More power to you
Don’t get stuck with expensive electricity, writes Sophie Elsworth
HOUSEHOLDS could be paying $1500 more on electricity every year by being stuck on the worst deals.
Coming electricity price rises are about to hit hip pockets in many states from July.
Financial comparison website Canstar Blue has revealed new statistics showing how much worse off consumers are if they don’t check the electricity charges they are being stung with.
Their data found for a typical four-person household, customers in states including Queensland, NSW, SA and Victoria could be paying anywhere between $1200 to $1500 extra a year if they are on the worst deal compared with the best deal.
Canstar Blue spokesman Simon Downes has warned consumers not to be sucked in by the headline discount rates.
“Not only should people be sceptical of big discount offers but even plans promising “no confusing discounts, just get rates” should be viewed with some cynicism,’’ he said.
“Comparing energy price fact sheets is crucial, these documents provide the specific details about what you will pay.”
Energy Australia’s strategic planning lead Jessica Padman said consumers should delve into two key charges that apply to all accounts – supply and usage – so they can work out what is a good deal.
“Look at these two figures – the daily supply charge or what it costs to supply energy to your home and the cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) rate after the discount has been applied or how much you’re charged per unit of energy use,’’ she said.
“Get those figures for each retailer, most times that’s all you need to identify the best deal for you.”
Alinta Energy’s executive director of retail markets Jim Galvin said “if you have your bill in hand it takes five minutes to understand if there’s a better offer out there”.
“Grab your old bill, go to a site and do a comparison,’’ he said. “A discount is not the only thing to consider because a majority of companies’ discounts are conditional on a customer paying on time.”
Customers should also understand the difference between market offers – these are prices set by retailers that can change at any time– and standing offers, which are usually set by the government and can’t change more than once every six months.