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 the Citipower network in Melbourne but prices will vary depending on your area and circumstances. Plans are listed in order of lowest price first. See here for further information on the VDO, which in this comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year, meaning that the VDO is $1,334/year. Use our comparison tool for a specific comparison. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Brand Features Price(estimated˜)
Powershop Logo
Energy Fact Sheet

Shopper Market Offer

Conditional Discounts

  • 23% less than VDO for purchasing the Mega Pack
17% MoreThan VDO› $1,202
incl. conditional discount
Go To Site
Origin Logo
Energy Fact Sheet

Max Saver – Online Special

Conditional Discounts

  • 6% Direct Debit & eFulfilment Discount

Other Plan Features:

  • Online sign-up only
Equal To VDO> $1,281

More Details
View all electricity plans listed on Canstar Blue

NSW – quick comparison

Here are the cheapest published deals for Origin Energy and Powershop on our database for NSW. These costs are based on the Ausgrid network in Sydney but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. Plans are listed in order of lowest price first. See here for further information on the Reference Price, which in this comparison assumes general energy usage of 3900kWh/year, meaning that the Reference Price is $1,467/year. Use our comparison tool for a specific comparison. These are products from a referral partner†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Brand Features Price(estimated**)
Powershop Logo
Basic Plan Information

Shopper Market Offer

Conditional Discounts

  • 15% less than reference price for purchasing the Mega Pack
Equal toReference price^^ $1,250
incl. conditional discount
Go To Site
Origin Logo
Basic Plan Information

Max Saver – Online Special

No Conditional Discounts

Other Features:

  • Online sign-up only
13% Less Than Reference Price^^ $1,279

More Details
View all electricity plans listed on Canstar Blue

Queensland – quick comparison

Here are the cheapest published deals for Origin Energy and Powershop on our database for SE QLD. These costs are based on the Energex network in Brisbane but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. Plans are listed in order of lowest price first. See here for further information on the Reference Price, which in this comparison assumes general usage of 4600kWh/year, meaning the Reference Price is $1,570/year. Use our comparison tool for a specific comparison. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Brand Features Price(estimated**)
Powershop Logo
Basic Plan Information

Shopper Market Offer

Conditional Discounts

  • 15% less than reference price for purchasing the Mega Pack
1% LessThan Reference price^^ $1,326
incl. conditional discount
Go To Site
Origin Logo
Basic Plan Information

Max Saver – Online Special

No Conditional Discounts

Other Features:

  • Online sign-up only
11% Less Than Reference Price^^ $1,401

More Details
View all electricity plans listed on Canstar Blue

South Australia – quick comparison

Here are the cheapest published deals for Origin Energy and Powershop on our database for SA. These costs are based on SA Power network in Adelaide but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. Plans are listed in order of lowest price first. See here for further information on the Reference Price, which in this comparison assumes general usage of 4000kWh/year, meaning the Reference Price is $1,941/year. Use our comparison tool for a specific comparison. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Brand Features Price(estimated**)
Powershop Logo
Basic Plan Information

Shopper Market Offer

Conditional Discounts

  • 15% less than reference price for purchasing the Mega Pack
Equal toReference price^^ $1,652
incl. conditional discount
Go To Site
Origin Logo
Basic Plan Information

Max Saver – Online Special

No Conditional Discounts

Other Features:

  • Online sign-up only
15% Less Than Reference Price^^ $1,654

More Details
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’. However, 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.

In most areas, Origin’s cheapest deal is its Max Saver – Online Special offering. But this is only available to those that sign-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 Powerpacks 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 main offers, with one offering an additional discount for signing up online.

  • Max Saver: This is Origin’s flagship product. It comes with a discount off the VDO, and signing up online could earn you an additional discount. To receive the discount, this product requires customers to set up direct debiting, eBilling and eCommunication and receive bills monthly. This plan has a 12 month benefit period.
  • Flexi: The Origin Flexi is much like the plan above in that it offers an amount off the VDO, though this time it’s not in the form of a conditional discount. Origin Flexi is more flexible with payment and billing methods, and again has a 12 month benefit period.
  • Basic: This is a basic electricity plan with no exit fees, contract term or discounts. The rates on this plan are in line with the Victorian Default Offer (VDO).

As we discussed, Powershop is a little different from most other retailers. While there is a plethora of promotional, mega and future packs available, Powershop’s basic product is the Shopper Market Offer.

  • Shopper Market Offer: The Shopper Market Offer 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. A 19.5% discount is applied for purchasing the Power Saver. To receive this discount, you need to log in once a month and purchase the Power Saver pack. If you’re willing to buy your power some three months ahead of schedule, the Powershop Mega Pack brings the retailer’s cheapest overall prices, with the discount increased to 23.2%. But to achieve the maximum 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 Powerpacks, 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?

In the table below, we show Origin Energy and Powershop prices on the Citipower network in Melbourne. Plans are listed from the lowest priced estimate first. See here for information on the VDO, which in this comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year, meaning the VDO is $1,334/year. Use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area.

Electricity Provider Electricity Plan Difference from VDO› Conditional Discounts Price Estimate˜
Powershop Shopper Market Offer 17% More Than VDO 23% less than VDO for purchasing the Mega Pack $1,202
Origin Energy Max Saver – Online Special Equal To VDO 6% less than VDO for direct debit and e-Fulfilment $1,281
Energy Fact Sheets

~Price assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year. Estimated price includes any conditions discounts that may be available. Pricing based on Citipower network in Melbourne, but prices will differ between distribution areas. Last updated, July 2019.

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% discount work out slightly cheaper than Origin Energy’s plan with modest discount.

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 Powerpacks 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 a similar line-up of products that it provides in Victoria. The only difference is the addition of one plan:

  • Max Saver: This is Origin Energy’s cheapest plan, offering a guaranteed discount off usage and supply charges. In order to be eligible for this plan, customers must agree to receiving bills by email and paying by direct debit. Customers that sign up online will receive an additional discount. This plan has a 12 month benefit period.
  • Flexi: Origin Flexi is like the plan above, though its guaranteed discount is slightly less than the Max Saver. In exchange, customers will receive more flexibility in choosing their billing and payment preferences.
  • Freedom: For those looking for a plan without credit card or late payment fees, the Origin Freedom ticks all of those boxes. It comes with a guaranteed discount that applies to a 12 month benefit period.
  • Basic: This is Origin’s basic energy plan, with no discounts and that is equal to the Reference Price. It’s the highest price customers will pay with Origin, but switching to one of the other deals would save you more.

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.

  • Shopper Marker Offer: This is the default plan Powershop customers are placed on if they haven’t pre-purchased an electricity pack. It works out equal to the Reference Price. By selecting the Power Saver special from Powershop’s online store each month, customers are guaranteed a discount of at least 12% off. It’s a similar story with the Powershop Mega Pack which provides a maximum discount of 15%, but you’ll need to purchase this pack every three months or so to achieve the retailer’s lowest rates throughout the year.
  • Powershop Lite: This ‘Lite’ product is for customers who don’t really like the idea of regularly buying Powerpacks. The good news is that it still provides reasonable rates, albeit slightly more expensive than if you buy Powerpacks, but you pay slightly more for the convenience of not having to.

Who’s cheapest in New South Wales?

In the table below, we show Origin Energy and Powershop prices on the Ausgrid network in Sydney. Plans are listed from the lowest priced estimate first. See here for information on the AER Reference Price, which in this comparison assumes general energy usage of 3900kWh/year, meaning the Reference Price is $1,467/year. Use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area.

Electricity Provider Electricity Plan Difference from Reference Price^ Conditional Discounts Price Estimate*
Powershop Shopper Market Offer Equal to Reference Price 15% less than reference price for purchasing the Mega Pack $1,250
Origin Energy Max Saver – Online Special 13% Less Than Reference Price No conditional discounts $1,279
Basic Plan Information Documents

*Price assumes general energy usage of 3900kWh/year. Estimated price includes any conditions discounts that may be available. Pricing based on Ausgrid network in Sydney, but prices differ between distribution areas. July 2019.

Powershop comes out on top this time, thanks largely to the conditional discount provided by the Mega Pack. Keep in mind, however, 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. All Queensland Origin plans come with variable rates and do not include any exit fees.

  • Max Saver: This plan carries a decent amount off the Reference Price, though customers have to sign up to direct debiting as well as eBilling and eCommunication in order to be eligible for sign-up. On this plan, customers receive their bills monthly for a 12 month benefit period. An additional discount is available for signing up online.
  • Flexi: While customers won’t have to adhere to the set of conditions outlined above with the Origin Flexi plan, in exchange they will receive a slightly smaller guaranteed discount that applies for 12 months.
  • Freedom: This plan is much like the products above, however allowing customers relief from late payment fees and credit card payment fees. The guaranteed discount applied on this plan is less than the Flexi and Max Saver plans.
  • Basic: This is Origin’s default plan with no discounts and no contract term. It has the same pricing as the Reference Price in Queensland.

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?

  • Shopper Market Offer: This is the plan customers are signed up to that then allows them to purchase Powerpacks. 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 basic rates. Further discounts may also be available through regular promotional offers. Powershop also offers its Mega Pack product in Queensland, where the discount off standard 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 Powerpacks for future use. The need to log on and buy Powerpacks is removed, but you’ll pay slightly more for the luxury.

Who’s cheapest in Queensland?

In the table below, we show Origin Energy and Powershop prices on the Energex network in Brisbane. Plans are listed from the lowest priced estimate first. See here for information on the AER Reference Price, which in this comparison assumes general energy usage of 4600kWh/year, meaning the Reference Price is $1,570/year. Use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area.

Electricity Provider Electricity Plan Difference from Reference Price^ Conditional Discounts Price Estimate*
Powershop Shopper Market Offer 1% Less Than Reference Price Further 15% less than the reference price for purchasing the Mega Pack $1,326
Origin Energy Max Saver – Online Special 11% Less Than Reference Price No conditional discounts $1,401
Basic Plan Information Documents

*Price assumes general energy usage of 4600Wh/year. Estimated price includes any conditional discounts that may be available. Pricing based on Energex network in Brisbane, but prices will differ between distribution areas. July 2019.

Powershop is the cheaper of the two retailers in SE QLD but there is very little in it. But 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.

  • Max Saver: This plan comes with a generous guaranteed discount, though requires customers to agree to monthly eBilling and direct debiting in order to be eligible for sign up. Customers who sign up to this plan online will receive an additional discount.
  • Flexi: This plan carries a guaranteed discount not too much less than the Max Saver plan, and also doesn’t require any of the above conditions upon sign up.
  • Freedom: The Origin Freedom plan comes with no credit card or late payment fees, though in exchange customers don’t receive a guaranteed discount as high as the plans above.
  • Basic: Basic is Origin’s default plan that doesn’t offer any discounts or contract term. It’s priced equal to the Reference Price in South Australia.

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?

  • Shopper Market Offer: This is Powershop’s default plan, which is a deal equal to the reference price that customers are placed on if they don’t pre-purchase electricity packs. The Power Saver is a pack that offers up a different approach to paying for electricity, asking customers to log on once a month to purchase energy and receive a minimum discount of 12% off basic rates. 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%. 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 than the packs, but still less than the Reference Price.

Who’s cheapest in South Australia?

In the table below, we show Origin Energy and Powershop prices on the SA Power network in Adelaide. Plans are listed from the lowest priced estimate first. See here for information on the AER Reference Price, which in this comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year, meaning the Reference Price is $1,941/year. Use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area.

Electricity Provider Electricity Plan Difference from Reference Price^ Conditional Discounts Price Estimate*
Powershop Shopper Market Offer Equal to Reference Price 15% less than reference price for purchasing the Mega Pack $1,652
Origin Energy Max Saver – Online Special 15% Less Than Reference Price No conditional discounts $1,654
Basic Plan Information Documents

*Price assumes general energy usage of 4000Wh/year. Estimated price includes any conditional discounts that may be available. Pricing based on SA Power network in Adelaide, but prices will differ between distribution areas. July 2019.

Powershop comes out on top in this South Australia comparison, but only by a very, 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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