Powershop vs Origin: Electricity cost comparison

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It’s a David versus Goliath battle – Australia’s biggest energy retailer taking on the new, loudmouth upstart that seems to enjoy poking fun at the old, boring incumbents. We’re talking, of course, about Origin Energy and Powershop. When it comes to electricity providers, they are quite literally poles apart. But who offers the cheapest prices and the best overall value for your money? In this review we compare electricity prices from Origin and Powershop to help you make a more informed decision about your power supply.

Before we go into detail about their electricity plans in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia, let’s first set the scene by providing a little background information on both retailers and a quick price comparison of their cheapest products.

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Origin vs Powershop – Cheapest Deals

Here are the current cheapest published deals on our database for Origin and Powershop across Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland, with any conditional discounts factored in.

Victoria – quick comparison

Here are the cheapest published deals for Origin and Powershop on our database for Victoria. These costs are based on a typical three-person household living on the Citipower network in Melbourne, but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. Use our comparison tool above for a specific comparison in your area. This table includes a featured product from a referral partner.

Brand Features Benefit Period Annual Cost**
Powershop Logo

Mega Pack

  • Pre-Paid approx 3 months of power
  • 23.2% discount when product conditions are met
OngoingBenefit Period $1,178.41Annual Cost** Go To Site
Origin Logo

One Low Rate

  • No conditional discount
1 YearBenefit Period $1,224.22Annual Cost** More Details
View all electricity plans listed on Canstar Blue

NSW – quick comparison

Here are the cheapest published deals for Origin and Powershop on our database for NSW. These costs are based on a typical three-person household living on the Ausgrid network in Sydney, but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. Use our comparison tool above for a specific comparison in your area. This table includes a featured product from a referral partner.

Brand Features Benefit Period Annual Cost**
Origin Logo

Basic Plan Information

Maximiser

  • 25% direct debit discount off usage charges
1 YearBenefit Period $1,510.64Annual Cost** More Details
Powershop Logo
Basic Plan Information

Mega Pack

  • Pre-Paid approx 3 months of power
  • 15% discount when product conditions are met
OngoingBenefit Period $1,549.70Annual Cost** Go To Site
View all electricity plans listed on Canstar Blue

Queensland – quick comparison

Here are the cheapest published deals for Origin and Powershop on our database for QLD. These costs are based on a typical three-person household living on the Energex network in Brisbane, but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. Use our comparison tool above for a specific comparison in your area. This table includes a featured product from a referral partner.

Brand Features Benefit Period Annual Cost**
Powershop Logo
Basic Plan Information

Mega Pack

  • Pre-Paid approx 3 months of power
  • 15% discount when product conditions are met
OngoingBenefit Period $1,412.12Annual Cost** Go To Site
Origin Logo
Basic Plan Information

One Low Rate

  • No conditional discount
1 YearBenefit Period $1,420.08Annual Cost** More Details
View all electricity plans listed on Canstar Blue

South Australia – quick comparison

Here are the cheapest published deals for Origin and Powershop on our database for SA. These costs are based on a typical three-person household living on the SA Power network in Adelaide, but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. Use our comparison tool above for a specific comparison in your area. This table includes a featured product from a referral partner.

Brand Features Benefit Period Annual Cost**
Origin Logo
Basic Plan Information

One Low Rate

  • No conditional discount
1 YearBenefit Period $1,980.12Annual Cost** More Details
Powershop Logo
Basic Plan Information

Mega Pack

  • Pre-Paid approx 3 months of power
  • 15% discount when product conditions are met
OngoingBenefit Period $2,049.29Annual Cost** Go To Site
View all electricity plans listed on Canstar Blue

Origin Energy

Origin is one of Australia’s biggest energy companies with millions of customers across the country and a wealth of both fossil fuel and renewable energy generation assets. Along with AGL and EnergyAustralia, Origin is currently ranked one of Australia’s ‘dirty three’ energy companies and is involved in the exploration of coal seam gas – the extraction of which is commonly known as ‘fracking’.

Origin is also one of the biggest retailers when it comes to household solar, offering panel and storage system installation along with competitive feed-in tariff rates. Origin is also one of a few electricity providers in Australia to offer households ‘fixed cost’ energy plans, which means households know exactly what they will pay for power every billing period, regardless of their energy usage. The Origin Predictable Plan is tailored to individual households needs and is not included in our comparison for the purpose of simplicity.

In most areas, Origin’s cheapest deal is its no discount One Low Rate offering. This brings fixed rates for 12 months so you will avoid any price increases during that period. Origin also has a couple of big discount products across the states, with the biggest discounts often only available for signing up online. It would appear that making life a little easier for Origin in this regard is enough to earn cheaper prices. But whether or not it’s right for retailers to only make their best deals available in this manner is a matter of opinion.

Powershop

Powershop is an export of New Zealand, where it enjoys a far bigger market share than it does in Australia. However, since moving across the ditch, the company has been making a big impression. It routinely performs well in our customer satisfaction ratings for electricity providers in Victoria and Greenpeace has named Powershop as Australia’s ‘greenest energy company’ for three years running. Via its parent company, Meridian Energy, Powershop owns only renewable energy assets and has an emissions intensity of zero, with all customers said to be carbon neutral. It also has the highest percentage of GreenPower customers of any retailer in the country.

By its own admissions, Powershop is different to most other energy providers in that customers are able to pre-purchase power packs at cheaper rates, for later use. Powershop also has a strong focus on online energy management tools, utilising smart meters to provide helpful usage information to customers via its online portal and smartphone app.

Now you know the basics about Origin and Powershop, let’s dive into the facts and see which company has the cheapest prices in your state.

Victoria

Origin offers Victorian customers three variable rate market offers, as well as one fixed rate plan.

  • Origin Maximiser: This is Origin’s flagship product. It comes with a generous 24% discount on usage charges for the first 12 months when customers agree to receive their bills via email and pay through direct debit. Signing up online earns you an additional discount, taking the total available to 29%.
  • Origin Saver: For the first 12 months, customers who pay their bills on time will receive a 20% discount on usage charges. There are also no exit fees, meaning customers are free to leave at any time. This plan also comes with the potential of a greater discount for signing up online, this time 25%.
  • Origin BillSaver: Unlike Origin’s other variable rate plans which offer discounts for paying on time or by direct debit, this product provides a modest guaranteed discount of 10% off both usage and supply charges, with a benefit period of up to 24 months.
  • One Low Rate: Customers on this plan have low usage and supply rates locked in, meaning Origin won’t change your energy prices for one year after you sign up. This deal doesn’t have a conditional discount, however it still works out to be one of Origin’s lowest priced plans. In order to receive it, customers must agree to online billing and direct debit.
  • Origin Supply: This is a basic electricity plan with no exit fees, contract term or discounts. When the benefit periods of the above two plans expire, customers will start paying the same rates as those on Origin Supply.

As we discussed, Powershop is a little different to most other retailers. While there is a plethora of promotional, mega and future packs available, Powershop’s basic products are the Auto Pay and Power Saver.

  • Auto Pay: The Auto Pay is the basic plan available to Victorian customers. It does not have a discount and is the default product when customers run out of Powerpacks. There are no exit fees or limited benefit periods on this plan.
  • Power Saver: A 19.5% discount is applied on top of the already competitive rates of the Auto Pay plan. To receive this discount, you need to log in once a month and purchase the Power Saver pack.
  • Mega Pack: If you’re willing to buy your power some three months ahead of schedule, this Powershop product brings the retailer’s cheapest overall prices, with the discount increased to 23.2%. But to achieve the maximim savings throughout the year, you’ll need to buy the Mega Pack every quarter.
  • Powershop Lite: While slightly more expensive than buying the retailer’s power packs, Powershop Lite provides competitive rates without the ‘hard work’ of logging onto the website to regularly purchase the top-ups.

Who’s cheapest in Victoria?

The amount households in Victoria pay for energy can vary between electricity distribution networks, but for the sake of this comparison, we have compared costs on the Citipower network, which covers large parts of Melbourne. To do this we compare the best that Powershop and Origin have on offer. So, based on average energy requirements for a three person household, who comes out cheapest?

Provider^ Plan Discount Annual cost* Benefit period
Origin Energy One Low Rate 0% $1,224.22 1 year
Powershop Mega Pack 23.2% $1,178.41 Ongoing

*Costs based on annual usage calculations using figures from the AER for a three person household on the Citipower network. 

^By clicking on a brand name, you may leave Canstar Blue and be taken to a referral partner to compare. You agree that Canstar Blue’s terms and conditions apply to this referral. If you click on a brand that is not a referral partner, you will be taken to a brand page on Canstar Blue.

Canstar Blue research has previously found that electricity plans with the highest discounts don’t always work out the cheapest options overall. This is because they also tend to have the highest usage or supply charges, meaning savings from the discount are largely negated. In this comparison however, Powershop and its 23.2% discount work out slightly cheaper than Origin Energy’s no discount plan.

We need to stress, however, that in order to qualify for the maximum discount from Powershop, you will need to put in a little effort. This means purchasing saver power packs from the Powershop online store every month or quarter. Failure to do this could mean you pay more. See how these costs compare to those from other electricity retailers in Melbourne with our price comparison report.

New South Wales

Origin offers its New South Wales customers the same list of products that it provides in Victoria. Its offers include both fixed and variable rate contracts, as well as products which include conditional discounts.

  • Origin Maximiser: Customers who agree to receive their bills via email and pay by direct debit receive a 25% discount on electricity usage charges. This plan has a benefit period of 12 months and there are no exit fees. Those who sign up online could get a bonus discount.
  • Origin Saver: This plan has a slightly more modest discount of 19% off usage charges for customers who pay their bills on time. It also has a 12 month contract term, but there are no exit fees for leaving early. Like the Maximiser, the Saver plan comes with a bonus discount for signing up online, taking the the total to
  • Origin BillSaver: This product provides a guaranteed discount of 10% off both energy usage and supply charges, with a benefit period of up to two years.
  • One Low Rate: This is Origin’s no discount, fixed rate plan for 12 months. It comes with competitive rates which won’t be changed for at least a year, meaning customers can rest assured they won’t be hit with sneaky price increases.
  • Origin Supply: This is Origin’s basic energy plan, with no discounts, incentives or additional fees. When the benefit period of another deal expires, customers will end up paying the same rates as those on Origin Supply.

While the availability of certain promotional Powerpacks may vary from state to state, Powershop offers the same basic deals in New South Wales as it does Victoria.

  • Auto Pay: This is the default plan Powershop customers are placed on if they haven’t pre-purchased an electricity pack. It has competitive rates, though there is no discount.
  • Power Saver: By selecting the Power Saver special from Powershop’s online store each month, customers are guaranteed a discount of at least 12% off Auto Pay rates.
  • Mega Pack: It’s a similar story with the Powershop Mega Pack which provides a maximum discount of 15% off Auto Pay rates, but you’ll need to purchase this pack every three months or so to achieve the retailer’s lowest rates.
  • Powershop Lite: This product is for customers who don’t really like the idea of regularly buying power packs. The good news is that it still provides reasonable rates, albeit slightly more expensive than if you buy power packs, but you pay slightly more for the convenience of not having to.

Who’s cheapest in New South Wales?

The cheapest non-promotional product available to Powershop customers in NSW is the Mega pack. Origin Energy’s cheapest deal is the Maximiser, which comes with a larger percentage discount off usage charges. To find out how these plans stack up in Sydney, we’ve compared prices (including discounts) on the Ausgrid network.

Provider^ Plan Discount Annual cost* Important
Origin Energy Maximiser 25% $1,510.64 Basic Plan Information
Powershop Mega Pack 15% $1,549.70 Basic Plan Information

*Costs based on annual usage calculations using figures from the AER for a three person household on the Ausgrid network. 

^By clicking on a brand name, you may leave Canstar Blue and be taken to a referral partner to compare. You agree that Canstar Blue’s terms and conditions apply to this referral. If you click on a brand that is not a referral partner, you will be taken to a brand page on Canstar Blue.

Origin comes out on top this time, thanks largely to its bigger discount on the Maximiser plan. Also keep in mind that achieving the maximum discount with Powershop takes a little more effort as you’re required to regularly purchase power packs. Find out how Powershop and Origin compare to other electricity providers in New South Wales with our cost comparison review.

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Queensland

Origin has long been a popular retailer in Queensland. While its range of products is somewhat smaller in Brisbane compared to other states, its energy offers still promise competitive value. All Queensland Origin plans come with variable rates and do not include any exit fees.

  • Origin Maximiser: Customers who pay their bills via direct debit will receive Origin’s largest discount of 16% off usage charges for the first 12 months. Signing up online takes the total discount to 20% off usage charges.
  • Origin Saver: This plan offers a 14% discount on usage to punctual customers who pay their electricity bills on time. Again, this discount only applies for the first 12 months of the contract. Signing up online takes the total discount available to 18% off usage charges.
  • BillSaver: This deal comes with a modest 12% discount off your whole bill, not just the usage charge component. Better yet, the discount is guaranteed, meaning you receive regardless of how or when you pay.
  • One Low Rate: This is Origin’s no discount, fixed rate offering for 12 months. The plan comes with competitive rates which won’t be changed for at least a year, meaning customers can rest assured they won’t be hit with sneaky price increases.
  • Origin Supply: This is Origin’s default plan with no discounts and no contract team. It has the same pricing as the above plans once discounts have expired.

Powershop came to Queensland in January 2017, making it one of the newer retailers in the state. Its unique approach of pre-purchasing electricity has proven popular in other markets, but how does it stack up in Queensland?

  • Auto Pay: If customers don’t pre-purchase electricity packs, they are automatically placed on the Auto Pay – a bare-basics deal with no discount.
  • Power Saver: Customers who visit the Powershop website or app once a month to purchase the Power Saver pack will get a minimum discount of 12% off their Auto Pay rates. Further discounts may also be available through regular promotional offers.
  • Mega Pack: Powershop again offers its Mega Pack product in Queensland, where the discount off Auto Pay rates jumps up to 15%. But remember that this pack will provide power for just three months, so you’ll need to keep logging onto the Powershop website to purchase top-ups.
  • Powershop Lite: This deal is for customers who don’t really like the idea of pre-purchasing power packs for future use. The need to log on and buy power packs is removed, but you’ll pay slightly more for the luxury.

Who’s cheapest in Queensland?

To find out which retailer is cheapest in the Brisbane area, we have compared their best value products. For Origin Energy, this is One Low Rate. In the case of Powershop, we are assuming that the customer regularly purchases the Mega Pack.

Provider^ Plan Discount Annual cost* Important 
Origin Energy One Low Rate 0% $1,420.08 Basic Plan Information
Powershop Mega Pack 15% $1,412.12 Basic Plan Information

*Costs based on annual usage calculations using figures from the AER for a three person household on the Energex network. 

^By clicking on a brand name, you may leave Canstar Blue and be taken to a referral partner to compare. You agree that Canstar Blue’s terms and conditions apply to this referral. If you click on a brand that is not a referral partner, you will be taken to a brand page on Canstar Blue.

Powershop is the cheaper of the two retailers in SE QLD but there is very little in it. Also keep in mind that Powershop regularly runs promotional packs, meaning proactive customers could stand to save more on electricity by checking the website for offers. See how Origin and Powershop compare to other retailers in our price comparison report for SE QLD.

South Australia

Origin Energy is one of the most popular retailers in South Australia, despite not quite offering the same number of plans it does in other states. Despite this, the Origin plans available in SA are still competitive. All standard Origin plans in SA come with variable rates and do not include any exit fees.

  • One Low Rate: This is Origin’s plan with locked in usage and supply rates, meaning energy prices don’t change for 12 months. Customers must sign up to online billing and pay via direct debit to be eligible.
  • Origin Maximiser: This deal is for customers who are comfortable paying their bills via direct debit, and it boasts an 18% discount off usage charges for the first 12 months for the convenience.
  • Origin Saver: The Origin Saver offers a slightly lover 14% discount for customers who pay their bills on time and sign up online. Again, this will only apply for a 12 month benefit period.
  • BillSaver: This plan is Origin’s most modest discount, which is 8%, however it applies to the whole bill rather than just usage. What’s better is that it’s a guaranteed discount, meaning you’ll get it regardless of how or when you pay your power bill.
  • Origin Supply: Supply is Origin’s default plan that doesn’t offer any discounts or contract term. It’s priced the way the above plans are after their discount periods have expired.

Powershop has only recently arrived in South Australia in March 2019, making it a new entrant in the game. Its unique energy plan structures have proved to be quite cost effective in other states, but will it stack up in South Australia?

  • Auto Pay: This is Powershop’s default plan, which is a no-discount deal that customers are placed on if they don’t pre-purchase electricity packs.
  • Power Saver: This plan offers up a different approach to paying for electricity, asking customers to log on once a month to purchase energy packs and receive a minimum discount of 12% off Auto Pay rates. What’s more is that more discounts could be available through its regular promotional packs.
  • Mega Pack: The Mega Pack works much like the Power Saver, but in this case asks you to pre-purchase power for the coming three months. The discount also jumps from 12% to 15%. Again, various regular promotional offers can be applied to maximise energy discounts when they’re available.
  • Powershop Lite: Customers who don’t like Powershops pre-purchasing model can go on Powershop lite and pay for their power in regular billing periods, much like how standard plans work. This plan works out slightly more expensive.

Who’s cheapest in South Australia?

To find out which retailer is cheapest in the Adelaide area, we’ve compared their cheapest products. For Origin, this is the One Low Rate plan. In the case of Powershop, we are assuming the customer regularly purchases the Mega Pack.

Provider^ Plan Discount Annual cost* Important 
Origin Energy One Low Rate 0% $1,980.12 Basic Plan Information
Powershop Mega Pack 15% $2,049.29 Basic Plan Information

*Costs based on annual usage calculations using figures from the AER for a three person household on the SA Power Network. 

^By clicking on a brand name, you may leave Canstar Blue and be taken to a referral partner to compare. You agree that Canstar Blue’s terms and conditions apply to this referral. If you click on a brand that is not a referral partner, you will be taken to a brand page on Canstar Blue.

Origin Energy comes out on top in this South Australia comparison, but only by a very small margin. Keep in mind that Powershop runs short-term promotions which will benefit customers who regularly check back to ensure that they’re getting a good deal. See how Origin and Powershop compare to other providers in our price comparison report for SA.

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Which retailer is the best choice?

Origin and Powershop offer two very different energy retail propositions. Some consumers might feel more comfortable with the familiar Origin brand name and its traditional approach to electricity supply. Others may be drawn to Powershop’s new tech-savvy take on electricity in the hope they can snag a great bargain. If you participate in regular promotions and purchase power in advance, you may well do.

Ultimately the choice is yours. If you have a comfortable understanding of electricity, then Powershop may provide good value. If you would instead rather keep engagement with your retailer to an absolute minimum, then Origin Energy might be more your style.

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