New energy switching rules a win for customers after quicker savings

The time it takes to switch energy providers is about to become much quicker under new rules that aim to benefit consumers.

From October 1, customers switching to a new power company will need to be transferred from their existing retailer within two business days of signing up.

This means that Aussies looking to change to a cheaper provider today will no longer have to wait up to 90 days for their accounts to be taken over. Instead, they’ll be able to switch and take advantage of their new provider’s cheaper rates in as little as 48 hours.

Australians who are sick of paying high electricity prices or receiving poor customer service will be more inclined to switch once these rules come into effect, ReAmped Energy’s CEO Luke Blincoe said.

“Aussie families have been paying too much for their power for a long time and switching retailers is probably the best way to fix that,” he said. “We are very supportive of any move that makes it easier and faster for people to switch.

“Up until now customers’ switches were delayed until a meter read was provided, or the winning retailer would have to pay for a special meter read – but as the retailer committed to offering the best prices in Australia, we believe unnecessary costs are a drag. In the end, it’s the consumers who pay for the red tape and we applaud the decision to get rid of some.”

Mr Blincoe noted that some companies won’t be in favour of these changes, as it encourages more customers to shop around given switching times will be greatly diminished.

“If the big retailers say they don’t like this change it is because they don’t like losing customers. The incumbents make the most money off their loyal customers who find it hard to switch. We call this a ‘loyalty tax’ and the sad fact is, the longer you’ve been with one of the big guys the worse your deal is likely to be.

“ReAmped encourages everyone to take this news as a reminder to see what you could save with another provider. Canstar Blue is a good place to start looking, and you should find us at the top of the list.”

Energy Switching Deals

Click on the relevant tab below to compare energy prices from some of Australia’s cheapest providers in each state.

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.

Why are these new switching rules being introduced?

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) launched an inquiry into electricity prices back in 2018, which outlined a list of recommendations to the industry regulators. One of these recommendations stated that the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) ‘should make changes to speed up the customer transfer process.’

It was noted that the quicker a customer could be switched, the less time the ‘losing’ retailer would have to be able to entice the leaving customer with a cheaper rate or better offer. Given that customer transfer times could take up to three months, switching didn’t guarantee savings straight away for the consumer.

These changes will likely encourage retailers to make their best deals available at all times, not as a safety measure to retain customers who have decided to switch.

A 10-day cooling off period will still apply to residents who change providers, meaning they are free to exit the contract in this time without incurring any breakaway costs.

Findings from one of Canstar Blue’s latest surveys uncovered that 58 per cent of bill-payers believed switching proved to be a good financial decision, while almost a quarter (23%) of respondents said they would like to switch in the near future.

AGL welcomes new switching rules

Big three energy retailer AGL has also backed the changes, which stated the company already undertook extra steps to speed up switching times for customers.

“AGL welcomes the Australian Energy Market Commission’s (AEMC) final rule determination on reducing customer switching times between retailers,” an AGL spokeswoman said.

“Previously, a waiting period of up to 90 days has applied to customers seeking to switch retailers. However, for several years AGL has focused on expediting these transfers for customers by implementing special meter read processes.”

Traditionally, a final meter read would need to be carried out by the existing electricity provider to handover the account, and the timeframe would depend on when the last meter reading took place. Even households with a digital or smart meter would still need to wait around 10 business days for the transfer to be completed.


Image credit: ViDI Studio/Shutterstock.com

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