Electricity prices

Electricity bills are rising but can switching electricity suppliers save you money?
 
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02.Switching action plan

First make an accurate estimation of your annual electricity use. Add up the kWh of energy used over the last year’s four billing cycles, as consumption varies dramatically between seasons and relying on one bill alone will almost certainly lead to misleading results. Next, compare prices. Our State-by-State Guide offers tips for your state or territory, including useful websites to visit for comparisons.

When comparing deals, consider:

 

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  • Regulated tariff or market contract? In all states except Victoria, government-appointed agencies set the standard retail price for electricity – the regulated tariff. In states with competition, retailers can offer “market contracts”, with prices above or below the rate.
  • Rates for electricity use What you pay for each kWh of electricity consumed. Tariffs are usually set in tiers; for example, the first 1020kWh in each quarter might cost 18c per kWh, with the unit price rising to 21c after that.
  • Fixed supply charges The daily rate for an electricity connection is often 50c-60c. A 10c difference may not seem like much, but for small households, paying $36 more per year in supply charges could negate the benefit of switching to lower usage tariffs.
  • Discounts, including rebates for paying on time, by direct debit and for signing up online, and for switching several services (for example, your gas and electricity).
  • Contract term Often one or two years, with exit fees applying if you leave before then. Discounts offered with such plans should apply for the whole fixed term.
  • Inducements such as loyalty bonuses, free subscriptions and prizes – weigh up their real value before switching.
  • Non-tariff costs, including security deposits, late payment fees and fees for dishonoured cheques.
  • Cooling-off rights If you switch but subsequently wish to back out of the deal, you usually have 10 days to do so, at no cost. In Victoria, the limit is 10 bussiness days for contracts involving power connections. For more information see the state's Marketing Code of Conduct.
 
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