More power to you

Don’t get stuck with ex­pen­sive elec­tric­ity, writes Sophie Elsworth

The Western Star - - MONEY SAVER -

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.

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