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What default price cuts mean for your electricity bills

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Electricity consumers in multiple states stand to save as much as $104 – and potentially more – on their bills from July 1, after energy regulators delivered decreased default plan prices for 2024-25.

The Australian Energy Regulator (AER), which oversees energy pricing in south-east Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia, and the Essential Services Commission (ESC), which does the same in Victoria, revealed the default prices they’d permit electricity retailers to charge standing offer customers in the 12 months from July 1.

Those default prices – called the Default Market Offer under the AER and the Victorian Default Offer under the ESC – apply to Australians that don’t engage in the energy market by seeking a cheaper or better ‘market offer’ electricity plan.

Between 7% and 10% of electricity billpayers are on standing offer plans, depending on the state. Today’s announcement means that those billpayers will mostly see a cut in their annual electricity cost, with the largest savings, at $190 a year, being made by NSW residents on standing offers on the state’s Endeavour Energy network.

But the default price also acts as a baseline against which consumers can compare retail plans, and electricity companies tend to use them as a price guide for their market offer plans, with some market offer plans coming in at 20% or more below the default price.

How much might retail electricity plan prices fall?

Canstar Blue research found that if electricity retailers applied the same price reductions to their single-rate market offer plans as the regulators have dictated on standing offer plans, the average annual market offer plan cost could fall by between $15 and $104 a year, depending on the electricity distribution network.

If you’re unsure if you have a single rate tariff or controlled load tariff, single rate tariffs are more common, while controlled load tariffs involve having some large appliances on a separate meter and are more often used by households that run pool pumps and filters or have under-floor heating.

It’s possible that some retailers will apply even larger reductions to plan prices on July 1 and in the weeks following, as they adjust the prices of their market offer plans in line with the launch of new standing offer plan pricing.

The biggest saving on average annual plan prices for customers on a single-rate tariff would be $104 on the Ausnet Services network in Victoria, followed by $97 on Victoria’s Citipower network and $93 on the state’s United Energy network. The smallest saving would be a $15 drop in the average annual plan price on NSW’s Ausgrid network, while the price on south-east Queensland’s Energex network would rise by $76.

Canstar Blue’s research doesn’t reflect the additional savings that may be available if electricity companies reduced single-rate market offer plan prices to below the single-rate standing offer price, as is often the case.

Compare energy deals

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 Ausgrid energy network in Sydney but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 3911kWh/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 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.

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 our referral partners†. These costs are based on the Energex network in Brisbane but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4613kWh/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 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 our 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 4011kWh/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.

 Are there electricity savings available before July 1?

Canstar Blue data shows that current single-rate market offer plans already offer a saving of as much as $476 on the average annual cost of an electricity plan, with some market offer plans already much lower than the default prices that will come into effect on July 1.

The table below shows the lowest-cost plans on each distribution network in comparison to the average annual plan price on the same network.

If you’re unsure which distribution network you’re on, we’ve got an easy explanation of the distribution networks in SEQ, NSW, Victoria and SA.

Although the upcoming default price decreases offer some relief for customers on standing offers, Canstar Blue’s data and the AER’s report demonstrated there was and would likely continue to be potential for market-offer customers to lower their bills further by shopping around, Utilities Editor Tara Donnelly said.

AER Chair Claire Savage indicated today that competitive offers were likely to remain available despite the fact that in order to make bigger reductions in the default price, the AER removed a section of the margin it permits retailers to make, called the competition allowance. The competition margin is usually included in the AER’s margin determination so retailers are able to make enough profit on plans to offer lower-priced market offer plans.

“Most retailers have cheaper deals than the standing offer, so shopping around remains the best way to get the best price,” Ms Savage said.

Ms Donnelly agreed, noting that the July 1 price change period was a good time to examine your most recent electricity bill and check for a better option.

“Whether you’re on a default or market electricity offer, July 1 is a great time to assess what you’re paying and see if you can save by jumping to a more competitive plan,” she said. “Energy retailers generally use this time to update prices across all their plans and will often try to attract new customers with discounts or special offers.

“Aside from comparing your plan’s rates with offers from other providers, you may also be able to save by checking if you’re eligible for energy concessions or rebates in your state or territory. Energy retailers can also provide financial hardship assistance, including payment plans, to customers who need extra support.”

Compare electricity plans in your state

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 Ausgrid network in Sydney but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 3911kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. 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 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 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. 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 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 Energex network in Brisbane but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4613kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. 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 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 4011kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. 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.

Christine Seib
Editor-in-Chief
Christine's three decades of experience as an award-winning journalist and editor, including at The Times, CNBC and The Australian, has prepared her to deliver the best digital tools and information to Australians who want to purchase products and services more easily and with greater confidence.

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