2017 Business Electricity Plans & Providers
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Compare electricity providers for business at Canstar Blue. AGL, Origin, EnergyAustralia and Synergy reviewed on value for money, customer service, billing clarity and accuracy, energy-efficiency advice, self-service facilities, payment plan options and overall business customer satisfaction in 2017.
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Canstar Blue research finalised in July 2017, published in September 2017.
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EnergyAustralia powers ahead for business electricity
Just like with your home energy supply, falling into the trap of not regularly comparing electricity plans and providers for your business can prove a costly mistake. But that’s exactly where many small Aussie businesses find themselves, with the cost of power a major financial concern for many. Businesses will always look at ways to reduce their overheads, but one of the most significant expenditures often goes overlooked. Whether your business is struggling with the cost of energy or not, it’s always a good idea to regularly compare quotes and find out which providers are doing right by their business customers.
Canstar Blue conducts an annual review of electricity providers for small business, surveying hundreds of business owners and key decision-makers across Australia, to find out how they rate their retailer based on important factors, including billing clarity and accuracy, customer service, payment plan options and value for money. For the second year in a row, EnergyAustralia has been rated highest, earning five-star reviews from business customers in five of the seven research categories. Origin rated four stars overall, ahead of AGL and Synergy on three stars.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, no retailer rated top marks on value for money – identified as the main driver of satisfaction for business energy customers. Even if your business is getting a good price, it probably uses lots of energy and those monthly or quarterly bills can still put a dent in the budget. This year’s research found that:
- Small businesses spend an average of $1,586 a quarterly on electricity
- The cost of power is the greatest financial concern to 44% of small businesses
- 57% of survey respondents believe their business gets a good deal on energy
This year’s survey also found that 42% of small businesses negotiated a specific plan with their provider to meet their energy needs. This could be the best way to go as retailers like to offer tailored electricity solutions. However, many also provide a range of standard plans for businesses to choose from. Even if your business has a specific plan in place, it’s still important to regularly compare your options to ensure you’re still getting a good deal. There are many business electricity providers out there all desperate for your business, so make sure you shop around.
Business Electricity Providers
While big energy retailers like AGL, Origin and EnergyAustralia dominate the business electricity market just like they do the general consumer market, it’s important to realise there are several other providers out there equally capable of offering your business a good deal. Some offer business plans in addition to their mainstream residential products, including the likes of Lumo Energy, Red Energy, Alinta Energy and Momentum Energy, while others specialise in business energy supply. These retailers include:
- Blue NRG
- ERM Business Energy
- Next Business Energy
Some of these retailers operate nationally, but others only service a particular state or two. While going with one of the big guys may seem like a safe bet, it’s certainly worth comparing quotes from a range of providers in your area – such as these – before agreeing terms with one. However, keep in mind that price is just one factor to consider when it comes to an importance utility for your business. You will also want an energy retailer that offers comprehensive customer service when you need it, as well as online tools to help you manage and review your account.
Let’s take a look at what Australia’s big three energy companies are offering new business customers.
EnergyAustralia Business Electricity Plans
For small businesses, EnergyAustralia offers a comprehensive range of electricity plans, including a fixed rate contract where usage and supply rates are locked in for two years. This could be a good solution for businesses already concerned about the rising cost of power as fixed rate plans provide some protection against price increases for the duration of the agreement. For those that don’t want to fix their energy rates, EnergyAustralia also offers two variable rate plans, where prices change annually. They are:
- Basic Saver – Business: This is a one-year variable rate contract with a potential discount of up to 22% off usage charges, depending on your state. Half of the discount is guaranteed, while the other half applies when bills are paid on time.
- Everyday Saver – Business: This is a two-year variable rate contract with a guaranteed discount of up to 20% off usage rates, depending on your state.
Both energy plans come with the same daily supply and usage rates. Exit fees also apply. EnergyAustralia recommends its Basic Saver plan to new customers.
EnergyAustralia additionally offers an online account service for business customers to view their billing history, set up direct debit payments, pays their bills and downloads tax invoices.
Origin Business Electricity Plans
Origin gives business customers two main electricity products to choose from, including an online-only offer that brings a significant discount off usage charges – up to 28% depending on your state. The plans are:
- Origin Supply: This plan is described by Origin as ‘just the basics’ with no contract period or exit fees. It comes with flexible billing and payment options.
- Business eSaver: This plan comes with a maximum discount of up to 28% off usage charges for receiving bills and other correspondents by email, depending on your state. There is a one-year benefit period and exit fees apply.
Whichever plan your business chooses Origin provides an online account management platform to take care of bills, monitor usage history and fulfil other related tasks.
AGL Business Electricity Plans
AGL has two variable rate and one fixed rate electricity plan for business customers to choose from, with huge headline discounts of up to 38% off usage charges available, depending on your state. These plans are as follows:
- Business Everyday: This contract is described by AGL as suitable for businesses with low energy usage. It comes with a guaranteed discount of up to 25% off both electricity usage and supply charges. It has a two-year benefit period and no exit fees.
- Business Savers: This contract is targeted at businesses with high electricity usage. It comes with a guaranteed discount of up to 38% off usage charges. Again there is a two-year benefit period and exit fees do not apply.
- Business Fixed: This is AGL’s fixed rate electricity product for businesses. With rates locked in for two years, it is described by AGL as suitable for customers looking for more certainty from their power bills. There is no discount available, but once again there are no exit fees.
All three plans come with flexibly payment options and access to AGL’s My Account online service where customers can keep close tabs on their usage and billing history, as well as fulfil all the usual tasks.
Which business electricity provider should you go with?
The good news is you have plenty of options to consider when it comes to picking an electricity provider for your business, with retailers big and small. The big three mentioned above are clearly viable options, but it’s also worth investing a little time in comparing some of the smaller retailers, too. This is especially true if you’re interested in a more tailored solution to match your specific electricity needs. Whichever retailer you go with, the most important thing is that you get into the habit of regularly reviewing your options. No business wants to pay more for a service than it needs to, so make sure you do something about it. Even if you think you’re getting a good deal, it doesn’t hurt to shop around.
Frequently asked questions
Canstar Blue commissioned Colmar Brunton to survey 800 Australian small business owners or decision makers (i.e. the main decision maker for the small business) across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have an electricity account used for business purposes and the business pays the bills – in this case, 439 small business owners/decision makers.
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.