Canstar Blue’s annual review of NSW electricity providers compares AGL, Alinta Energy, EnergyAustralia. Dodo, Origin Energy and Red Energy on their customer service, bill & cost clarity, tools & advice, focus on environmental sustainability, ease of sign-up, value for money and overall satisfaction.
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Compare latest electricity plans and prices for New South Wales
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The energy market has undergone a period of change with new regulations that have claimed to make comparing power plans even easier. That’s good news for electricity customers in New South Wales who often pay some of the highest prices in the country. However, that’s not down to a lack of price competition, with Sydney residents able to pick from more than 30 residential providers. The state has become one of the most hotly contested for the retailers, but with all this competition comes confusion. The providers will all promise you a great deal, but which can you trust? You’ll clearly want competitive rates, but what about good customer service, too? And maybe even some great rewards?
Finding the best electricity company and plan for your needs and preferences comes down to a lot more than just the cheapest prices, with sign-up incentives, bill credits and ongoing rewards programs all giving households plenty to think about. To help make the decision-making process a little easier, Canstar Blue conducts an annual review of electricity providers. This year, more than 2,300 bill-payers across the state have given us their feedback on their electricity provider, based on factors including customer service, bill & cost clarity, online tools and advice, ease of sign-up, and value for money. The idea is to give you as much information about the compared providers as possible, to help you make a more-informed decision. Get all the details below.
Here are some sponsored 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 energy 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 and to see other products in our database that may be available. 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.
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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 and to see other products in our database that may be available. 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 the best electricity providers in NSW as rated by customers in Canstar Blue’s latest satisfaction survey:
Red Energy tops the table for the eighth year in a row – that’s a remarkable endorsement of the company and a great sign that it generally gets things right by its customers. Remember, this is not to suggest that Red Energy is the cheapest provider, but that its customers are the most satisfied with the overall level of service that they receive. Origin trailed closely behind when it came to overall satisfaction, earning four stars, while Dodo, Alinta Energy, AGL and EnergyAustralia scored three stars overall.
Read on as we explain everything you need to know about power companies in NSW, and how to get a better deal from them. But first, you can use our comparison tool to compare plans in your area, or keep going for a selection of cheap deals from our database.
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 and to see other products in our database that may be available. 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. The next three tabs feature products exclusively from AGL, EnergyAustralia and Origin.
Here are the AGL Energy plans on our database for NSW. These are products from a referral partner†. 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 and to see other products in our database that may be available. 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 the EnergyAustralia plans on our database for NSW. These are products from a referral partner†. 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 and to see other products in our database that may be available. 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 the Origin Energy plans on our database for NSW. These are products from a referral partner†. 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 and to see other products in our database that may be available. 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.
Owned by renewable energy generation company Snowy Hydro, Red Energy operates across New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the ACT, keeping things fairly simple with only two or three market offers for prospective customers to consider. Most plans come with variable rates, meaning usage and supply charges can be changed at the retailer’s discretion. However, there are no contract terms or exit fees to worry about if you decide to leave. Aside from great customer service, Red Energy’s biggest selling point is its partnership with Qantas which sees customers pocket two Frequent Flyer points for every dollar they spend on bills.
Origin has always been a retailer offering a comprehensive range of options for residents, and after strict new energy industry regulations came into effect in July 2019, not much changed. Origin offers a mixture of fixed and variable rate offers, most of which come with a 12-month benefit period. One of its plans even dishes out Everyday Rewards points to customers. Most of Origin’s plans hold a modest amount off the reference price, except for Basic, which serves up the same rates as the reference price and has no conditional discounts. All plans come with no exit fees or lock-in contracts. Origin is also one of Australia’s leading solar retailers, with specific plans for customers who own solar panels.
Perhaps best-known as a phone and internet provider, Dodo completes the full set of home services by also selling electricity and gas. Dodo operates across most eastern states, with a single variable rate market offer to its name that carries rates a decent amount less than the reference price. Dodo is owned by the Vocus Group, the company behind lots of names in the telco industry, including iPrimus and Commander. Dodo’s big selling point is that customers have the convenience of dealing with just one company for all their home services. It also gives away three months of free internet for customers who sign up to an electricity and NBN plan, although this offer may not always be available.
A major gas and electricity retailer in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia, Alinta Energy is one of the greatest challengers to the big three – AGL, Origin and EnergyAustralia. Alinta is owned by Hong Kong’s Chow Tai Fook Enterprises but is still headquartered in Sydney. Alinta Energy has one market offer for households to consider. Where previously Alinta was known for its big discounts, its current offer has scaled back to offering no discounts at all, focusing rather on competitive rates. Additionally, customers also have offers access to Alinta Energy’s rewards program, bringing potential savings on entertainment activities like movie tickets, as well as money off electronics from some major brands.
AGL generally offers a couple of market contracts to households, with differing rates and conditions based on different preferences. AGL’s current line-up gives NSW customers the choice between two variable rate offers, both with a range of value-add incentives. The company also offers its own rewards program called AGL Rewards which brings various discounts and savings on gift cards, plus money off movie tickets and restaurant meals. AGL also offers specific solar plans to customers with solar panels, as well as a dedicated AGL seniors plan for eligible customers with a senior’s concession card.
EnergyAustralia has revamped its product range to provide customers with variable rate market offers. No longer offering conditional discounts on any of its plans, EnergyAustralia has moved towards ‘simplifying’ its offerings, with its most heavily marketed plans providing reasonable usage and supply rates. Its plans avoid exit fees and lock-in contracts. The retailer also offers a ‘basic’ plan which sits equal to the reference price.
In addition to the market offers mentioned above, all six providers also have standard power contracts in NSW. These are ‘default’ plans some customers may be on if they have never switched retailers or haven’t moved onto a new deal for several years. Standard contracts are usually significantly more expensive than the cheapest market offers.
While prices change all the time, the likes of Sumo and AGL are consistently some of the cheapest retailers in NSW. However, with more than 30 companies operating across the state, finding the cheapest energy provider will require some research on your behalf.
It’s also important to not overlook other features offered by electricity companies, such as customer service, billing options, value-add incentives and rewards programs. Although price will generally have the biggest influence when making a decision, it’s worth knowing which brands go that little bit further for your business.
It now only takes two business days to switch energy providers and transfer your account to a new retailer. Under revised rules, your old electricity provider will have 48 hours to finalise your account using an estimated bill, before sending your details to your new provider.
The entire switching process is usually handled online or over the phone in a matter of minutes, with all the paperwork taken care of by your new retailer.
To compare electricity providers, simply enter your details into our comparison tool. This includes typing in your suburb or postcode and then hitting the compare button. By doing this, you’ll be able to review a range of companies available in your specific area with prices reflecting the appropriate default yearly usage amounts according to the distribution network.
The Canstar Blue comparison tool is free to use and does not require a phone number. You can also input your previous energy bill details for a specific comparison based on your household’s general usage. Our comparison tool allows you to assort deals by brand, plan name, price, value score and more.
To switch providers, use our comparison tool to choose a retailer based on your personal circumstances. Once you’ve landed on a suitable product, you will be directed to your chosen provider’s site where you will be required to input some of your details.
Keep in mind that the sign-up and switching process may be handled differently between providers, and remember to review all plan information directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision. Your new power company should provide you with any details relevant to switching and will normally handle the breakup from your old provider on your behalf.
This page was written and is regularly updated by Canstar Blue’s energy content producer, Kelseigh Wrigley. As a qualified journalist, Kelseigh aims to light the way for everyday Aussies, helping them find a better deal on their energy plan. Whether it’s value for money, new incentives, deals on gas or solar, Kelseigh is keen to help customers put money back in their pockets.
To get the cheapest possible deal for your household, you will need to take into consideration all the factors previously mentioned, including:
When you spell everything out like this, it’s easy to see why many consumers find the subject of energy confusing. In an effort to simplify matters, Canstar Blue’s price comparison report for NSW shows overall estimated prices for the power suppliers mentioned in this report. Based on average usage figures and market contract pricing for single rate tariff households on the Ausgrid network, we show that customers could save hundreds of dollars by switching to one of the cheapest offers available. The ‘cheapest’ doesn’t automatically mean ‘best’, but if the bottom line is all you worry about then our report is certainly worth a look.
Ultimately, it’s all about educating yourself on the options available to you. The retailers are required by law to publish all their energy price fact sheets online, so use the information gathered in this report and check out the facts and figures with your own eyes. Our customer ratings also offer you an insight into how the big brands in the state are performing in the eyes of those paying the bills, so be sure to keep these details in mind too.
The list below features all the available electricity providers in NSW.
Find out which brands are available in your area by using our free comparison tool. Please note that some of these companies only operate in certain areas.
There are many power retailers in operation now, but it wasn’t long ago that households in Sydney and the rest of the state were stuck with one of the big three companies – Origin, EnergyAustralia or AGL – with no other brands able to challenge their dominance. It’s for this reason that they continue to supply almost 80 per cent of customers in NSW, according to Australian Energy Regulator (AER) Retail Energy Market Performance Update for Quarter 2, 2020-21. If you don’t remember signing up to one of these companies, you were probably transferred over when one of them absorbed your old retailer.
The NSW electricity market began to change in 2002 when the State Government introduced ‘Full Retail Competition’, meaning that smaller retailers could provide alternative options for consumers. However, while Victoria lifted its pricing restrictions way back in 2009 – and South Australia followed suit three years later – the NSW retail market remained regulated by the state’s Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal until 2014, so there was little or no financial incentive for customers to switch before then. This was a story replicated in Queensland where price regulations were only lifted in 2016.
Electricity price deregulation means the power companies are free to set their own plans, prices and conditions – resulting in a plethora of new entrants into the market. The benefits of deregulation are still up for debate, but the fact is that households have never had so many providers to choose from, presenting the opportunity for consumers to save if they shop around, or just use new offers as leverage to negotiate a better deal with their existing supplier. However, in order to save, you must have at least a basic understanding of the different providers, contracts and plans available. Read on for details.
In July 2019, energy retailers in NSW had to adapt to a range of new industry regulations designed to make power more affordable and make comparing plans easier. After years of often confusing, big discount plans that commonly didn’t result in the savings that they might suggest, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) stepped in to introduce a new, regulated price cap for customers who were previously paying the most. These customers, on standing offers, were switched onto a new Default Market Offer (DMO) price determined by the Australia Energy Regulator (AER). This is a consistent price across all retailers, unlike with the old standing offers. This soon resulted in notable savings for these customers, while the DMO also acts as a reference price for all market offers, including those with discounts. All plans must now be compared to the AER Reference Price, displaying a percentage ‘less than’, ‘equal to’ or ‘more than’, so consumers can see which plans really offer the best value.
NSW is home to more than a dozen solar farms, contributing significantly to the state’s power supply. Yet the state remains dependent on a handful of coal-fired power plants to meet its power demand. Most of these stations are owned by the big three companies – AGL, Origin, EnergyAustralia – and one of the most well-known (and controversial) is ‘Liddell’ in the Hunter Valley. Owned by AGL, the aging Liddell power station has been flagged for closure in the coming years. However, AGL has faced pressure from the state government to keep the plant open beyond its scheduled closure date to ensure adequate supply for the region. AGL, which has committed to ‘getting out of coal’, has even turned down an offer from Alinta Energy to purchase the station.
You may not realise that there are three different electricity distribution networks covering NSW. This is important to know because the network you live on could have a big impact on your bills, with distribution costs accounting for as much as 50 per cent of your overall bills. The three distribution networks are:
Retailers will have different prices for their plans on each network, meaning that the amount an Origin customer (for example) pays on the Ausgrid network will be different to what an Origin customer will pay on the Endeavour network, even if their plans are the same. As a homeowner, there is little you can do about this. However, if you are renting a home and take utility costs seriously, you could look into different prices before deciding which suburb to move to, because it could save you a significant amount.
The first step in saving money on costs is to understand what type of energy contract you are on. There are two types of contracts:
Canstar Blue’s database shows that some customers still stand to save hundreds of dollars a year simply by switching from their provider’s Default Market Offer to its cheapest market contract, provided they stick to the terms and conditions. The latest figures from the AER show that about one in ten households across NSW remain on the default price, and while this is much lower than they were previously paying on standing offers, more significant savings could still be made. The DMO is not designed to be a great deal, but a fairer price ‘safety net’ for those who do not engage in the market.
NSW may be behind other parts of the country when it comes to the uptake of solar power, but power suppliers in the state still offer some of the most generous feed-in tariffs. Rates of up to 18c/kWh are on offer for exported energy, but be aware that the highest feed-in tariffs do not necessarily translate to the cheapest overall bills. When comparing solar plans, it’s important to pay as much attention to the usage and supply charges as the feed-in tariff being offered.
For most households, usage charges will make up the majority of overall costs. However, you should still pay close attention to supply charges which can vary significantly between brands and plans. For small households, supply charges will generally make up a higher proportion of overall costs. But for homes with high usage requirements, usage charges will be the main culprit of large bills.
To get the best deal on your electricity supply, you will need to understand how different tariffs work and how they can impact your overall costs. Some tariffs, however, will only be available if you have a smart meter installed at your property. Tariffs available in NSW are:
If you have a single rate tariff, you will pay the same usage charges no matter what the time of day, up to a point. This is because ‘block rates’ are usually applied to single rate tariff usage charges, with households charged differently depending on how much power they consume. In most cases, customers will pay the highest prices for the first ‘block’ of power they use during the day (usually around 10kWhs) and then less for each following block. There is usually only a marginal difference between the costs of these blocks, but they are still worth being aware of.
Regardless of whether a household has a single rate tariff or time of use tariff, they will still be able to benefit from having a ‘controlled load’. A controlled load, or ‘dedicated circuit’ as it is often called, is effectively a separate circuit that allows you to meter selected high-usage appliances independently from the rest of your home. A controlled load will usually be used to power the electric hot water system in your home. Pool pumps could also be powered this way to reduce swimming pool costs. Controlled load prices will be much lower than normal usage rates, but are only applicable for a few hours each day (between six and eight hours). Households can also add a second controlled load with other big appliances. These can be applied for up to 16 hours per day, but the usage rates will be higher than the first controlled load.
There are a wide variety of different market contracts on offer, usually differentiated by headline discounts or other sign-up incentives, such as ‘bonus credit’ when you sign up online. While some electricity retailers offer multiple market contracts for households to choose from, others have a far more concise range. Dodo only has one residential market offer, while Red Energy and Alinta Energy have two or three. The big three retailers, Origin, AGL and EnergyAustralia, provide between two and four market contracts each. These could include both variable and fixed rate plans.
There are other providers doing things a little differently across the state. Energy Locals, for example, gives customers an opportunity to support to charities via their bills.
To make them stand out from the crowd, some plans come with headline-grabbing discounts, usually off usage charges for either paying bills on time, paying by direct debit, getting bills via email, or for signing up online. Discounts of more than 20 per cent were common before new regulations took effect, and while several retailers still offer various discounts, they now look much more modest and are generally easier to understand. Many have ditched discounts altogether, replaced by bill credits or other incentives.
If conditional discounts don’t really appeal to you, you will find a range of other sign-up incentives offered by retailers. Alinta Energy has a plan that brings a basic subscription to Kayo Sports during the life of the contract, while those with Red Energy can collect Qantas Frequent Flyer points for paying their bills on time. It’s also common for companies to throw $50-$100 in sign-up credit at new customers, especially if they sign up online.
The following electricity providers offer some form of rewards program to customers in NSW, bringing savings on various leisure and social activities, including eating out, accommodation and even theme park tickets.
Given that NSW is one of the most competitive markets for the retailers, some of these sign-up incentives and rewards programs are not available in other areas.
To help reduce utility costs, there are a range of different energy rebates available for households in Sydney and surrounding areas. Customers with low incomes, dependent children and certain medical conditions could be eligible for financial support towards their gas and electricity costs.
Due to its sheer size and population, the city of Sydney is supplied by two electricity distribution networks – Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy. Ausgrid covers a large part of Sydney’s households and major city area, while Endeavour takes care of the city’s west. Electricity rates can vary between the distribution networks, so you could be paying more or less for power than your friends two streets away on the other network. Outside of Sydney, many areas are covered by the Essential electricity network.
Sydney suburbs on the Ausgrid electricity network include:
Sydney suburbs on the Endeavour electricity network include:
Like other highly-populated parts of NSW, if you live in Newcastle or the surrounding areas, you’ll have quite a few electricity providers to choose from. Like Sydney, Newcastle is on the Ausgrid electricity network.
Here are the main suburbs covered by the Ausgrid network in Newcastle:
The Ausgrid network also covers the NSW Central Coast, which includes the following suburbs:
Wollongong falls on the Endeavour electricity network, including the following suburbs:
Coffs Harbour is on the Essential electricity network. Suburbs in this area include:
Wagga Wagga is on the Essential electricity network. Here are the major suburbs in Wagga Wagga and the surrounds:
Maitland is on the Ausgrid electricity network, covering the following suburbs and surrounds:
The Essential Energy electricity network covers Bathurst, including the following suburbs:
The Shoalhaven region falls on the Endeavour Energy electricity network. Here are the major towns and suburbs in Shoalhaven:
Famous for its country music festival, Tamworth is situated on the Essential Energy electricity network. Here are the main suburbs covered by the Essential Energy network in Tamworth:
Port Macquarie falls on the Essential Energy electricity network. Some of the suburbs and neighbouring towns include:
Canstar Blue surveyed 12,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who live in New South Wales, have an electricity account, and pay the bills – in this case, 2,368 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
Winner: Red Energy
Winner: Red Energy
Winner: Red Energy
Winner: Red Energy
Winner: Red Energy
Winner: Red Energy
Winner: Red Energy
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*NSW, QLD and SA: Price is GST inclusive and is: The estimated lowest possible price a representative customer would be charged in a year for this plan, assuming all conditions of discounts offered (if any) have been met, based on the AER’s model annual usage in the distribution region as stated at the top of each table.
~VIC: Price is GST inclusive and is: The estimated lowest possible price a customer would be charged in a year for this plan, using the Victorian Government’s annual reference consumption for domestic customers in your distribution region as stated at the top of each table and assuming all conditions of discounts offered (if any) have been met.
ACT: Price is GST inclusive and is: The estimated lowest possible price a representative customer would be charged in a year for this plan, using the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission (ICRC) annual reference consumption for domestic customers in your distribution region as stated at the top of each table and assuming all conditions of discounts offered (if any) have been met.
TAS: Costs based on annual household usage of 6775kWh/year on the TasNetworks electricity network in Tasmania, August 2022. For more information on annual cost calculations please click here.
Some plans may require you to meet certain conditions before a discount may become available to you. Check the energy provider’s plan information for details of all possible discounts that may apply and any conditions that need to be met to be eligible for these discounts. Some plans may have a minimum term longer than one year. In that case the total cost over the term will be much higher than the price (which is only for one year). Consider the provider’s detailed product and pricing information before making a decision to take out a new plan or switch electricity providers.
^What is the Reference Price?
The reference price is set by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) for a financial year in relation to electricity supply to residential customers in the distribution region and is based on an assumed annual usage amount. Any difference between the reference price and the unconditional price of a plan is expressed as a percentage more or less than the reference price. The terms of any conditional discounts are shown, along with any further difference between the reference price and the discount applied if a condition is met, expressed as a percentage more or less than the reference price.
>What is the VDO?
The Victorian Default Offer (VDO) includes a daily supply charge and usage charges (per kilowatt hour). Differences in tariffs across distribution regions reflect the unique costs of providing electricity services in each area. The difference between the VDO and the unconditional price of a plan, based on the Victorian Government’s annual reference consumption for domestic customers in the distribution region, is expressed as a percentage more or less than the VDO. The terms of any conditional discounts are shown, along with any further difference between the VDO and the discount applied if a condition is met, expressed as a percentage more or less than the VDO.
Annual cost estimates exclude solar payments. Feed-in tariffs shown are single rate only. Solar products may only be available to solar customers and some products may only be available to customers who purchase solar PV or other products through the retailer.
†By clicking on a brand, 'go to site', 'shop online', 'get quotes now', or 'see offer' button, you will leave Canstar Blue and be taken to our referral partner to compare. Canstar Blue may be paid for this referral. You agree that Canstar Blue’s terms and conditions apply to this referral.
Canstar Blue may earn a fee for referrals from its website tables, and from sponsorship of certain products. Fees payable by product providers for referrals and sponsorship may vary between providers, website position, and revenue model. Sponsorship fees may be higher than referral fees. Sponsored products are clearly disclosed as such on website pages. They may appear in a number of areas of the website such as in comparison tables, on hub pages and in articles. Sponsored products may be displayed in a fixed position in a table, regardless of the product's rating, price or other attributes. The table position of a Sponsored product does not indicate any ranking or rating by Canstar. The table position of a Sponsored product does not change when a consumer changes the sort order of the table. For more information please see How Are We Funded.