Why is it important to compare energy plans regularly?

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If you have spoken to one of our experts before, you have probably been told that it’s important to compare electricity plans at least every 12 months. But why?

There are 3 key reasons we encourage you to compare:

  • Avoid a standing offer
  • Take advantage of discounts and special offers
  • Find a plan tailored to your energy usage

Keep reading to find out how each of these factors will ensure you have cheap electricity and gas to boost your savings.

Avoid a standing offer

Most electricity and gas plans, whether they are fixed term or a no lock-in contract, have a 12-month benefit period. Some can be 6 months and some can be 24 months, so make sure you know the terms of your plan when you sign up.

Once your benefit period has expired, if you don’t switch electricity and gas to a new plan you will automatically be transferred to your retailer’s standing offer. Your retailer is supposed to let you know before this happens, but it isn’t always the case, or they might send an email that goes to your spam folder, so it’s a good idea to proactively track the date yourself.

You might be wondering by now, what’s so wrong with a standing offer? Well, it is likely to be the most expensive plan your retailer has to connect electricity and gas, usually equal to the state government’s reference price, so you could be paying hundreds of dollars more each year than you need to.

Avoid a standing offer

In Victoria, the reference price is called the Victorian Default Offer (VDO). You can read more about the VDO here. In New South Wales, South-East Queensland and South Australia, the reference price is called the Default Market Offer (DMO). You can read more about the DMO here. All other deregulated states, including the ACT and Tasmania, have a reference price set by their state government.

Take advantage of discounts and special offers

Energy retailers go all out in a bid to win your business, so they regularly update their plans to be more appealing and capture the interest of customers moving their home electricity. By comparing plans every 12 months, you can be sure you are always getting the best deal out there.

Some of the incentives available include (details correct in August 2022):

  • Discounts on your bill

This type of discount applies to your total bill, including the supply and usage charge. EnergyAustralia’s Flexi Plan offers a 5% discount on electricity and a 12% discount on gas, guaranteed for 12 months.

  • Discounted rates

Discounted rates refer specifically to your usage charge and will be shown on your plan as a percentage of your state’s reference price. Origin’s Flexi Rate ePlus plan offers a 5% discount on the VDO, which is some of the cheap electricity in Victoria.

  • Rewards shops

A rewards shop lets you earn points when you pay your bill and redeem them for entertainment, shopping, dining, theme parks and much more. This can be a good way to offset the cost of your bill by saving on your groceries! Alinta Energy customers enjoy discounts and savings from over 100 Australian retailers in their Rewards Shop.

  • Sign-up credits

To entice new customers, you can find some appealing signup benefits from retailers, such as a one-off credit, or discounted rates for the first six months of your plan. AGL offers a $150 sign-up credit to new online customers for electricity and gas accounts.

  • Rewards points

Earning rewards points with a partner company can make you some big savings. Several retailers have partnered with Qantas or Everyday rewards to offer their customers the chance to rack up some points. When you join Red Energy you will earn 10,000 Qantas points for a new electricity account, 5,000 for gas and an additional 2 points per dollar when you pay your bills on time.

Find a plan tailored to your energy usage

Matching your plan to the specific way your household uses energy is a great way to save money. Some things to look out for are (prices correct in August 2022 and based on rates in the Citipower network unless otherwise stated):

  • Off-peak rates

If you have a smart meter installed, you can save money by signing up for a Time of Use (ToU) tariff. This gives you heavily reduced rates for the energy you use during off-peak periods (usually during the day on weekends, but make sure you check with your retailer because off-peak periods can vary). 

EnergyAustralia’s Flexi Rate ePlus plan comes with an off-peak rate of 16.66c/kWh, compared to 29.01c/kWh for peak energy usage.

  • Controlled load tariffs

If you have a heavy-use appliance, such as a swimming pool or underfloor heating, you can have it separately metered and access a controlled load tariff. This means you will pay a discounted rate for the energy you use for that particular item.

Controlled load tariffs

Lumo Energy plans come with a controlled load rate of 18.05c/kWh, compared to 29c.kWh for their regular peak energy rate.

  • Solar feed-in tariffs (FiT)

If you have PV solar panels that are generating more electricity than you use, you will be paid a FiT for every kWh you give to the grid. In Victoria, you can sign up for the state government’s solar scheme and receive a massive 60c/kWh for your excess energy.

Simply Energy’s “Simply Energy Solar” Plan comes with a bonus solar feed-in tariff and up to $1,500 in credit over 5 years if you join their Virtual Power Plant (VPP). However, you will need solar batteries to join a VPP.

  • Bundles

Bundling your services with one provider can unlock discounted rates or credits. This is not limited to energy, but also internet and Pay TV Australia.

AGL NBN plans come with a $35 discount for the first 6 months for customers who also have an energy account with them. 

  • Carbon neutral and green energy

If minimising your carbon footprint is important to you, you will be able to find many retailers offering carbon-neutral or renewable energy options. 

Simply Energy customers enjoy 100% carbon-neutral energy for no additional cost on all their plans. For residents of the Canberra region, ActewAGL’s eVolve Plan comes with electricity rates of 5% less than the reference price, which is equal to 4000km of free car charging every year.

Next steps

If you live in a deregulated state, make sure you have the cheap electricity in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, ACT, Tasmania or South Australia, by comparing your plan every 12 months. 

The experts at CheapBills will make it quick and easy. Our 100% free-of-charge comparison tool will match you with the cheap plan for your electricity and gas and also compare broadband plans and Pay TV. We’ll even arrange the switch for you – all you have to do is sit back and save!

Call us on 1300 786 045 or enter your details online.

Important Note: All the rates, plans and offers stated in this article are subject to change at the provider’s discretion and might not be updated after the publish date unless stated otherwise. We try our best to update all the rates mentioned in our blogs as soon as possible. All articles updated will have the update dates mentioned. Thank you for your patience!