In the wake of increasing household electricity usage and rising prices it pays to shop around for the best deal. As long as you do your homework, switching electricity providers or changing your tariff plan can save you energy and money. Our 2010 analysis found annual savings of up to 8% below government regulated prices are possible. The difference between the best and worst “market” prices then was up to 20%.
Based on recent announcements, New South Wales can expect an average increase of 18% on energy bills from July 1. While in Victoria, prices are expected to rise 2.5 - 7% during the 20011-12 financial year. Over in Western Australia households have already been hit with a 22% increase and can expect a following 5% in the next financial year. Queensland's 13.29% increase this year is expected to be followed with a further 5.83% in the 12 months following July 1. Leaving South Australian and Tasmanian households wearing a 6.9% increase, from Jan 1 following a 5.6% increase from July last year and an 8.8% rise from December last year, respectively.
And if the Carbon tax gets off the ground (the scheme would put a cost on carbon emissions, with households footing part of the bill), that same bill will rise again - albeit with the Federal Government currently promising households it will contribute about $6 billion annually in the form of compensation. Several websites do the hard work for you, but they vary in market coverage, independence and accuracy. Some electricity retailers’ sites aren’t much better, failing to publish their electricity prices and obfuscating their plans’ real costs.
And the traps aren’t restricted to the internet. Doorknocking is energy retailers’ most effective tool for signing up new customers or churning existing ones into different contracts – but complaints about misleading practices and pressure sales have risen.
For more information on energy reduction see Saving energy.