Canstar Blue’s review of Victorian electricity providers compares AGL, Alinta Energy, Click Energy, Dodo, EnergyAustralia, GloBird Energy, Lumo Energy, Momentum Energy, Origin Energy, Powershop, Red Energy, Simply Energy, Sumo and Tango Energy on tools & advice, bill & cost clarity, environmental sustainability, ease of sign-up, customer service, value for money and overall satisfaction.
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If you live in Melbourne, you can hardly walk around the corner without seeing some form of advertising from an energy company. Victoria is the most competitive electricity market in Australia, and the power retailers are desperate for your business – hence all those TV, radio and even billboard ads! This competition is good for consumers who like to shop around for the next best deal, but it can also make things seem extremely confusing. With so many providers available – and so many sales pitches to work through – how are you going to find the right deal for you? Canstar Blue’s customer satisfaction review and ratings helps you cut through the noise and find out which brands are really doing a good job by their customers with regards to the service and tools they provide, as well as the value for money they offer.
This year, over 2,200 electricity bill-payers in Melbourne and across Victoria have had their say on their power companies of choice, which have been rated on factors including bill & cost clarity, tools & advice, customer service and value for money. With so much competition between retailers, the idea is to give you as much information as possible about the 14 brands compared, as well as the others that operate in the state, to help you make the best decision for your needs. If you’ve always been with one of the ‘big three’ energy companies – AGL, Origin and EnergyAustralia – you may find these results particularly interesting given the research highlights a notable divide in satisfaction between customers of the big and some smaller providers. All the details to follow.
Here are some sponsored 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 Citipower network in Melbourne 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.
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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†. Costs are based on the Citipower network in Melbourne 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 best energy providers in Victoria as rated by customers in Canstar Blue’s latest satisfaction survey:
After losing its title to Tango Energy last year, Powershop is back on top again in our ratings for Victoria. Powershop’s prepaid-style to billing is clearly going down well with lots of customers in the Melbourne area, as is its focus on renewable energy. Powershop was the only retailer to score five stars for overall customer satisfaction this year, in addition to customer service, ease of sign-up, online tools & advice and environmental sustainability. It also earned top marks for bill & cost clarity and value for money.
Tango Energy still performed very well this year, rated in second place with four stars overall, along with Dodo, Momentum Energy, GloBird Energy, Alinta Energy and Red Energy. Tango Energy and Dodo also earned top marks on value for money. It was three stars overall for EnergyAustralia, Origin Energy, AGL, Lumo Energy, Click Energy, Sumo and Simply Energy.
Read on as we explain everything you need to know about electricity providers across the state, and how to get a better deal from them. But first, why not compare plans in our comparison tool below, or read on for a selection of the cheapest published deals on our database.
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†. Costs are based on the Citipower network in Melbourne 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 Victoria. These are products from a referral partner†. These costs are based on the Citipower network in Melbourne 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 Victoria. These are products from a referral partner†. These costs are based on the Citipower network in Melbourne 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 Victoria. These are products from a referral partner†. These costs are based on the Citipower energy network in Melbourne 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.
As well as competitive prices, Powershop focuses on offering customers the helpful tools they need to monitor and act on their power usage, including an online platform and smartphone app. Users can also log on to the Powershop website to pre-purchase power packs and take advantage of various special deals, making it unique in the Australian market. Powershop is owned by Meridian Energy – one of New Zealand’s biggest generators and retailers – and has a reputation for being a cheeky alternative to the more established companies – regularly poking fun at ‘traditional’ retailer behaviour. But it has a serious side – especially when it comes to renewables, ranked the Greenest Energy Company in Australia by Greenpeace. When it comes to its plans, Powershop offers a sizeable discount off its base rates, with further savings possible by purchasing a future power pack, with offers regularly updated on the website and app.
Tango Energy is a Melbourne-based provider and the retail arm of renewable energy generation company Pacific Hydro. Tango Energy was previously branded Pacific Hydro, but its name was changed in 2018. Founded in 1992, the company was acquired by China’s State Power Investment Corporation after being floated on the ASX in 2016. When it comes to its presence in Australia, Tango Energy primarily operates in Victoria with two market offers. The first plan comes with fixed rates for 12 months so customers are protected from increasing costs in the short term. It does not include any conditional discounts, just competitive rates. The second is much the same, with the added bonus for 100% GreenPower to your plan. Tango Energy is generally up there with the cheapest electricity companies and its back-to-basics approach has made it a hit with locals.
Perhaps best-known as a phone and internet provider, Dodo completes the set of home services by also selling electricity and natural gas. A fairly no frills retailer, Dodo operates with a single variable rate market offer, usually competitively-priced. This is a no contract agreement, with no exit fees. But Dodo would rather have you sign up for multiple services, claiming notable savings for those who buy their power and internet together. The Dodo brand is owned by Vocus Communications – the company behind lots of other phone and internet companies, including iPrimus. Dodo’s main selling point is that customers have the convenience of dealing with the same company for all of their home services. The problem is that it becomes harder to compare plans when you start bundling them together.
Owned by Hydro Tasmania, Momentum Energy is a champion of renewable generation and was one of the first retailers to make moves to help simplify the retail market in Australia by keeping its products free from conditional discounts in an industry where the biggest discounts didn’t always mean the biggest savings – and sticking to all the conditions can prove tricky. Melbourne-based, Momentum Energy markets itself as the brand with great rates but no confusing discounts. Momentum has four residential market offers with varying rates but no exit fees. These include a plan targeted at renters who often move home, plus one of few solar-specific deals in Victoria that has a seemingly generous feed-in tariff. This approach seems to have its fans, with Momentum Energy rating consistently well in our electricity ratings over the years.
GloBird Energy has emerged as one of the main ‘second tier’ challengers to the state’s power giants, AGL, Origin and EnergyAustralia. While some retailers promote their green credentials, helpful tools, or great customer service, GloBird Energy is all about promoting cheap prices and big savings. It mainly does this through conditional discounts, but GloBird has also become one of several retailers to launch an offer with low base rates, rather than relying on headline-grabbing discounts to bring costs down. In addition to supplying electricity, GloBird Energy is also now a natural gas retailer in the state and recently launched in NSW, QLD and SA for the first time. Claimed to be 100% Australian-owned, GloBird is often one of the cheapest brands around.
Alinta Energy is one of the largest dual fuel energy providers in the southern states of Australia, as well as a major gas supplier in Western Australia. It is also now partnered with the Queensland government to supply homes in the Brisbane area. The retailer is headquartered in Sydney and has a strong presence in Perth, but is now owned by a Hong Kong-based conglomerate company. When it comes to Victoria, Alinta Energy has two market offers, both of which come with no conditional discounts. One of Alinta’s plans gives customers a subscription to Kayo Sports. Households that also switch their natural gas with Alinta Energy could qualify for a ‘double up’ bonus in the form of sign-up credit. The retailer also has its own rewards program, bringing savings on various activities such as movie tickets and eating out.
The highest-rated electricity provider in our NSW comparison, Red Energy keeps things fairly simple with three market offers for prospective customers to consider. The retailer’s biggest selling point is its partnership with Qantas as two plans come with the added benefit of Qantas Frequent Flyer points upon sign up and for paying on time. Red Energy’s traditional offer comes variable rates, with the Qantas deal including throwing in two points for every $1 spent on bills. All plans come no contract term or exit fees. Red Energy’s standard plan also come with access to Red Energy Rewards, the retailer’s exclusive rewards program that can deliver discounts on various social activities, such as movie tickets, hotels and numerous other attractions. Like Lumo Energy, Red is owned by renewables company Snowy Hydro.
The best-rated of the big three retailers in Victoria, EnergyAustralia provides a fairly concise range of products, including two fixed rates deal that see prices locked in for 12 months. Rates vary between the plans and one includes a modest guaranteed discount applied to the whole bill. There is a third plan with no discounts or incentives which comes with VDO pricing. All this marks a notable change for EnergyAustralia which previously offered up to five different market offers in the state, including some large conditional discounts which expired after a year or two. This changed when new industry regulations took effect. All EnergyAustralia plans are said to be carbon neutral for customers who opt in (you’ll need to check the EA website for details). The company helpfully publishes estimated monthly costs for all its plans online so you’ll have an idea of what you’ll pay before signing up.
Lumo Energy offers Victorians a diverse range of products, including a deal targeted at renters who often move home – as it waives connection and reconnection fees – and a basic energy offering with no sign-up incentives or conditional discounts. All Lumo plans have variable rates, with the exception of one that allows customers to lock in rates for a minimum of 12 months until March 2022. Another big draw to Lumo Energy is its rewards program, Lumo Ameego. With this, customers redeem discounts on a range of social activities such as movie tickets, gift cards, eating out and hotels. Lumo Energy may not be the best-rated in this review, but it has historically ranked very well in our annual review of SA electricity providers.
Claiming that its online business model helps keep costs low, Click Energy has been a reasonably-strong performer in our electricity provider ratings in recent years. Click typically provides a couple of market offers, in addition to one or two deals specifically designed for solar customers. All plans come with variable rates and Click Energy has a habit of chopping and changing its main products from time to time. Once a retailer that promoted large discounts, Click’s plans now come with no conditional discounts at all, although it is known for the occasional promotion that includes incentives like free gift cards.
Like Origin, utilities giant AGL has undertaken a major review of its plans since the introduction of the VDO, with a move away from conditional discounts, replaced by sign-up incentives instead. AGL’s offers are now the Essentials Saver and Essentials, one of which has fixed rates for 12 months, the other variable. This plan comes with access to AGL Rewards, the retailer’s loyalty program that delivers various value-add benefits. AGL is also one of few retailers to offer specific deals for seniors.
Sumo has emerged across eastern Australia as a residential energy retailer that is also an NBN provider. Due to this, you can expect to find bundled products to service your home, with additional bill credits available for choosing this option. In Victoria specifically, Sumo offers three main offers, the first coming with fairly modest base rates and the second that comes with bill credits for bundling utilities. Sumo also provides a basic fixed rate plan for those who want to keep it simple. All of Sumo’s plans generally come with rates not far off the VDO, with the discounted product being an exception, granted you meet the conditions required.
Simply Energy is typically a price-competitive brand, offering a range of unique products to choose from. The company is now owned by French utilities giant Engie, but remains based in Melbourne where it offers a couple of price effective plans with unconditional discounts attached. Simply Energy’s main selling point is value-add incentives, where customers can choose to sign up to a plan that offers extras they might be interested in. One of its most attractive options in recent years is its special offer for movie fans, bringing free tickets throughout the year. However, this deal is not always available. All plans come with variable rates but no lock-in contracts.
Origin Energy has perhaps seen the biggest changes following the industry changes that took effect from July 2019. Previously offering one of the most diverse product ranges around, including large conditional discounts that expired after a year, Origin now promotes a much easier to understand line-up of four plans, with no conditional discounts to be found. The first of these is its basic plan with VDO pricing, while the other two bring modest savings off the VDO. Both coming with no contract terms or exit fees. Despite changes to its product range, many Origin customers will still be on one of its now retired plans. If you don’t recognise the plans list here, it might be worth giving Origin a call to discuss your options.
In addition to the market offers mentioned above, all retailers have standard electricity contracts. In Victoria, these are also known as the Victorian Default Offer (VDO). As the name suggests, these are ‘default’ power plans that customers may be on if they’ve never switched companies, or haven’t moved onto a new deal for several years. Standard contracts are usually more expensive than the cheapest market offers.
GloBird Energy, OVO Energy and Powerclub are consistently some of the cheapest electricity companies in Victoria. Nevertheless, it’s best to frequently compare retailers as electricity prices change all the time given there are more than 25 brands to choose from.
Aside from which supplier is cheapest, it’s also important to look into other features like customer service, billing options and rewards programs. Although cheaper prices will generally sway most Victorians when making a purchase decision, don’t discount the energy providers that will go the extra mile for your business.
You can compare energy providers in your area by using our free comparison tool. Simply type in your postcode or suburb and hit the compare button. From here you’ll be able to view a range of suppliers in your specific region with prices reflecting the appropriate yearly usage amounts according to the relevant distribution zone.
The Canstar Blue electricity comparison tool is easy to use and does not require a phone number. You may also wish to input some details from a previous energy bill for a more specific comparison based on your household’s general usage. Our tool allows you to sort deals by brand, plan name, price, value score and more.
Once you’ve compared prices, plans and suppliers in our comparison tool, click on the product that’s best suited to your personal circumstances. You will then be directed to your chosen retailer’s website where you will be required to enter some of your details. Your new retailer should provide details about what happens next in terms of account management.
Remember that each power company handles the switching process differently, so don’t forget to review all the terms and conditions from both companies before making the switch. These can be found via the energy price fact sheets which all retailers must provide.
It will normally take about 30 days to switch energy providers in Victoria, however the timeframe will depend on when your existing retailer carries out a final meter reading on your premises. This may take a couple of days or it could take up to three months before your new company takes over your account.
It’s important to know that the retailer you’re looking to switch to will usually update you once your account has been successfully transferred. Also, you can expect a final bill from your old retailer which will still need to be settled.
This page was originally published by Canstar Blue Editor-in-Chief Simon Downes. He’s been writing about energy prices in Victoria for more than five years, covering the big discount price wars that followed the deregulation of the market in 2009, the subsequent influx of new retailers and unique offers, and more recently the fallout from industry reforms that included the introduction of a new default tariff. Simon also acts as spokesperson for Canstar Blue and is one of Australia’s most prominent energy industry commentators.
This page was last updated in January 2021.
There is no simple answer to this question because it depends on a multitude of factors, from the type of contract you have, to your discount, electricity tariffs, and where you live. But to give you an idea of where to find the cheapest energy rates in Victoria, Canstar Blue has a cost comparison page, showing plans from the providers mentioned in this report. Being the cheapest provider doesn’t automatically make them the ‘best’, but if it’s purely the bottom line you are concerned about, be sure to check out the details. Also be sure to use our comparison tool for specific offers in your area.
This report offers lots of information to help you make a better-informed decision about your electricity supply, so now it’s up to you to compare providers and plans. To make sure that you get a better deal, be sure to consider and ask the following questions:
You will find the answers to these questions and more in the energy price fact sheets of each provider you compare. However, these documents can be quite difficult to understand, so don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and get the answers you need. It’s also a good idea to contact your existing provider and ask if your current deal is the best they can offer. And remember that the retailers should be working hard to keep you happy, so if you’re not completely satisfied with the price you’re paying or the servicing you’re receiving, you now know what you can do about it.
Here is a complete list of energy providers in Victoria.
There are five electricity distribution networks in Victoria, with numerous energy providers operating throughout. Canstar Blue’s electricity comparison tool includes pricing from all of these providers.
Here are the other brands operating throughout the state which did not qualify for our annual review of VIC electricity providers.
Amber Electric is a new electricity provider, currently retailing across NSW, VIC, QLD and SA. It brings one plan to Victoria, where usage charges are claimed to be charged at the wholesale price. The only catch is that in order to give its customers access to these wholesale rates, Amber Electric is charging a monthly subscription fee, which it says is absorbed into the daily supply charge.
CovaU retails electricity and natural gas to households in Victoria and NSW. This provider’s plans vary between states, and in Victoria you’ll find one market offer and a solar offering for those with solar panels. On both of these plans you can expect to see a seemingly generous pay on time and direct debit discount that applies to the usage charges, but is only applied the first year you’re on the plan. CovaU also has a rewards program, offering various discounts and savings with certain retailers and attractions.
Diamond Energy is a relatively small, solar-focused retailer that places a large emphasis on supporting renewable energy generation. It operates in VIC, NSW, QLD and SA. It has been ranked the second most ‘green’ electricity company in Greenpeace’s latest Green Electricity Guide, perhaps in part due to its ownership of renewable assets. In Victoria you can find one electricity market offer available from Diamond Energy, that comes with a discount when you pay on time, by direct debit and receive email bills, which applies for a total of two years.
Elysian Energy is offering a fairly unique approach to energy retail, whereby customers pay a monthly fixed rate for their electricity depending on estimated usage needs. Its plans come with no discounts or headline incentives, instead, claiming to offer “consistently low prices”. Elysian Energy is offering four different energy plans based on varying household energy usage needs, whereby if you don’t use all power that’s available, the remaining will roll over into the next month.
Energy Locals is relatively new to the Victorian market, but is taking giant leaps as a small retailer, supplying power to homes and businesses. What makes Energy Locals a little different is that asides from being an energy company, it is also a social enterprise. Energy Locals currently has two market offers available to customers in Victoria, both of which are relatively competitive in terms of its usage and supply rates. One of the plans gives customers access to wholesale rates for a monthly membership fee.
Online retail giant, Kogan, has entered the energy market by way of its partnership with established retailer, Powershop. Kogan is currently available in Victoria, New South Wales, south east Queensland and South Australia, offering one plan fittingly called ‘Market Offer’. Kogan Energy has a helpful app which allows customers to pay bills and check power usage, as well as other useful insights. With such a renowned name in the retail space, Kogan Energy aims to “flip the switch on amazing value” in the energy world.
OVO Energy first tested the water in NSW, QLD and SA, but has now set up shop in Victoria. Like many challenger brands in VIC, OVO Energy brings just one plan with competitive rates and no confusing discounts or bill credits. OVO’s billing method is a little different to other retailers, where customers who sign up to its plan agree to bill smoothing by default, meaning that households pay the same amount for electricity every month.
Melbourne-based People Energy currently only has residential market offers in Victoria, with just standard contracts available in NSW and Queensland. This retailer frames itself as a ‘customer focused’ retailer, and offers what it calls ‘competitive pricing’. Despite these claims, People Energy is currently offering just one electricity plan in Victoria, with rates equal to the Victorian Default Offer.
Powerclub is an emerging retailer that is offering electricity in a different way from the norm. Instead of just laying down plans with predetermined rates, customers will gain access to wholesale prices for the cost of an annual fee. Victorians who are interested in Powerclub will likely be better off having a smart meter installed on their premises, though it’s not strictly necessary. To prevent bill shock, Powerclub also has in place a ‘Powerbank’, from which customers pay a deposit to ensure coverage in case of unpredictable wholesale rate spikes.
Powerdirect is backed by AGL, and is offering energy plans in Victoria, NSW, Queensland and South Australia. Like other providers, Powerdirect has historically been known to offer energy to business customers only, but has expanded to provide residential electricity as well. In Victoria, customers will also have fixed rates for 12 months, meaning prices won’t change during this period.
QEnergy follows of a slew of electricity retailers trying to ‘simplify’ the residential energy market by offering plans with no conditional discounts. The retailer currently operates in Victoria, NSW, Queensland and South Australia, but is perhaps better known for its business energy offerings. In Victoria you can expect to see one market offer that, as mentioned, provides no discount and variable rates.
Sumo has emerged within Victoria and NSW as a residential energy retailer that is also an NBN provider. Due to this, you can expect bundled products to service your home, with additional bill credits available for choosing this option. In Victoria specifically, Sumo offers both electricity and gas plans, with bill credits advertised. Sumo also provides a basic fixed rate electricity plan for those who want to keep it simple.
1st Energy calls itself a ‘customer focused’ retailer that offers prices that “actually reflect the real cost of doing business”. It’s offering plans in Victoria, NSW, QLD, and even Tasmania. It is the first provider to move into Tasmania, challenging the monopoly of state-owned Aurora Energy. Within Victoria, 1st Energy is offering one market plan that comes with a large pay on time discount off just usage charges, rather than the whole bill.
Victoria is a hugely competitive market for the electricity providers – it’s where many invest the majority of their time, effort and money in order to attract new customers. This is important to know because it means that you have the power to find a better deal – provided that you’re willing to do your research and shop around. This hasn’t happened by chance or overnight. Victoria was the first Australian state to completely remove electricity price regulations in 2009, which means the energy companies are free to set their own plans and prices, with minimal legislative interference under the introduction of the VDO in 2019. Households had been able to switch providers since several years earlier, but there was little financial incentive to do so at the time.
With a fully deregulated electricity market, Victorians now have a huge range of different providers, plans and other incentives to choose from. However, with all this choice can come confusion and there is little doubt that the prospect of picking an electricity provider is a daunting one for a great many households, which is why many will still be paying more for power than they need to. The price of electricity has risen significantly in recent years, blamed in part on the closure of the Hazelwood Power Plant in Victoria back in 2017, leading many to question whether or not deregulation has been good for consumers or not. That debate will continue, but for now the key to cutting energy costs is first understanding your options – and then acting on them.
The Victorian energy market went through a significant change in July 2019 when tough new regulations took effect, designed to cut prices, as well as make comparing plans easier. After years of big, often dodgy discounts, retailers must now compare their discounted products to a ‘level playing field’ price called the Victorian Default Offer. The idea is that, unlike before, there is now a consistent price from which plans are compared, meaning you can have greater confidence that the plans boasting the biggest savings genuinely deliver them. At the same time, the Victorian Default Offer (VDO) acts as a price cap for customers who were previously paying the highest prices on standing offers. These customers have now been switched onto the cheaper VDO price and will be saving hundreds of dollars a year. That said, there are still many plans cheaper than the VDO, so shopping around for the best deal is still hugely important.
Victoria currently has three coal-fired power stations in operation in the Latrobe Valley, Yallourn (owned by EnergyAustralia) and Loy Yang A and B (owned by AGL). The Loy Yang power stations alone are said to power approximately 30% of Victoria’s electricity generation, although all three plants are scheduled to close in the next 20-30 years.
The Hazelwood Power Station (majority owned by Engie, the company behind retailer Simply Energy) was previously supplying around a quarter of Victoria’s base load electricity before it was closed in 2017. This means the state is now heavily reliant on its numerous gas turbine and reciprocating power stations, but with the coal-fired plants getting older and becoming less reliable, Victorians are susceptible to blackouts during periods of high demand when power reserve are stretched to the limit. In fact, more than 200,000 people were left without electricity in January 2019 as Melbourne sweltered through a 42-degree day and two of the three coal-fired plants failed.
Victoria is also home to more than a dozen solar farms, wind farms and hydroelectric power generation systems, though these can currently only meet a small percentage of the state’s overall energy demands.
The other factor that could impact the size of your next bill is where you live. Victoria has five different electricity distribution networks and the cost of supplying power to your home can be different depending on which network you live on. While electricity retailers are the customer-facing business, it’s the distributors who manage the infrastructure (i.e. poles and wires) that transports energy to your living room. The five electricity distributors in Victoria are:
As the retailers pass on distributor costs to their customers, the suburb you live in will impact your energy costs. For example, an Origin customer living in north Melbourne would pay a different rate to an Origin customer in south Melbourne, even if they have the same product and identical usage habits. Distributor costs can account for up to 50% of your overall bill. If you are a home owner, there is nothing you can do about this, but if you are renting a home or considering where to buy, this is worth looking into. Choosing one suburb over another could save you hundreds of dollars a year in energy costs.
Given that distribution costs are passed on to the electricity providers, who then pass the costs onto their customers, it makes sense that households in the most hard-to-reach places will pay the most for power as there are more poles and wires involved in transmitting the energy to them. This is the case in Victoria where electricity customers in central parts of Melbourne (on the Citipower network) generally pay lower rates than those who live on the Powercor and AusNet networks which huge parts of regional Victoria.
To illustrate how location impacts the cost of electricity across the five distribution networks in Victoria, Canstar Blue’s electricity database listed the following prices as the cheapest deals on each network as of February 2020. These annual costs are based on assumptions set by the Essential Services Commission.
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Source: Canstar Blue electricity database February 2020.
As you can see, living in one part of Victoria could see you paying hundreds of dollars a year more than an equivalent household in another part of the state, even with the same retailer. And keep in mind that it’s not only those way out in regional Victoria that pay the highest prices – as a provider’s rates are consistent across each network, you could live on the Powercor or AusNet network in an outer suburb of Melbourne and pay significantly more than your friends in a neighbouring suburb.
There are two types of electricity contracts that a household in Victoria could be on – the Victorian Default Offer (VDO) or a market contract. Knowing which type you have is the first step to saving money.
It’s estimated that about one in ten households in Victoria were switched from a standing offer onto the VDO in July 2019. But while the VDO price is certainly much less than these people would previously have paid for power, Canstar Blue’s electricity database shows that customers could still save hundreds of dollars a year by switching from the VDO onto one of the cheapest market contracts, even with the same retailer. The VDO is designed to be a “fair” price for power, but that doesn’t mean you should settle for it.
Market electricity offers in Victoria come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but they all include two major costs – supply charges and usage charges.
It’s important to look at both of these rates when comparing energy plans, but large households should pay particular attention to usage rates, while smaller households with modest energy usage should look for plans with lower daily supply costs as these will make up a higher proportion of overall costs.
Energy tariffs are often the cause of confusion for customers, but once you know what they are and how they work, you will realise they could present an opportunity to save on bills. Put simply, ‘tariffs’ relate to the pricing structure of your energy plan, with different usage charges applying based on when you use power. Tariffs available in Victoria broadly fall into two categories:
If you have a single rate tariff, you will pay the same usage charges no matter what time of day you use power – so the cost of using air conditioning, for example, will be the same whether it’s used in the early evening (peak times) or in the middle of the night (off-peak times). You might also see a single rate tariff referred to as a ‘general rate’ or ‘peak tariff’ as all electricity usage is effectively charged at peak rates.
If you have a time of use tariff (also known as ‘flexible pricing’), you’ll be charged different electricity rates depending on when you use power. These rates are usually split into three categories, although the exact times in which they apply can vary between electricity distribution networks.
Time of use energy tariffs are only available if your property has a smart meter. As the majority of homes in Victoria now have smart meters installed, flexible pricing is very common and can be helpful in reducing energy costs, particularly if you generally use power at off-peak times. However, picking the wrong tariff for your usage habits could prove a costly mistake. Demand tariffs – which apply an additional charge to reflect a household’s peak time usage – are also now available in Victoria.
In addition to single rate and time of use tariffs, households in Melbourne and other parts of Victoria can also benefit from a controlled load tariff (also called a dedicated circuit). A controlled load tariff is a dedicated metering connection that allows households to pay for high-usage appliances, such as hot water systems, at a cheaper rate. A dedicated circuit is usually only applied to electric water heaters, but with more than one circuit, households can also apply them to pool pumps. Controlled load tariffs are much cheaper than other charges, usually less than 25 cents per kWh. The drawback is that power will only be supplied for a few hours each day (i.e. enough time to heat water for the day or to clean your pool).
With more than 25 electricity providers competing in Victoria, you won’t be surprised to learn that there is a huge range of different plans to pick from, often differentiated by the conditional discounts and any other incentives on offer. These plans broadly fall into two categories – those which have variable rates and those with fixed rates.
The vast majority of electricity plans in Victoria come with variables rates. Fixed rate plans were once only offered by the big three, AGL, EnergyAustralia and Origin, though nowadays you’ll find smaller providers going down the fixed rate path too.
The sun may not shine in Victoria as often as some other states, but more and more Victorian households are choosing to invest in solar systems. While all electricity market offers come with some form of solar feed-in tariff, there are only a handful of retailers that offer specific solar plans, usually with higher rates for solar generation. These include Kogan Energy, Origin, Click Energy, CovaU and Momentum Energy.
In an effort to stand out from the crowd, some providers in Victoria boast market offer plans with discounts off usage charges – up to 40% or more before the industry changes that kicked in from July 2019 but much lower now. While these discounts can be a great way to cut your overall power costs, it’s important not just to assume that the providers promising the biggest discounts will automatically work out to be the cheapest, because that’s often not the case at all. Discounts will usually be applied if you:
Discounts usually apply to electricity usage charges only, but some retailers apply their discounts to your entire bill instead. While tempting, it’s important to compare energy plans based on their base rates as well as the conditional discounts. But most importantly, you should see how the plan in question compares to the reference price that is the VDO. Failing to meet the conditions of a discount will mean you are left paying the non-discounted rate, which will be much higher. You may also be charged a fee. Also be sure to check the benefit period of your discount, because most only apply for one or two years, after which you’ll have to pay the full price.
If discounts don’t appeal to you, you will find a range of other sign-up incentives offered by the electricity retailers in Victoria in an effort to get you on board. Simply Energy and Alinta Energy both have plans that provide incentives for sports lovers, while AGL customers can earn flybuys points and those with Red Energy can collect Qantas Frequent Flyer points. It’s also common for retailers to throw $50-$100 in sign-up credit at new customers, especially if they sign up online.
The following electricity providers offer some form of rewards program to customers in Victoria, bringing savings on various leisure and social activities, including eating out, accommodation and even theme park tickets.
Given that Victoria is one of the most competitive energy markets for the retailers, some of these rewards programs are not available in other areas.
In the table below, we compare prices on the Citipower network in Melbourne. We show one product per retailer, 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 $1,270/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Use our comparison tool for a specific comparison. Our database may not cover all deals available in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.
|Electricity Provider||Electricity Plan||Difference from VDO›||Conditional Discounts||Price Estimate˜|
|Powerclub||Powerbank Home Flat||16% Less Than VDO||No conditional discounts||$1,061
|Simply Energy||Simply Blue||16% Less Than VDO||No conditional discounts||$1,066|
|EnergyAustralia||Total Plan Home||11% Less Than VDO||$25 sign-up credit||$1,105incl. conditional discount|
|Tango Energy||Home Select||12% Less Than VDO||No conditional discounts||$1,123
|1st Energy||Prepaid Value||11% Less Than VDO||No conditional discounts||$1,132
|Alinta Energy||Home Deal||10% Less Than VDO||No conditional discounts||$1,147
|Origin Energy||Everyday Rewards||10% Less Than VDO||No conditional discounts||$1,147|
|Lumo Energy||Value||8% Less Than VDO||No conditional discounts||$1,162
|OVO Energy||The One Plan||8% Less Than VDO||No conditional discounts||$1,170
|Dodo||Market Offer||7% Less Than VDO||No conditional discounts||$1,176
|Elysian Energy||The Good Life||7% Less Than VDO||No conditional discounts||$1,178
|Momentum Energy||Self Serve||7% Less Than VDO||No conditional discounts||$1,180
|AGL||Essentials||5% Less Than VDO||No conditional discounts||$1,206
|Click Energy||Lily||5% Less Than VDO||No conditional discounts||$1,206
|Powerdirect||Rate Saver||4% Less Than VDO||No conditional discounts||$1,219
|Kogan Energy||Market Offer||2% Less Than VDO||No conditional discounts||$1,242
|GloBird Energy||SureSave||Equal To VDO||1% Less Than VDO for Direct Debit||$1,257incl. conditional discount|
|Red Energy||Living Energy Saver||1% Less Than VDO||No conditional discounts||$1,257|
|Sumo||Sumo Assure||1% Less Than VDO||No conditional discounts||$1,260|
|Diamond Energy||Everyday Renewable Saver||11% More Than VDO||7% Less Than VDO for Paying on Time by Direct Debit with e-Billing||$1,265incl. conditional discount
|Powershop||Victorian Default Offer||Equal to VDO||No conditional discounts||$1,270
|Energy Locals||Victorian Default Offer||Equal to VDO||No conditional discounts||$1,270|
|CovaU||Victorian Default Offer||Equal To VDO||No conditional discounts||$1,270|
|QEnergy||Home Your Way||Equal To VDO||No conditional discounts||$1,270
|Amber Electric||Amber Plan||10% More Than VDO||No conditional discounts||$1,394
|People Energy||Victorian Default Offer||12% More Than VDO||No conditional discounts||$1,420
|Energy Fact Sheets|
The table below shows the general usage rates and daily supply charges of the Victorian electricity providers on our database. We list the rates of the cheapest published deal from each retailer. Rates are for single rate tariffs only. Use our comparison tool for specific rates in your area.
|Electricity Provider||Electricity Plan||General Usage Rate||Daily Supply Charge|
|Alinta Energy||Home Deal||19.59¢/kWh||99.55¢/day|
|Amber Electric||Amber Plan||25.87¢/kWh||98.44¢/day|
|CovaU||Victorian Default Offer||25.17¢/kWh||113.09¢/day|
|Diamond Energy||Everyday Renewable Saver||24.12¢/kWh||120.89¢/day|
|Elysian Energy||The Good Life||N/A||N/A|
|EnergyAustralia||Total Plan Home||21.40¢/kWh||113.30¢/day|
|Energy Locals||Local Saver||24.00¢/kWh||57.00¢/day|
|Kogan Energy||Market Offer||22.26¢/kWh||96.39¢/day|
|Momentum Energy||Self Serve||20.89¢/kWh||110.83¢/day|
|OVO Energy||The One Plan||21.01¢/kWh||90.42¢/day|
|People Energy||Victorian Default Offer||25.17¢/kWh||113.09¢/day|
|Powerclub||Powerbank Home Flat||18.33¢/kWh||79.09¢/day|
|Powershop||Shopper Market Offer||25.52¢/kWh||115.58¢/day|
|QEnergy||Home Your Way||21.40¢/kWh||113.30¢/day|
|Red Energy||Living Energy Saver||24.42¢/kWh||109.99¢/day|
|Simply Energy||Simply Blue||21.40¢/kWh||113.30¢/day|
|Tango Energy||Home Select||20.13¢/kWh||107.80¢/day|
|1st Energy||Prepaid Value||25.15¢/kWh||113.08¢/day|
|Energy Fact Sheets|
Rates from Citipower network in Melbourne. Rates last updated January 2021. Use our comparison tool for specific details in your area.
Customers who live in Melbourne’s city or inner suburbs are covered by the Citipower electricity distribution network. Here are the main areas within this network:
If you live in Melbourne’s north or north-western suburbs, what you may not know is that your electricity is supplied by the Jemena network. Here are a few examples of the areas that fall under this umbrella:
The United Energy network supplies electricity to all homes within Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, as well as Melbourne’s southern suburbs. These include but are not limited to:
Residents in western Victoria and Melbourne’s western suburbs are supplied electricity though the Powercor network. These include major localities such as Ballarat and Geelong. Other suburbs within this region are:
The Ausnet network covers the eastern parts of Victoria, in addition to Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. This is a list of the suburbs that fall in this area:
Canstar Blue surveyed 12,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who live in Victoria, have an electricity account, and pay the bills – in this case, 2,254 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
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*QLD, SA and NSW: Price is GST inclusive and is: The estimated lowest possible price a representative customer would be charged in a year for this plan, assuming all conditions of discounts offered (if any) have been met, based on the AER’s model annual usage in the distribution region as stated at the top of each table.
~VIC: Price is GST inclusive and is: The estimated lowest possible price a customer would be charged in a year for this plan, using the Victorian Government’s annual reference consumption for domestic customers in your distribution region as stated at the top of each table and assuming all conditions of discounts offered (if any) have been met.
Some plans may require you to meet certain conditions before a discount may become available to you. Check the energy provider’s plan information for details of all possible discounts that may apply and any conditions that need to be met to be eligible for these discounts. Some plans may have a minimum term longer than one year. In that case the total cost over the term will be much higher than the Price (which is only for one year). Consider the provider’s detailed product and pricing information before making a decision to take out a new plan or switch electricity providers.
^What is the Reference Price?
Reference Price: The reference price is set by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) for a financial year in relation to electricity supply to residential customers in the distribution region and is based on an assumed annual usage amount. Any difference between the reference price and the unconditional price of a plan is expressed as a percentage more or less than the reference price. The terms of any conditional discounts are shown, along with any further difference between the reference price and the discount applied if a condition is met, expressed as a percentage more or less than the reference price.
>What is the VDO?
VDO: The Victorian Default Offer (VDO) includes a daily supply charge and usage charges (per kilowatt hour). Differences in tariffs across distribution regions reflect the unique costs of providing electricity services in each area. The difference between the VDO and the unconditional price of a plan, based on the Victorian Government’s annual reference consumption for domestic customers in the distribution region, is expressed as a percentage more or less than the VDO. The terms of any conditional discounts are shown, along with any further difference between the VDO and the discount applied if a condition is met, expressed as a percentage more or less than the VDO.
ACT: Costs based on annual household usage of 5499kWh/year on the EvoEnergy network in Canberra, September 2020. For more information on annual cost calculations please click here.
TAS: Costs based on annual household usage of 6775kWh/year on the TasNetworks electricity network in Tasmania, September 2020. For more information on annual cost calculations please click here.
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Annual cost estimates exclude solar payments. Feed-in tariffs shown are single rate only.
Solar products may only be available to solar customers and some products may only be available to customers who purchase solar PV or other products through the retailer.