South-East Queensland households stuck on standing offer electricity contracts are paying an average of $200 a year more than they need to.
Canstar Blue research shows that Queenslanders could save big bucks just by switching from a standing offer to a market offer contract, even with the same electricity retailer.
The latest figures from the Australian Energy Regulator show that one in four South-East Queensland households (26%) are still on standing offer electricity contracts.
“If you think you’re paying over the odds, you need to contact your retailer and ask to be put on their cheapest market offer,” said Canstar Blue Editor Simon Downes. “The energy retailers will be more than happy to keep you sitting there paying more than you need to, so you need to be proactive and ask the question. If you don’t ask, you simply won’t get.
“The saddest thing is that the consumers stuck on standing offer electricity plans are likely to be elderly people, or those who don’t understand what options are available to them. You could also be moved onto a standing offer once your market offer expires, so you really need to pay attention.”
The Canstar Blue research shows that EnergyAustralia customers stand to save the most by switching from the retailer’s standing offer to its market Flexi Saver offer, provided they meet the conditions of the 16% pay on time discount. Doing this would save them $285 a year. AGL and Lumo Energy customers on standing offers also stand to save more than $200, as the following table shows.
The difference between standing and market offer electricity contracts
|Electricity Retailer||Annual Standing Offer Cost||Annual Market Offer Cost||Difference|
|Dodo Power & Gas||$2,145.90||$1,980.31||$165.59|
Prices based on average energy usage for five-person households on the Energex network, December 2016. Market offers used are highest discounted plans from each provider at the time, with conditional discounts applied. General guide only.
Customers of all six electricity retailers compared stand to save by switching from standing offers to market offers with the same provider, if they meet the conditions of their respective discounts. However, two market offers reviewed – from Dodo Power & Gas and Simply Energy – were found to have higher rates than their respective standing offers before discounts are applied.
“Queensland may not be the most competitive energy market, but there are good savings to be had if you do your homework,” said Mr Downes. “However, it’s important to remember that you must meet the conditions of your plan to benefit from the discount. If you don’t, you could be left paying a higher rate and you may also be slugged a fee.
“Many consumers understandably believe that switching electricity providers is hard work and may not be worth their time. What this research shows is that you don’t necessarily need to switch providers to save money – you just need to pick up the phone and ask to be put on their cheapest offer.
“Households already on market offers should continue to review their options from other providers. There is currently not a huge difference in prices between the retailers in South-East Queensland, but this is likely to change as new providers enter the market in the coming months.”