Energy prices in South Australia hit new low – now’s the time to switch

It’s official – electricity prices in South Australia have been plummeting, with new Canstar Blue data revealing that costs have reduced by almost 11 per cent since 2019. However, only a small minority of bill-payers in the state are taking full advantage.

The analysis shows that average bills in South Australia have fallen by around $200 since the introduction of new industry regulations almost two years ago, while the cheapest deal in market is now $281 cheaper than it was in mid-2019.

Falling wholesale energy prices and a bunch of new power players entering the market have made conditions more favourable for bill-payers, with deals reaching up to 24 per cent off the Reference Price, at the time of publication. This is a record percentage saving compared with the default tariff since it was introduced as part of sweeping retail market reforms.

However, official figures from the energy regulator show that only a small number of households in South Australia are saving as much as they could, with most of the cheapest offers coming from the many smaller players, such as GloBird Energy, ReAmped Energy and Energy Locals.

Energy Locals CEO Adrian Merrick told Canstar Blue: “Customers in South Australia have acted warmly to Energy Locals entering the market, and there’s a very obvious appetite for something that’s different to the same old vanilla offers that have been what’s been available for years.”

Energy Locals is an Australian-owned power company that offers customers cheaper wholesale electricity rates in exchange for a small membership fee, which is currently free for the first four months. The retailer also carbon offsets 100 per cent of customers’ energy usage at no extra cost.

“South Australian customers are progressive and very open-minded to offers that are world-leading. For example, we’ve seen customers quickly get on board with offers such as the SA Virtual Power Plant which have never been done anywhere previously. As we don’t earn money when customers use power, our incentives are aligned with customers who tend to want to save energy to save money,” Mr Merrick said.

Virtual Power Plants (VPP) are initiatives offered by some energy retailers to customers with solar and battery systems who plug into a network of other solar systems in their area. These VPPs help stabilise electricity grids when power is in peak demand, such as weekdays from 3pm to 9pm.

SA Energy Prices Compared

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 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 South Australia. These are products from a referral partner†. 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 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 South Australia. These are products from a referral partner†. 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 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 South Australia. These are products from a referral partner†. 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 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.

2019 vs 2021: Electricity Price Comparison

Canstar Blue research shows a sizeable reduction in prices from 2019 to now, with South Australian energy bills coming down by an average of $197 a year. Here’s what our experts found across the SA Power Network:

Average Annual Cost SA Power Network
July 2019 $1,876
March 2021 $1,679
Price Difference $197
Lowest Annual Cost SA Power Network
July 2019 $1,665 (14% Less Than Reference Price)
June 2021 $1,384 (24% Less Than Reference Price)
Price Difference $281

These costs are based on the SA Power Network in a 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 tariffThe Lowest Annual Costs for July 2019 are compared to what the VDO was at that time. Accurate as of 3 March 2021.

As of June 2021, the cheapest plans in SA belong to ReAmped Energy, OVO Energy and Energy Locals – all of which vary between 23 and 24 per cent off the Reference Price.

Major reforms introduced in July 2019 means that energy retailers must advertise plans with a percentage less than, more than, or equal to the Reference Price. This allows consumers to see how deals stack up in comparison to the default price, and identify whether or not they’re getting a good deal.

Who’s getting the best energy prices in SA?

A recent report by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) found that only about 5,500 customers in South Australia are signed up to smaller companies that are currently offering the cheapest prices, according to our database. Here are the customer numbers from these retailers as disclosed by the AER for Q2 in 2020-21:

  • Energy Locals: 5,183
  • ReAmped Energy: 874
  • GloBird Energy: 546
  • Discover Energy: 618
  • Powerclub: 231
  • OVO Energy: 449

This is in comparison to AGL, Origin and Simply Energy who have more than 600,000 residential electricity customers combined, accounting for three quarters of the SA market.

The need to shop around is great

While it’s great to see power bills coming down relatively quickly, the majority of South Australians are still paying more than they need to, and probably don’t even realise it, said Canstar Blue’s Energy Editor, Jared Mullane

“It’s no secret that South Australians pay the highest electricity prices in the country, which is why every household should be reviewing their plan every few months,” he said. “It has always been about making the best of a bad situation in South Australia and the need to shop around is greater here than anywhere else.

“You may not realise prices have gone down if you’ve been with the same provider or you’re on a bogus deal, so now’s the time to get on top of your power bills. With hundreds of dollars between the cheapest and most expensive offers at stake, just a few minutes of your time switching providers can prove to be one of the best financial decisions you can make.

“Don’t be put off by the smaller providers you’ve never heard of before. The fact is they typically have the cheapest prices and switching to them is relatively risk free. There won’t be any problem with your power supply while you switch over, and most plans don’t have exit fees anymore.

“The competitiveness of the market means the small number of active consumers are able to make notable savings. Why wouldn’t you want to be one of them?”

Image credit: myphotobank.com.au/Shutterstock.com

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