How to get the best energy discounts

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When it comes to electricity, we all want to get the best deal possible. But the biggest savings are usually only made possible by big discounts. However, not all energy discounts are as good as they sound, so be sure to review this guide before signing up.

If you’ve recently compared energy plans, then you’ve probably seen retailers promising a discount on your bill – some by as much as 45%! Provided that your retailer has competitive base rates, electricity discounts can be a great way to reduce your bill – potentially saving you hundreds of dollars each year. So where are these great discounts, and are they really as good as they sound?

What can you get discounts for?

Most electricity retailers offer deals with conditional discounts off your quarterly or monthly bills. A handful of retailers also offer guaranteed discounts, which promise a discount regardless of when or how customers pay. Most discounts, however, will have conditions attached, typically for:

  • Paying your bills on time: Make sure your bill is paid by the due date and you could receive a tidy pay on time discount. However, if you fail to pay on time, you’ll lose the discount and effectively be stung with a hefty late payment fee.
  • Paying bills by direct debit: Set up direct debit billing so the amount you owe is automatically taken from your nominated bank account on the due date. Direct debit discounts can be an easy way to make some notable savings.
  • Receiving your bills and other communications via email: Some people still like to receive paper bills in the mail, but if you’re happy to receive an email bill instead, it’s an easy way to earn an extra discount.
  • Some providers also offer discounts for signing up online: If you sign up online rather than over the phone, your energy company could save money by needing fewer sales staff on the phones. This is why many offer incentives to get people to sign up online.

Put simply, you’ll be offered a discount for things that make life easier for your energy provider, such as sending bills via email instead of post. It’s also common to see discounts available if you meet a combination of these conditions. Read on for more discount details, or jump straight into our energy plan comparison tool.

Energy deals available right now

Energy discounts can be a good way of bringing down your overall power costs, provided you stick to the conditions. So, what discounts are currently on offer? The following tables show some of the plans on our database which include either a pay on time or direct debit discount. Remember, there could be other plans available that work cheaper, even if they don’t include a discount. So we also include plans with no discounts. These costs are based on selected postcodes in each state, so use our comparison tool for specific quotes in your area.

NSW energy plans with and without discounts

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 costs are based on a typical three-person household living on the Ausgrid network in Sydney, but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of price. Use our comparison tool above for a specific comparison in your area. These are sponsored products.

Brand Features Benefit Period Annual Cost**
Energy Locals Logo
Basic Plan Information

Super Saver

  • Online-only offer
  • Includes $165 Free Power Bonus per year for paying on time
OngoingBenefit Period $1,427.99Annual Cost** Go To Site
EnergyAustralia Logo

Basic Plan Information

No Frills

  • No conditional discount
  • Fixed rates for 12 months
1 YearBenefit Period $1,452.20Annual Cost** Go To Site
Simply Energy Logo
Basic Plan Information

Simply NRMA Plus

  • 26% pay on time discount off usage charges for eligible NRMA members
2 YearsBenefit Period $1,452.33Annual Cost** Go To Site
Alinta Energy Logo
Basic Plan Information

Fair Deal 30

  • 30% pay on time discount off usage charges
1 YearBenefit Period $1,466.33Annual Cost** Go To Site
Momentum Energy Logo
Basic Plan Information

SmilePower Flexi

  • No conditional discounts
  • $50 welcome bonus for online sign-up
OngoingBenefit Period $1,469.20Annual Cost** Go To Site
Red Energy Logo

Basic Plan Information

Qantas Red Saver

  • 10% pay on time discount off entire bill
  • 2 Qantas Points per $1 spent on energy when bills paid on time
OngoingBenefit Period $1,483.61Annual Cost** Go To Site
View all electricity plans listed on Canstar Blue

VIC energy plans with and without discounts

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 costs are based on a typical three-person household living on the Citipower network in Melbourne, but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of price. Use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. These are sponsored products.

Brand Features Benefit Period Annual Cost**
Simply Energy Logo

Simply RACV Plus

  • 45% pay on time discount off usage charges for eligible RACV members
2 YearsBenefit Period $1,039.44Annual Cost** Go To Site
Alinta Energy Logo

Fair Deal 43

  • 43% pay on time discount off usage charges
1 YearBenefit Period $1,093.89Annual Cost** Go To Site
Globird Logo

EasySave

  • No conditional discount
  • Plan requires direct debit with credit card and email billing
  • Fixed rates for 12 months
OngoingBenefit Period $1,124.54Annual Cost^^ Go To Site
Tango Logo

Home Select

  • No conditional discount
  • Fixed rates for 12 months
1 YearBenefit Period $1,130.45Annual Cost** Go To Site
Lumo Logo

Lumo Value 5

  • 5% discount off usage and supply charges for paying on time and by direct debit
OngoingBenefit Period $1,138.58Annual Cost^^ Go To Site
Momentum Energy Logo

SmilePower Flexi

  • No conditional discounts
OngoingBenefit Period $1,156.11Annual Cost^^ Go To Site
View all electricity plans listed on Canstar Blue

QLD energy plans with and without discounts

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 costs are based on a typical three-person household living on the Energex electricity network in Brisbane, but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of price. Use our comparison tool above for a specific comparison in your area. These are sponsored products.

Brand Features Benefit Period Annual Cost**
Alinta Energy Logo
Basic Plan Information

HomeSaver Plus

  • 28% pay on time discount off usage charges
1 YearBenefit Period $1,411.57Annual Cost** Go To Site
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
LPE Logo
Basic Plan Information

Principal Rate

  • No conditional discount
OngoingBenefit Period $1,455.23Annual Cost** Go To Site
EnergyAustralia Logo

Basic Plan Information

No Frills

  • No conditional discount
  • Fixed rates for 12 months
1 YearBenefit Period $1,466.38Annual Cost** Go To Site
Simply Energy Logo
Basic Plan Information

Simply RACQ Plus

  • 21% pay on time discount off usage charges for eligible RACQ members
2 YearsBenefit Period $1,481.41Annual Cost** Go To Site
Energy Locals Logo
Basic Plan Information

Simple Saver

  • No conditional discount
OngoingBenefit Period $1,502.35Annual Cost** Go To Site
View all electricity plans listed on Canstar Blue

SA energy plans with and without discounts

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 costs are based on a typical three-person household living on the SA Power network in Adelaide, but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of price. Use our comparison tool above for a specific comparison in your area. These are sponsored products.

Brand Features Benefit Period Annual Cost**
Simply Energy Logo
Basic Plan Information

Simply RAA Extra

  • 25% pay on time discount off usage charges for eligible RAA members
2 YearsBenefit Period $1,982.56Annual Cost** Go To Site
Energy Locals Logo
Basic Plan Information

Simple Saver

  • No conditional discount
OngoingBenefit Period $2,041.39Annual Cost^^ Go To Site
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
Alinta Energy Logo
Basic Plan Information

Fair Deal 28

  • 28% pay on time discount off usage charges
1 YearBenefit Period $2,060.36Annual Cost** Go To Site
Lumo Logo
Basic Plan Information

Lumo Value 5

  • 5% discount off usage and supply charges for paying on time and by direct debit
OngoingBenefit Period $2,101.34Annual Cost^^ Go To Site
Momentum Energy Logo
Basic Plan Information

SmilePower Flexi

  • No conditional discounts
OngoingBenefit Period $2,101.51Annual Cost^^ Go To Site
View all electricity plans listed on Canstar Blue

Which discount will save me more?

There are two main types of discounts – usage charge discounts, and whole-bill discounts. Your power bill is comprised of usage charges and supply charges. Usage charges refer to the component of your bill that reflects the amount of power you’ve actually used. For medium to large households, usage charges will typically comprise the largest part of your electricity bills. Supply or service charges are incurred simply for being connected to the grid. These are fixed rates, usually between $1 and $2, which apply regardless of how much electricity you used, if any.

It’s more common for discounts to apply to usage charges only, though some electricity deals apply the discount to the entire bill (both usage and supply charges). But just because a discount applies to your entire bill, rather than just part of it, does not necessarily mean you’re getting an amazing deal. A 20% discount off usage charges, for example, could mean lower overall costs than a 5% discount on your entire bill.

So what kind of discounts will you find? Canstar Blue research shows that discounts of 30% or more off usage charges are common in Victoria where competition between electricity providers is fierce. Depending on the provider, this could save an average five person household in the state around $150 per quarter, or $600 a year.

Households in New South Wales and South Australia can expect to find discounts in the region of 20%, but discounts in Queensland are generally a bit more modest at less than 20%.

What are discount benefit periods?

Power Prices

A benefit period refers to how long a discount will apply after a customer signs up. Discounts are used to attract new customers, so they only last a year or two after a new customer has come on board. Usually benefit periods are for 12 months, though it’s not uncommon to see deals with 2 or 3 year benefit periods. Pay attention to when your discount expires, otherwise you risk paying more for electricity than you need to. Your electricity retailer should contact you toward the end of your benefit term, but you should also consider taking the initiative to shop around or contact your current provider yourself to see if they can renew your discount or even offer you a better deal.

With this in mind, there might be better value in finding a plan with a smaller discount, but that runs for two years or more. Once you start comparing electricity plans, you are likely to find providers offering longer term deals, or even find one that has a lifetime discount. And of course, there is nothing stopping you trying to negotiate a longer term with your provider. However, to get the best deals and to make sure you’re always paying the lowest possible rates in your area, you will likely need to shop around every 12 months or so.

Which electricity providers offer the biggest discounts?

Discounts vary from state to state. Generally speaking, Victorians receive the largest discounts, usually between 30% and 45%. NSW customers also receive seemingly generous discounts of about 20 to 30 per cent. Queenslanders and South Australians are usually left with the smaller discounts between 10% and 25%. Below is a list of retailers currently offering big discounts across each state. Remember though, big discounts do not always mean big savings. Use our energy comparison tool above to find out how they really stack up on price in your area.

Big discounts in NSW

You can see how these retailers and their big discounts stack up in our NSW price comparison table.

Big discounts in Victoria

Don’t forget that big discounts don’t always mean the best prices. See which electricity retailer is the cheapest in our VIC price comparison.

Big discounts in Queensland

To see whether their big discounts pay off, check out our QLD price comparison table.

Big discounts in South Australia

It’s easy to get carried away by big discounts, but be sure to check our SA price comparison table to see whether these retailers are all they’re cracked up to be.

A word of caution on energy discounts

AGREEMENT CONCEPT

Energy discounts can save you hundreds of dollars a year, but only if you stick to the conditions – failure to do so can leave you paying a lot more. Not only do you lose the discount benefit, you could also incur late payment fees (usually around $20).

Some electricity deals with large discounts may also have increased usage and supply rates. This means you might not be receiving as good a deal as you think – especially if you don’t meet the conditions to receive the discount. If you’re the type of person who tends to fall behind on your bills from time to time, it might be better to avoid electricity plans with pay on time discounts and focus more on deals with low rates or guaranteed discounts.

Don’t just assume that energy plans promising big discounts will work out to be the cheapest. When comparing electricity deals, always review their energy price fact sheets to make sure you have a good understanding of the base rates being charged. While discounts can certainly help, it defeats the purpose if you’re simply getting a big discount off a very large bill.

Compare Electricity Plans

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