Choosing electricity

How to choose an electricity provider

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In this article, Canstar Blue discusses how to choose an electricity provider. By simplifying the process with the following steps, finding an electricity provider will seem far easier, leaving you with choice and control.

1. Price

Depending on location and average energy usage, the difference between the cheapest and most expensive electricity plans can be hundreds of dollars a year. However, the cheapest electricity plan may not always be the best plan for your needs, especially if you prioritise other factors.

Paying a little more is sometimes worth it for great customer service or amazing perks. This could mean choosing an energy retailer with an Australian-based call centre, but consider what else is included. One retailer might offer extra incentives, such as free movie tickets and another may offer frequent flyer points. One electricity company may be more expensive than another, but compare the value that they both offer before making a decision.

The following retailers are well-known for competitive prices:

Cheap electricity plans in Australia

For those wanting to reduce electricity costs, below are some of the cheapest electricity plans across New South Wales, Victoria, South East Queensland and South Australia.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Ausgrid network in Sydney but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 3911kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Citipower network in Melbourne but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Energex network in Brisbane but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4613kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the SA Power network in Adelaide but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4011kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

2. Customer service

An energy provider may offer cheap prices, but it could mean cutting back in important areas, such as customer service. Quality customer service means more than just the way a phone is answered and by whom. Consider whether an electricity provider offers social media pages, a responsive email service and whether the provider’s contact number is difficult to find.

Something that could offer clarification is Canstar Blue’s annual electricity providers ratings. Companies across New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and South East Queensland are rated by their customers on a range of factors, including customer service. If great customer service is a priority, factor this in when choosing a new electricity provider.

The following electricity retailers have performed consistently well in Canstar Blue’s customer satisfaction ratings:

3. Renewable energy

Picking an energy provider can also depend on your interest in renewable energy. Some electricity providers are heavily invested in renewable energy assets rather than coal-fired power stations and offer green options, either included or as an add-on.

Some power companies that focus on greener energy include:

4. Simplicity

Understanding electricity providers and their competitive prices and offers can be confusing. Some energy providers offer conditional discounts that require you to pay on time or via direct debit. Others may offer large discounts off the bill upfront, but charge high usage or supply rates (or both) – so you may get a lower overall price on an undiscounted plan with better rates.

Introduction of the reference price – or default tariff – has allowed energy customers a simplistic approach by moving away from discounts and focusing on competitive, transparent prices. Doing so has meant that customers can easily understand and compare energy plans and avoid missing out on a discount.

The following retailers stand out as offering a simple, no discount alternative:

5. Helpful tools

As the energy industry becomes more innovative, some retailers are focusing their efforts on creating insightful, user-friendly tools that help customers save money. One of these innovative tools are energy apps that allow customers to monitor their energy usage in real time.

Another tool that gives energy customers more control is the Canstar Blue comparison tool, created to help customers compare their energy provider’s prices to other offers on the market.

Retailers with some innovative tools include:

Image credits: Osabee/Shutterstock.com

 

Katrina Hasdell
Energy Content Producer
Katrina Hasdell is an Energy Content Producer at Canstar Blue, where she covers Australia’s retail energy market. Katrina is dedicated to providing consumers with easy-to-read information on their energy options so they can get better deals on electricity, solar power and more.

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