Compare Victoria electricity providers AGL, Alinta Energy, Click Energy, Dodo Power & Gas, Origin, EnergyAustralia, Red Energy, Powershop, Momentum Energy, Lumo Energy and Simply Energy on value for money, customer service, tools & advice, bill & cost clarity, focus on environmental sustainability and overall satisfaction with Canstar Blue’s customer review and ratings.
See our Ratings Methodology.
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 billboard ads! This competition can be 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 electricity providers in Victoria – 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 providers 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, more than 1,900 electricity bill-payers in Melbourne and across Victoria have had their say on their electricity provider of choice. Eleven different providers have featured in the results, judged on key factors such as customer service, bill & cost clarity, their focus on environmental sustainability and most importantly of all, overall customer satisfaction. Competition between the electricity retailers is fierce in Victoria, but for the third year in a row, Powershop has emerged as the highest rated of the lot.
For Powershop to top the ratings table for a third consecutive year is a superb achievement. This year’s review also highlights a gap in customer satisfaction between the big three providers – AGL, Origin and EnergyAustralia – and some of the smaller retailers, including Powershop. It’s certainly worth keeping an open mind when it comes to picking electricity providers. If you’ve never considered switching to one of the smaller electricity retailers before, now could be the perfect time. However, not all providers will be as price competitive as they may appear, so be sure to use our comparison tool above for specific offers in your area. And read on for details on the 11 electricity providers in this year’s review.
As well as competitive electricity prices, Powershop focuses on offering customers the helpful tools they need to monitor and act on their energy 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 special deals, making it unique in the Australian market. Powershop is owned by Meridian Energy – one of New Zealand’s biggest energy generators and retailers – and has a reputation for being a rather cheeky alternative to the more established retailers, regularly poking fun at ‘traditional’ energy company behaviour. When it comes to electricity 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. Powershop is based in Melbourne and is the highest rated provider in our Victoria electricity review for the third year in a row, scoring five stars from customers across all research categories.
Variable rate plan with a 34% discount when product conditions are met¨.
(Estimated as at 19.04.18)
Alinta Energy is one of the largest dual fuel energy providers in the southern states of Australia, as well as a major gas supplier across Western Australia. It also recently 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 electricity plans in Victoria, Alinta Energy has a single market offer which comes with a substantial pay on time discount, applied to electricity usage charges. The benefit period is two years, but there is no fixed contract term, or exit fees. For keeping energy markedly simply in Victoria, Alinta Energy has been rated four stars for overall customer satisfaction this year, as well as four stars for bill & cost clarity. However, it fell down in other areas, scoring three stars for customer service, value for money and environmental sustainability, with just two stars on tools & advice.
Variable rate plan with a 43% pay on time discount.
(Estimated as at 19.04.18)
Lumo Energy is one of two electricity providers owned by renewable energy generation company Snowy Hydro – the other being Red Energy. Based in Melbourne, Lumo Energy offers a diverse range of energy products in Victoria, including a plan targeted at customers who rent a home and often move, as well as plans with large pay on time or direct debit discounts, depending on personal preference. All plans have variable rates, but the details vary between products. However, one consistent theme is that conditional discounts are all applied to the whole bill, rather than just usage charges. Contracts come with no fixed term and there are no exit fees. Lumo Energy also offers an online-only plan that typically works out the cheapest of the bunch, provided that conditions are met. In our latest comparison of Victoria electricity providers, Lumo achieved four stars for overall customer satisfaction and four stars in all other research categories, with the exception of environmental sustainability.
Variable rate plan with no conditional discount.
(Estimated as at 19.04.18)
Owned by Hydro Tasmania, Momentum Energy is a champion of renewable electricity generation and is seemingly on a mission to simplify energy retail in Australia by keeping its products free from conditional discounts. In an energy market where the biggest discounts don’t always mean the biggest savings – and sticking to all the conditions can be tricky – Melbourne-based Momentum Energy markets itself as being the electricity provider with great rates but no confusing discounts. In Victoria, it has two residential market offers with varying rates and no exit fees. This approach seems to have it fans, with Momentum Energy rated four stars for overall customer satisfaction in our latest Victorian review. It also achieved four stars when it comes to customer service, bill & cost clarity and environmental sustainability, but achieved just three stars for tools & advice and value for money.
Variable rate plan with no conditional discount.
(Estimated as at 19.04.18)
The highest rated electricity provider in our NSW comparison, Red Energy keeps things simple with just two electricity market offers for prospective customers to consider. Both plans come with variable rates, modest whole bill discounts for paying bills on time and no contract term or exit fees. The discounts are ongoing. The only difference between the two products is that one includes 100% accredited GreenPower, meaning an additional cost to electricity usage charges. Both plans 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 fun attractions. Like Lumo Energy, Red Energy is owned by renewable generation company Snowy Hydro and is based in Melbourne. In our latest review of Victoria electricity providers, Red Energy earned four stars for overall customer satisfaction and the same rating in all other research categories.
Variable rate plan with a 10% pay on time discount.
(Estimated as at 19.04.18)
Simply Energy is typically a very price-competitive electricity provider in Victoria, offering a wide range of different plans to choose from. The company is owned by French utilities giant Engie, but remains based in Melbourne. Simply Energy is known for offering a wide range of electricity plans, including an exclusive deal for RACV members that brings an additional discount and a plan that provides ‘free’ movie tickets. It has also been known to team up with the Hawthorn Football Club to offer a specific deal for the club’s fans. Simply Energy’s electricity plans all include varying pay on time discounts off usage charges, with contracts of either 12 or 24 months. Rates are variable and exit fees may apply with some plans. Simply Energy scored four stars for overall customer satisfaction in our latest review, as well as four stars across most other research categories. It rated three stars for environmental sustainability.
Energy giant AGL typically offers three energy plans for Victorian households to choose from based on personal preferences. Most products come with notable discounts, but the conditions of these vary. The biggest discount goes to customers who are happy to commit to direct debit billing, with a reduced discount available for those who would rather not set up automatic payments, but can still pay on time. In both cases, discounts are applied to usage charges only. However, AGL’s third variable product provides a smaller but guaranteed discount off both usage and supply charges. All three plans have a benefit period of 12 months. AGL also has a basic plan with locked in rates for 12 months, but no discount. Customers could also benefit from the retailer’s association with the flybuys program, with one point awarded for every $1 spent on gas or electricity. Switching to AGL online could also see customers collect a bonus 10,000 flybuys points. In our Victoria electricity provider ratings, AGL received three stars for overall satisfaction. It also rated three stars for customer service, bill & cost clarity and environmental sustainability. It was deemed worthy of just two stars on value for money, but scored four stars for tools & advice.
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. Now owned by phone and internet provider Amaysim – now also an energy retailer – Click Energy typically provides one market offer in Victoria, but the product made publically available can vary from time to time. However, prospective customers can usually expect a plan with a significant whole bill discount, provided that they pay by direct debit, pay on time and agree to receive bills via email. Click Energy plans usually come with no contract term or exit fees. However, rates are variable. Click Energy is also one of few retailers to offer a specific electricity plan for owners of electric vehicles. In our latest electricity comparison for Victoria, Click Energy earned three stars for overall satisfaction, plus three stars for customer service, tool & advice and bill & cost clarity. It scored four stars for environmental sustainability, but just two stars on value for money.
Variable rate plan with a 27% discount for paying bills on time and by direct debit.
(Estimated as at 19.04.18)
Perhaps best-known as a phone and internet provider, Dodo completes the full set of home services by also selling electricity and gas. A fairly no thrills operation, Dodo Power & Gas operates with a single variable rate market contract in Victoria, usually boasting a large conditional discount off electricity usage charges. The discount is ongoing, but dependent on paying bills on time. This is a no contract agreement, with no exit fees. The Dodo brand is owned by Vocus Communications, the company behind lots of other phone and internet providers, including iPrimus. Dodo’s main selling point is that customers get the convenience of dealing with the same company for all of their home services. It even sells insurance! As an electricity provider in Victoria, Dodo Power & Gas has achieved three stars for overall customer satisfaction. It also recorded three stars for customer service, value for money and bill & cost clarity, while earning just two stars for tools & advice and environmental sustainability.
Variable rate plan with a 40% pay on time discount.
(Estimated as at 19.04.18)
EnergyAustralia offers a diverse range of electricity plans in Victoria, including a fixed rate deal that sees prices locked in for two years, as well as two variable rate products. The retailer says that if the wholesale cost of electricity comes down, it will pass the savings on to customers who sign up to its fixed rate plan. A large pay on time discount is also available. This deal is available on a two-year contract and exit fees apply. EnergyAustralia’s two variable rate products also come with pay on time discounts off its electricity usage charges, but there are no exit fees. EnergyAustralia also tends to offer a rebate on your first bill when you sign up online, but this may not always be available. The retailer scored three stars for overall satisfaction in our latest review of Victorian electricity providers, with three stars across all other research categories but value for money, where it scored just two stars.
Origin provides arguably the most comprehensive range of electricity options in Victoria. It has three variable rate products, with varying discounts and conditions based on personal preference. The biggest discount is offered with direct debit payments and email billing, while the next product is targeted at those who would rather not pay by direct debit, but still pay their bills on time. Discounts are applied to usage charges and both plans have 12 month benefit periods and no exit fees. The third variable rate deal from Origin includes a small but guaranteed discount, applied to both usage and supply charges. The benefit period can be 12 or 24 months. Origin also offers the only fixed cost electricity plan in Victoria in the shape of its Predictable Plan. With this, customers pay the same price for their power every month for a year, regardless of their actual consumption. Specific quotes are offered based on usage history. Origin rated three stars for overall customer satisfaction and all other research categories with the exception of tools & advice where it was awarded four stars.
Our customer ratings featured on 9 News Melbourne, which you can watch below.
Our customer ratings for 2018 feature 11 of the most prominent electricity providers in Victoria, but it’s important to say there are several other, smaller providers that may also be worth considering, including some that only operate in Victoria. Here is a complete list of electricity providers in Victoria.
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 products and prices, with minimal legislative interference. 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 retailers, 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 also continues to rise, most recently blamed on the closure of the Hazelwood Power Plant in Victoria back in 2016, 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.
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There are two types of electricity contracts that a household in Victoria could be on – standard contracts and market contracts. Knowing which type you have is the first step to saving money.
According to the Essential Services Commission, one in ten households in Victoria remains on a standard electricity contract. Canstar Blue’s electricity database shows that customers could save hundreds a year by switching from a standard contract to a market contract, even with the same retailer. Further savings could even be made by switching providers. The difference between the cheapest market offer and the most expensive standing offer is $2,400 a year, based on a typical family of five in Melbourne. Switching from a standard contract to a market offer is an easy way for people to save money on electricity costs, but finding the best market offer for you is not an easy task.
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 fixed daily supply costs as these will make up a higher proportion of overall costs.
With more than 20 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 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 are usually only offered by the big energy providers, AGL, EnergyAustralia and Origin. However, Tango Energy is also known for competitive fixed rates.
In an effort to stand out from the crowd, most electricity providers in Victoria boast market offer plans with huge discounts off usage charges – up to 40% or more in some cases. While these discounts can be a great way to cut your overall power costs, it’s important not to assume that the providers promising the biggest discounts will automatically work out to be the cheapest, because it’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 provide discounts off your entire bill. While tempting, it’s important to compare energy plans based on their base rates as well as the conditional discounts. Failing to meet the conditions of a discount will mean you are left paying the non-discounted rate, which will be much higher. You will 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 will have to pay the full price.
If big discounts don’t appeal, you will find a range of other sign-up incentives offered by the electricity companies in Victoria in an effort to get you on board. Simply Energy, for example, has a plan that brings ‘free’ Gold Class movie tickets throughout the year, while Red Energy and Lumo Energy provide rewards programs that provide money off things like gift cards, theme park tickets and holiday packages. It’s also common for retailers to offer up to $100 off your first bill when you sign up online.
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 ‘peak rate 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 will be charged different electricity rates depending on when you use power. These rates are often split into three categories, although the exact times in which they apply can vary between electricity distribution networks.
Time of use 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 most power at off-peak times. However, picking the wrong tariff for your usage habits could prove a costly mistake. Demand tariffs are also starting to be made available in Victoria.
In addition to single rate and time of use tariffs, households in Melbourne and the rest of Victoria can also benefit from a controlled load (also called a dedicated circuit). A controlled load is a dedicated metering connection that allows you to pay for high-usage appliances at a cheaper rate. A dedicated circuit is usually only applied to electric hot 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).
The other big factor that could impact the size of your next electricity bill is your location. Victoria has five different electricity distribution networks and the cost of supplying power to your home is different depending on which network you happen to live within. While the energy 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 customers, the suburb you decide to live in will impact your energy bills. 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 plan 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, it’s worth looking into.
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 even where you live. To give you an idea of where to find the cheapest energy rates in Victoria, however, Canstar Blue has a cost comparison page, showing plans from some of the major providers mentioned in this report. Being the cheapest provider does not 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 more-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 in the energy price fact sheets of each electricity 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. Remember that the electricity providers 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.
Canstar Blue surveyed 9,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. Data was collected use Qualtrics’ online sample aggregation from ISO accredited panels. 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, 1,939 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 alphabetically. 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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¨Refer to Powershop’s price fact sheets for details.
*Costs based on annual usage calculations using statistics from AER for a three person household on the Citipower electricity network in Melbourne, January 2018. For more information on annual cost calculations please click here.
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