Which electricity provider should I use?

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A few years ago, many Australians would just accept the price of electricity and pay their bills without questioning it. This was the case with most households until energy markets across the country became deregulated. Energy deregulation introduced retail competition to states like Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland (south east) and South Australia, meaning that customers were finally able to choose their electricity provider.

Fast-forward to today and in some areas, one could make an argument that there are way too many energy providers to choose from! Although it’s great to have a large selection, sometimes it can lead to confusion, especially if you’re only after the cheapest electricity prices. In this guide, we’ll run you through a who’s who list of companies in the energy world, plus give you an insight on what to look for when it’s time to pick an electricity provider.

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How do I choose an electricity provider?

The simplest way to choose an electricity retailer is by finding out what’s important to you as a customer and then comparing your options. It could be that you recognise a brand and are happy with one of their deals, or that one provider offers a specific plan that’s better suited to your own needs. Our comparison tool below is loaded with features designed to help you make the best decision.

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Which companies score the highest for customer satisfaction?

Canstar Blue surveys thousands of Aussies every year across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. Here are the best electricity providers in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia as rated in Canstar Blue’s latest satisfaction surveys.

Best Energy Provider in Sydney

Red Energy was rated the best electricity provider in NSW for the sixth year in a row in 2020, earning five stars for its customer service, value for money, ease of sign-up and environmental sustainability. Red Energy is Australian-owned and is best known for its rewards program as well as its partnership with Qantas, with numerous frequent flyer points up for grabs.

Here are the Red Energy plans on our database for NSW. 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 3900kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. 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.

Best Energy Provider in Melbourne

Powershop emerged as a clear favourite with energy customers in Victoria in 2020, taking out five stars across all research categories, including its customer service, value for money, environmental sustainability and bill & cost clarity. Hailed as the greenest power company in Australia, Powershop offers a unique prepaid way of paying for electricity, which features big discounts for pre-payment.

Here are the Powershop plans on our database for VIC. 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. 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.

Best Energy Provider in Brisbane

Alinta Energy took out top spot in south east Queensland for three years in a row in 2020, nailing five-star reviews across all research categories, including its customer service, value for money, ease of sign-up, as well as online tools & advice. In the past, pay on time discounts were a calling card for Alinta Energy, but now the retailer tends to focus on simpler pricing with low variable rates.

Here are the Alinta Energy plans on our database for QLD. 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 4600kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. 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.

Best Energy Provider in Adelaide

Alinta Energy took over as the best-rated electricity provider in South Australia in 2020, receiving five stars for its customer service, ease of sign-up and overall satisfaction. What’s interesting about this result is that it’s the first time that Alinta has been crowned king of energy in SA, meaning its straightforward approach to plans and pricing are gaining momentum.

Here are the Alinta Energy plans on our database for SA. 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. 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.

Cheap Electricity Deals

Take a look at some of the cheapest energy plans on our database. Be sure to click on your state to get a rough idea on prices, but for a more accurate quote, use our comparison tool.

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 3900kWh/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 4600kWh/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 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.

What to look for in an electricity plan and provider

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While price will generally have the biggest influence on your decision, there are a few other features to think about. Most of these factors can add to the overall value you’ll get out of an electricity plan, meaning it’s important to break down a few components to identify what’s best suited to your needs.

What is the usage rate?

The usage rate is an integral part of your energy plan and is the amount you’ll be charged for using electricity. Electricity usage charges are billed per kilowatt hour and can quickly add up if your household consumes a lot of power.

How much are supply charges?

Supply rates are a secondary component of your energy bill, covering the cost of electricity being supplied to your home via the poles and wires. Electricity supply costs are a fixed daily charge, meaning all households will pay supply charges, regardless of how much power they consume.

Which tariff are you on?

There are multiple types of electricity tariffs available, however the most common is a single rate tariff, which charges the same usage rate at all times of the day. Other tariffs include time of use, controlled load and block rate.

Are rates fixed or variable?

Much like a home loan, energy rates (usage and supply charges) come as either fixed or variable. Fixed rates can be locked in for a period of usually 12 or 24 months before changing, while variable rates tend to be cheaper but can change at the electricity provider’s discretion, provided they give you notice.

Do retailers offer any discounts or bill credits?

Some energy providers offer plans with discounts and credits which help drive costs down when it’s time to pay your bill. Electricity discounts and bill credits normally require you to satisfy a condition or two, like signing up online, paying on time or paying by direct debit.

What’s their customer service like?

3 light bulbs with smiley faces on them

One of the most underrated factors when choosing your electricity retailer is the level of customer service they provide. There’s no point signing up to a power company if they’re difficult to get in contact with or they have no online tools, apps or services to help manage your account.

Are there any rewards programs or incentives?

Another aspect that’s often overlooked are energy rewards programs and customer incentives that sweeten the deal. Think flybuys points, free cinema tickets, shopping coupons, exclusive insurance deals and discounts off hotels to name just a few.

Does it have green energy options?

Some energy companies are doing more than others in making a conscious effort in providing customers with green energy options. This means you may have the choice to pick a plan where a portion of your bill (i.e. 10% or 25%) goes towards funding renewable energy sources known as GreenPower. Some electricity providers also now offer carbon offset energy plans.

What are the billing cycles available?

Rather than receive bill shock every three months, some retailers offer weekly or monthly billing cycles. This means you can keep on top of energy costs more frequently, perfect for those who love budgeting.

So, which electricity provider should you choose?

Whether it’s an electricity retailer with cheap rates or a company that’s offering big discounts for bundling your home services, there are many reasons to shop around. Instead of settling for less, why not use the power of comparison to find a better deal? By using our free comparison tool, there’s no need to jump on countless websites as you’ll have all the information you need in one spot. We hope this article has given you the confidence to make an informed decision and best of luck choosing your electricity provider.

Image credits: Sasun Bughdaryan/Shutterstock.com, patpitchaya/Shutterstock.com

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