New South Wales gas bill-payers have rated AGL ahead of Origin and EnergyAustralia in customer satisfaction for the fourth time in as many years.
Just weeks after the State Government gave a conditional commitment to remove controls on retail gas prices from mid-2017, the Canstar Blue ratings show that customers of AGL are, overall, more satisfied than those who get their gas from Australia’s two other energy giants.
However, most consumers remain unconvinced that they’re getting value for money from their gas retailers.
The ratings are based on a survey of just over 1,000 bill-payers in NSW. It found AGL scored highly in regards to its payment plan options and was joined by Origin in receiving praise for billing clarity and accuracy. But none of the three scored higher than three stars on value for money.
“With deregulated gas prices on the horizon, New South Wales seems set to become the new battleground for the energy retailers and our findings show that AGL has a head-start,” said Head of Canstar Blue, Megan Doyle.
“Energy will always be a grudge purchase, but as consumers all we can ask for is a provider that gives us a fair go over prices and makes the whole process as hassle-free as possible. Nobody will ever sing the praises of their energy retailer too highly, but for AGL to beat the other big two in customer satisfaction for four years in a row suggests its getting something right.
“The retailers are not only desperate to attract new customers, but to keep hold of their existing ones. It will be interesting to see how these three retail giants react in the face of greater competition in the state.
“On the face of it, an increased range of offers should be good news for gas customers – as long as they are proactive in terms of searching out new providers, but also challenging their existing ones to give them a better deal.”
The Canstar Blue survey found that 38% of bill-payers in NSW would like to switch gas suppliers but find the process too daunting or simply can’t find the time. That’s a higher percentage than gas customers in Victoria (36%), South Australia (34%) and Queensland (32%).
“Generally consumers in NSW don’t think they are getting particularly good value for money, so the appetite for switching is definitely there,” said Mrs Doyle.
The survey, conducted towards the end of winter in September, also found that households in NSW reported average gas bills of $240 over the last quarter. That is despite 61% claiming to have reduced their gas usage in the last year in the hope of keeping bills low.