggests, this plan is similar to the one above, but the difference is that it includes 100% GreenPower – a commitment from Red Energy to purchase the equivalent amount of power that you use from renewable resources. This comes at an extra cost to consumers, in this case an additional 5.83 cents per kWh. Red Energy Rewards are also available with this plan, as is email billing. There are also no exit fees.
Two of Energy Australia’s electricity plans for Melbourne and the rest of Victoria come with variable rates and different discounts, while the third offer allows customers to lock in their usage and supply rates for two years.
- Flexi Saver: This plan comes with a potential discount of 32% off electricity usage charges. You get 30% off if you pay your bills on time, plus a further 2% by agreeing to receive your bills and other communications by email. This Energy Australia offer comes with a one-year benefit term and has no exit fees. Energy Australia claims this plan will mean an average monthly cost of $72.
- Anytime Saver: A more basic electricity plan from Energy Australia, this comes with a guaranteed discount of 18% off usage charges. It also has a benefit period of one year and there are no exit fees. Energy Australia says this plan will result in estimated costs of $78 per month. This could be a good option for those who are worried about losing their discount from the above plan by not paying their bills on time.
- Rate Fix: This is Energy Australia’s fixed rate electricity plan for Victoria, meaning customers will pay the same rates for usage and supply over the length of the two-year contract. Exit fees apply if you cancel the contract early. Households can expect to pay $77 per month with this plan, according to Energy Australia.
New South Wales
Red Energy and Energy Australia offer a similar range of plans in Sydney and the rest of NSW as they do in Victoria, but with some subtle differences. In the case of Red Energy, it offers one variable rate plan with a two-year benefit term, while the other comes with no lock-in contract, as opposed to Victoria where both deals are available on no contracts terms.
- Living Energy Saver: This Red Energy plan provides a 10% discount off your entire bill when you pay on time. You can also benefit from Red Energy Rewards, with money off things like movie and theme park tickets, as well as shopping and eating out. The plan has email billing and a two-year benefit term. Exit fees apply if you cancel the contract early.
- Easy Saver: Red Energy’s second electricity offer in New South Wales, this also comes with a 10% discount off your whole bill when you pay on time. The difference is that you are not locked into a contract and the plan doesn’t come with access to Red Energy rewards.
Energy Australia also shakes things up for its customers in NSW with a fixed rate plan thrown into the mix alongside its other two discounted offers.
- Flexi Saver: This variable rate plan over 12 months comes with a maximum discount of 20% off usage charges – 18% for paying on time and an additional 2% for receiving your bills and correspondents via email. Energy Australia claims this plan will result in an estimated monthly cost of $80. There are no exit fees
- Anytime Saver: Another variable rate plan, the difference with this offer is that it comes with a guaranteed discount of 12% off usage rates, not conditional on whether you pay bills on time. There is a one-year benefit period, with no exit fees. Energy Australia estimated this plan will cost households in NSW $84 per month.
- Rate Fix: This is Energy Australia’s fixed rate plan for two years. With it, customers are protected against any changes to usage or supply charges. This is a two-year contract and exit fees apply. Energy Australia says customers can expect to pay $84 per month with this plan.
Who’s cheapest in NSW?
So, we know about Red Energy and Energy Australia’s electricity plans in New South Wales, but who actually works out cheapest? We’ve crunched the numbers behind their plans with the highest discounts to give you an answer. To do this, we have calculated their respective usage and supply charges, and taken the savings from their conditional discounts into account. The following table shows what an average five-person household can expect to pay.
|NSW||Red Energy||Easy Saver||10%||$449.68|
|NSW||Energy Australia||Flexi Saver||18%||$439.89|
Costs based on yearly usage calculation broken into quarterly payments. Average energy consumption figures from the AER for a five person household on the Ausgrid network. September 2016.
There is an important lesson to learn here. While the Flexi Saver plan from Energy Australia has easily the highest discount on paper, the Easy Saver plan from Red Energy isn’t much more expensive. The biggest headline discounts do not always mean you’re getting the cheapest deal. You can see how these two providers compare with other energy companies in NSW with our cost comparison report.
The big difference with Red Energy’s electricity plans for South Australia is that they don’t offer access to its rewards program, while Energy Australia increases its plan options for households in Adelaide and the rest of the state with a fourth to consider. In the case of Red Energy, you still get the opportunity of choosing between a two-year contract and no fixed term.
- Living Energy Saver: In South Australia, this plan from Red Energy comes with a 10% discount off your entire bill for paying on time. It has a two-year benefit period and exit fees will apply if you cancel the contract early.
- No Exit Fee Saver: Red Energy’s second plan in South Australia comes with no contract and no exit fees, as the name suggests. However, it only offers a discount of 3% off your entire bill when you pay on time.
Energy Australia offers the same three electricity plans as it does in New South Wales, but with another high discount contract also thrown into the bargain, providing plenty of choice for households in South Australia.
- Flexi Saver: This time the variable rate Flexi Saver plan from Energy Australia brings a maximum discount of 20% off usage charges, provided you pay on time and receive bills and other communications via email. It has a benefit term of 12 months and there are no exit fees. Energy Australia gives an estimated cost of $99 per month for this plan in SA.
- Anytime Saver: Energy Australia also offers its guaranteed discount plan in South Australia, with customers able to bank on 12% off usage rates. This plan also has a one-year benefit term with no exit fees. It’s estimated this plan will cost you $104 per month.
- Rate Fix: This fixed charge offer for South Australia is available over two years, protecting households against rate changes during the term. Energy Australia estimates this plan will cost you $114 per month.
- Power Plan: This offer from EnergyAustralia provides a 21% discount off usage rates when you pay on time, with a benefit period of two years. It has a variable rate and exit fees apply. Energy Australia claims this plan will cost you $96 per month.
Who’s cheapest in South Australia?
Let’s compare the highest discounted plans from Red Energy and Energy Australia to work out which offers the cheapest electricity costs in South Australia. The Power Plan from Energy Australia has a discount of 21%, compared to Red Energy’s Living Energy Saver plan with 10% off. But which works out cheaper? We’ve done the maths by calculating their usage and supply charges, before applying the discounts. This comparison is for five-person households with average energy consumption.
|SA||Red Energy||Living Energy Saver||10%||$633.92|
|SA||Energy Australia||Power Plan||21%||$617.75|
Costs based on yearly usage calculation broken into quarterly payments. Average energy consumption figures from the AER for a five person household on the SA Power Network. September 2016.
Just like in NSW, the plan with the lower discount is not too much more expensive overall. This emphasises the point that it’s important to do your homework before signing up to a new energy plan – don’t automatically assume the biggest headline discount means you’ll get the cheapest rates. Find out how these two energy providers compare to others in South Australia with our cost comparison report.
How to get the best deal?
Like all energy providers, Red Energy and Energy Australia are desperate for your custom. But to find out if you’re really getting a good deal, we suggest drilling down further into their respective electricity price factsheets for specific information about usage and supply charges. It’s also worth checking how they are both rated by customers in your state.