Canstar Blue
Value Rank Methodology – Electricity

Last updated: May 2024

What does the Canstar Blue electricity comparison tool compare?

Canstar Blue’s electricity comparison tool, allows consumers to compare the estimated annual price of a plan against its included features for each of these three main categories:

  • Plan Flexibility – renewable and green energy offering, contract terms, and additional services and initiatives
  • Billing and Payments – statement and billing options, payment options and payment frequencies
  • Customer Service and Support – enquiries, self service, customer satisfaction, and research, tools & education

What are the types of plans compared on the electricity comparison tool?

Canstar Blue’s electricity comparison tool compares single rate and single rate with controlled load plans. The following eligibility criteria are applied for electricity plans.

Tariff Type Description Eligibility Criteria
 

 

 

 

Single Rate

 

 

 

Standard residential retail electricity tariff for general residential electricity supply.

Consumers pay the same price for each kilowatt-hour (kWh) used, or pay a stepped usage rate for ‘blocks’ of electricity consumed.

Plan must be available under a single rate tariff which may be called:

  • Anytime rate
  • Flat rate
  • Peak rate
  • Standard rate
  • Tariff 11

Does not include:

  • Demand tariffs
  • Solar feed-in tariffs
  • Specific Controlled load plans
  • Tariff 12
  • Time of Use tariffs
 

 

 

 

Single Rate with Controlled Load

 

 

Residential electricity tariff dedicated to large, high energy-usage appliances that are often metered separately to the rest of the property and run on off-peak times (usually overnight).

Controlled load tariffs may be used for hardwired appliances, such as, but not limited to, hot water systems, pool pumps, or, underfloor heating.

Plan must be eligible under single rate tariff (as above) with the availability of a controlled load tariff, or, plans must be a controlled load specific plan, which may be called:

  • Controlled Load 1
  • Controlled Load 2
  • Off-peak
  • Tariff 31
  • Tariff 33
  • Two-rate tariff

Does not include:

  • Tariff 35

How are electricity usage estimates determined?

Canstar Blue’s electricity comparison tool is based on an estimated annual electricity usage from the relevant regulator/government body as per below.

  • NSW, South East QLD, SA: Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER) Default Market Offer (DMO) Price Determination for residential customers
  •  VIC: Essential Services Commission’s (ESC) Victorian Default Offer (VDO) price review for residential customers
  • ACT: Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission’s Utilities (Representative Consumption) Determination
  • TAS: Office of the Tasmanian Economic Regulator’s Typical Electricity Customers in Tasmania 2022

Usage is split out per distributor region and tariff type.

State/Territory Distributor region Annual Usage Assumptions (in kWh)*
Single Rate Single Rate + Controlled Load
 

 

 

NSW

Ausgrid 3,911 kWh 4,813 kWh

single rate

2,005 kWh

controlled load

Endeavour Energy 4,913 kWh 5,214 kWh

single rate

2,206 kWh

controlled load

Essential Energy 4,613 kWh 4,613 kWh

single rate

2,005 kWh

controlled load

OLD Energex 4,613 kWh 4,412 kWh

single rate

1,905 kWh

controlled load

SA SA Power Networks 4,011 kWh 4,212 kWh

single rate

1,805 kWh

controlled load

 

 

 

VIC

AusNet Services 4,000 kWh 4,000 kWh

single rate

2,000 kWh

controlled load

Endeavour Energy 4,000 kWh 4,000 kWh

single rate

2,000 kWh

controlled load

Essential Energy 4,000 kWh 4,000 kWh

single rate

2,000 kWh

controlled load

Endeavour Energy 4,000 kWh 4,000 kWh

single rate

2,000 kWh

controlled load

Essential Energy 4,000 kWh 4,000 kWh

single rate

2,000 kWh

controlled load

ACT Evonergy  6,100 kWh 6,300 kWh

single rate

2,500 kWh

controlled load

TAS  TasNetworks 2,947 kWh 3,125 kWh

single rate

4,303 kWh

controlled load

 

How does it work? How is the display order determined?

The plan’s display order (Value Rank) is determined by the Price Score and the Feature Score. Canstar ranks Electricity plans based on value for money. The Value Rank takes into account a plans’ estimated annualised price (the ‘Price Score’) and features offered as compared to the market (the ‘Feature Score’). The plans that are lower in cost and have a higher Feature Score will be ranked higher than plans which have higher cost and a lower Feature Score.

The Value Rank incorporates a Price Score weighted at 80% and a Feature Score weighted at 20%.

Electricity Value Rank Value Score

 

 

Price Score

The Price Score is based on the estimated annual price of a plan. The estimated annual price includes usage charges, supply charges, and any discounts included in the plan. The lowest cost plan will receive the top score with all other plans receiving a score relative to the lowest cost plan.

The following is a general representation for calculating the estimated annual price of a plan:

Annual Cost  = Usage Charge (365 days) + Supply Charge (365 days) + Additional Cost  –  Discounts

The following assumptions are applied in the calculation of estimated annual price:

Period Number of days in the current financial year (ending 30 June).
Usage Charges Applied against the usage outlined with consideration to (where applicable):

  • Single/Standard/All Usage Rate Pricing.
  • Usage Tiering (e.g. first 0 to a kWh is charged at x cents/kWh, second a to b kWh is charged at y cents/kWh, etc.)
  • Seasonal Usage (e.g. summer and winter pricing).
  • Controlled Load Usage.
Supply Charges Applied against the number of days in the year (per Period).
Additional Costs Additional cost of plan within the annual cost period. Includes any annual fees, monthly fees or membership fees. Does not consider connection fees or account establishment fees.
 

Discounts

Where a discount is applicable they are applied against the appropriate (supply, usage or whole bill) charges. Guaranteed discounts are applied against the appropriate charges to the full period considered. Conditional discounts, such as direct debit and on-time payment, are applied against
the appropriate charges, and are assumed to be met 80% of the time.

Feature Score

Canstar Blue’s Energy Feature Scores use a unique methodology that compares the functionality and flexibility of electricity providers and their plans. Over 100 features are captured on each plan and grouped into three categories as outlined below:

  • Plan Flexibility – renewable and green energy offering, contract terms, and additional services and initiatives
  • Billing and Payments – statement and billing options, payment options and payment frequencies
  • Customer Service and Support – enquiries, self service, customer satisfaction, and research, tools & education

The plan with the highest Feature Score is allocated the maximum score, with all remaining products within the profile scored against it.

Description Weight Examples of Features Captured
Plan Flexibility 40%
Renewable and Green Energy Offering 50% The presence of renewable initiatives such as solar and green offerings.
Contract Terms 40% Contract and fixed-price period.
Additional Inclusions and Initiatives 10% Rewards programs and bonus sign-up incentives.
Billing and Payments 30%
Billing 40% Billing options, frequency, alerts and notifications.
Payments 60% Payment options, payment and account fees and charges.
Customer Service and Support 30%
Enquiries 35% Availability of call centre, store, online support, and other support services such as hearing impaired, vision impaired, and interpreter services.
Self Service 35% Accessibility for customers to manage their account online; accessibility of bill statements (including historical), and usage insights.
Research, Tools & Education 10% Accessibility to educational material, tools and calculators, FAQs, and community forums.
Customer Satisfaction 20% Customer service satisfaction score from Canstar Blue’s Customer Satisfaction rating (if no rating, then median score).

The feature categories are displayed on Canstar Blue’s comparison tool as a rounded number between 1 & 10. The unweighted scores of the feature categories are used for this display purpose.

Electricity Value Rank Feature Score Example

Does Canstar rate all products in the market?

We endeavour to include the majority of product providers in the market and to compare the product features most relevant to consumers in our ratings. However, this process is not always possible and it may be that not every product in the market is included in the rating nor every feature compared that is relevant to you.

How often are plans reviewed for the electricity comparison tool?

Canstar monitors changes on an ongoing basis; the Value Rank, Price Score, and Feature Scores of each plan are calculated every day.

How are the plans ordered?

Canstar ranks electricity plans based on value for money. Whereby, the Value Rank takes into account a plans’ estimated annual price and features offered as compared to the market. The plans that are lower in price and have a higher Feature Score will be ranked higher than plans which have higher price and a lower Feature Score.