Wouldn’t it be great if the details of electricity plans were easy to understand and you could see an accurate comparison of costs before signing up with a new provider? At Canstar Blue, we like to make sense of the complicated and in this report we show consumers in New South Wales what they are likely to pay with the state’s major energy companies.
Based on the cents per kWh usage costs and daily supply charges of the energy companies in this review, plus average energy consumption statistics from the Australian Energy Regulator, we can show households that are connected to the Ausgrid network in Sydney and the surrounding areas (including Newcastle and the Central Coast) where they can find the cheapest electricity prices. The Ausgrid network covers large parts of inner, northern and eastern metropolitan Sydney, plus other surrounding areas. Costs for other distribution networks of NSW may differ slightly.
Compare NSW Electricity Plans
Which electricity provider is cheapest in NSW?
There is often a perception that electricity prices vary little between different providers, but as you will see from the comparison table below, they certainly can do. So, where can you find the cheapest electricity plans in NSW? These annual costs are based on five person households with average energy consumption. We’ve selected the cheapest offer from each provider.
|Electricity Provider^||Electricity Plan||Discount||Annual Cost*||Benefit Period|
|AGL||Set and Forget||28%||$2,359.82||1 year|
|Alinta Energy||Fair Deal 27||27%||$2,398.51||2 years|
|EnergyAustralia||Anytime Saver||26%||$2,441.47||1 year|
|Amaysim Energy||Electricity 2||40%||$2,442.78||Ongoing|
|Origin Energy||Maximiser||23%||$2,462.02||1 year|
|Powerdirect||Market Offer||22%||$2,472.18||1 year|
|Dodo Power & Gas||Market Offer||30%||$2,476.67||Ongoing|
|Simply Energy||Simply Plus||18%||$2,518.96||2 years|
|Red Energy||Living Energy Saver||10%||$2,567.96||Ongoing|
|Energy Locals||Save Me||0%||$2,589.26||Ongoing|
|CovaU||Freedom 1||20%||$2,600.61||2 years|
|Click Energy||Click Agate||35%||$2,646.35||Ongoing|
|1st Energy||1st Saver||22%||$2,681.51||2 years|
|Diamond Energy||Market Offer||10%||$2,935.27||2 years|
|Momentum Energy||SmilePower Flexi||0%||$3,079.91||1 year|
|Mojo Power||Mojo Connect||0%||$3,113.28||Ongoing|
*Costs based on annual usage statistics from AER for a five person household on the Ausgrid network in Sydney, May 2018. One non-exclusive energy plan per retailer shown.
^By clicking on a brand name, you may leave Canstar Blue and be taken to a referral partner to compare. You agree that Canstar Blue’s terms and conditions apply to this referral. If you click on a brand that is not a referral partner, you will be taken to a brand page on Canstar Blue.
Based on these cost calculations, we can see that AGL, Alinta Energy and EnergyAustralia currently offer the cheapest electricity rates in Sydney, after all their conditional discounts have been applied. Other big energy companies such as Origin and Red Energy are not far behind. It’s worth noting, however, that most of the cheapest electricity products in this list are for a limited benefit period of just one or two years. Once this time is up, the discount is no longer available and your bills will increase unless you contact your provider to renew your contract.
These cost calculations are based on one postcode on the Ausgrid network in NSW. To find specific quotes for your suburb, use our comparison tool above.
Fixed vs variable rate plans
Most of the electricity plans listed above are variable rate plans, meaning the prices you are changed can change at the retailer’s discretion. Some energy providers also offer fixed rate plans, whereby you can lock in competitive prices now with the aim of saving in the long run. Fixed rate plans are usually only offered by the big three power companies. However, EnergyAustralia is currently the only one of the big three to offer NSW households a fixed rate deal with its Secure Saver plan. In this case, usage and supply rates are locked in for two years, which could prove a financially beneficial move in the long run.
How to get the best energy discounts
Energy discounts are important, but that’s not to suggest that the energy provider with the biggest headline discount offer will always work out to be the cheapest, because this is quite often not the case at all. Red Energy typically offers modest discounts, but with lower base rates, is often one of the most competitive overall. This is helped by the fact that its discount applies to your entire bill, not just usage charges. This is another point to consider when comparing offers.
You could knock hundreds of dollars off your bill over the course of a year if you stick to the conditions of the discount. Most energy companies will provide some kind of discount for things like paying your bills on time, by direct debit, or for receiving communications via email. However, make sure you understand the details of any discounts, including whether it is a discount off your entire bill, or just usage or supply charges.
Also remember that energy discounts are conditional, which means that if you fail to meet the conditions of your plan, the discount will be removed and you will go back to paying the full rate. You may even incur a fee, too.
Check the benefit period
Energy discounts can significantly reduce your overall power costs. However, it’s hugely important that you understand the benefit term of the plan you’re signing up to. The benefit term is the period of time that the discount on your energy plan applies. In most cases, the benefit term will be just 12 months, although some providers offer discounts over two years. Simply Energy is one example in our NSW comparison. After the benefit period ends, your discount could disappear and you’ll be left paying the non-discount price for the electricity you use. Some retailers, including Dodo Power & Gas, Click Energy and Powershop, offer ongoing discounts.
Other sign-up incentives
You can also take into consideration any additional sign-up incentives offered by the energy companies. These incentives should not dictate your final decision, but they can be a useful point of difference if you’re comparing two similar providers. Incentives could include a rebate on your first bill when you sign up online, or a gift voucher for a particular retail store. Red Energy goes even further in terms of incentives, giving its customers the opportunity to join its rewards program whereby they can earn special deals on things like cinema tickets and eating out. AGL customers can earn flybuys points for every dollar they spend on energy.
Questions you should ask:
To summarise, here are some questions you should ask any prospective energy provider before signing up:
- Are you offering me the plan with the lowest usage rates?
- How much are the supply charges and how do they compare to other plans?
- Is there a contract? How long is it? Are there any exit fees if I leave?
- What discount can I get off my bill and how do I quality for the discount?
- What is the benefit term of the discount? Will it disappear after a year?
- Can you offer me any additional sign-up incentives?
Even if you’re not switching, these are still good questions to ask your existing energy provider to make sure you’re currently getting the best deal possible.
Which electricity provider is rated highest in NSW?
For many households, the cost of energy will be the most important factor when signing up to a new plan. However, other considerations, particularly customer service, are also worth giving some thought. Everyone wants low prices, but at what cost? This is why Canstar Blue annually surveys electricity bill-payers across NSW to find out how they rate their provider based on a number of variables, including customer service, bill clarity and value for money. In 2018, Red Energy is the highest rated provider in NSW for overall customer satisfaction.
While this price comparison report looks at the biggest electricity providers in NSW, it’s important to know there are many more to choose from – more than 20 in fact. Competition between the retailers is intense, which is great news for consumers looking to reduce their costs. There are opportunities to save money, provided you are willing to look.
Switching electricity providers is clearly not a priority for every household – some will be genuinely happy where they are, and that’s great – but if there is one message to take away from this report, it’s that regularly comparing plans is a good idea if you want to reduce the amount you pay for electricity. You might just find a good deal.