Energy Bill Credits Explained

With sweeping changes across the retail energy market rocking the industry a few years back, you may have noticed a few things different about your power plan. Not only have the retailers updated their prices in accordance with strict new regulations, some providers have ditched the flashy discounts and replaced them with… bill credits instead.

While discounts are still offered by some retailers, there’s been a noticeable increase in bill credits made available on energy plans – old and new.

Canstar Blue’s Energy Editor Jared Mullane said the regulations have forced retailers to comply with the provisions of the Default Market Offer (DMO) in New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia, and the Victorian Default Offer (VDO) in Victoria, both of which act as a ‘reference price’ from which energy plans with bill credits and discounts must be compared.

“Some energy providers have turned to bill credits as a new point of difference, and to attract new customers who are trying to navigate their way around an industry previously riddled with confusing, and in some cases, misleading discounts,” Mr Mullane said.

“In the wake of default pricing, most power companies change their products every year around January or July, promoting features of a plan in a transparent way, whether it’s a credit off bills or a modest discount. Bill credits give the retailer another tangible marketing tool, which can be good for consumers if the deal is competitive, but can also create a new layer of confusion.

“Just like with discounts, it’s also important to understand the conditions of the bill credits being offered, because in many cases these credits act as a loyalty program to keep customers with the retailer in question. You’ll still need to make sure you’re getting a competitive deal.”

What is a Bill Credit?

What is an Energy Bill Credit

A bill credit is similar to a conditional discount, serving as an amount deducted from the customer’s power bill, either as an ongoing incentive or a once-off feature. Customers receiving bill credits will generally need to satisfy their energy provider’s conditions, such as paying bills on time or via direct debit. Bill credits may also be offered for customer loyalty, handed out every six or 12 months, for example.

Other types of bill credits may include a sign-up offer, email billing or when you refer a friend. Keep in mind that you’ll still need to read the provisions of your plan carefully to ensure you’re entitled to a credit off your energy bill. Furthermore, you should also be aware that sometimes a bill credit could be hiding increased usage and supply charges, meaning the base rates you pay for electricity may be higher than other market offers.

Compare Energy Plans

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 3900kWh/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 4600kWh/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 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.

What is an Anniversary Bill Credit?

An anniversary credit is a type of conditional discount, where customers are rewarded for their loyalty. Anniversary credits will usually apply to a bill where the customer remains on a contract for the nominated benefit period (i.e. 12 months), and where the terms of the plan would otherwise allow the customer to exit the contract during this period.

So, what’s the verdict on bill credits?

As the energy landscape continues to transform, it’s difficult to tell just yet if these bill credits will provide more savings than discounts. However, it is safe to say that bill credits and discounts alike aren’t the only features of an energy plan worth looking into.

To ensure you’re getting a great deal, it’s best to compare your options from a range of different energy providers. If it’s time to say goodbye to your current plan or you’re curious to know what else is out there, jump onto our comparison tool below where you can compare products side by side at zero cost. Get started now!

Image credits: Steve Lovegrove/Shutterstock.com, Niyazz/Shutterstock.com, Simply Energy

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