South-East Queensland energy customers could save hundreds of dollars off their electricity and gas bills even after most retailers increased electricity and gas prices on 1 July.
A new analysis by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) of current offers on energymadeeasy.gov.au, its independent government-funded comparison website, has found the value of switching to a different electricity plan or retailer can be around $900 in Brisbane since the 1 July price rises.
“Energy is a significant cost for many households and small businesses and chances are if you haven’t switched energy providers in some time, or if you are still on a standing offer, you are paying more for electricity or gas than you need to,” AER Chair Paula Conboy said.
"Since the 1 July 2017 price rises, customers in Brisbane could save $900 if switching from the most expensive electricity offer currently available to the cheapest.
“For those South-East Queensland households that have switched in the past, the savings may not be this substantial. But there are still savings to be made by shopping around, particularly if your contract included a discount which has since expired," Ms Conboy said.
Energy Made Easy helps customers compare the generally available electricity and gas offers in their local area, and offers tools and practical advice on what to think about when deciding on an offer.
Similar savings are available in other South-East Queensland areas. A quick search on Energy Made Easy shows that a four-person household on the Sunshine Coast could save over $900 in a year if they switched from the most expensive electricity offer to the cheapest. Similar savings can be made by customers across South-East Queensland.
Ms Conboy advises the headline price is not the only thing to consider when looking at switching.
“Don’t be dazzled by discounts; customers should know if the discount is off the entire bill or only part of the bill, and if there are any conditions to get it, like paying on time or setting up a direct debit,” Ms Conboy said.
Ms Conboy said that anyone struggling with their electricity or gas bills in the wake of the 1 July price rises is entitled to assistance from their retailer.
“With rising prices and winter upon us, it is likely more customers will struggle to meet the costs of higher bills and says help is available,” she said.
“Retailers are required by law to provide assistance to customers who are having trouble paying their energy bill. If customers are struggling to pay their energy bills they should contact their energy retailer early and ask for help, to avoid being disconnected,” Ms Conboy said.
The AER has developed a Sustainable Payment Plans Framework to provide further assistance to customers when negotiating a payment plan with their retailer. A list of all retailer signatories to the Sustainable Payment Plans Framework, that sets standards for how retailers agree payment plans with customers, is available on the Energy Made Easy website.
More broadly, the AER is committed to working in the best interests of residential and small business energy customers. Its Customer Consultative Group (CCG) is a key advisor on frontline issues affecting consumers and the new membership met today to consider a range of issues, including the impact of recent price increases.
energymadeeasy.gov.au is government run by the independent AER and compares energy offers for your household or business across retailers to help you find the best deal.