Any Point Not Picking The Cheapest Electricity Providers?

So I'm seeing if I would be better off changing electricity providers.

I go here (https://www.energymadeeasy.gov.au/) and I upload my bill. Presumably it's read my bill and used this to generate scenarios of what it would be at other providers.

Anyway, it returns a whole bunch of providers. So what, do I just pick the cheapest one? Other than price, what other consideration do I need to make when selecting energy providers?

Comments

  • +8 votes

    Depends if you have solar, as you will need to consider the feed in tariff on offer.

    Other factors you may want to consider include are they Australian owned, what hours does their support run, and do they have an app (track usage, input meter reads, pay and view bills etc)

  • -2 votes

    Cheapest is not always the best…

    Read the fine print so you dont end up with surprises…

    Like anything in life really

    • +19 votes

      yeah i know, thats why i'm trying to ask what kind of things are in the fine print?

      It's electricity - other than paying the bill, as long as it works, it's not really anything I ever interact with the provider once it's set up.

      • +4 votes

        Payment options.
        Late payment fees.
        Probably some other stuff I don't know

      • +2 votes

        service fee
        meter reading fee
        connection and disconnection fees

    • +26 votes

      Cheapest is not always the best…

      Premium electrons are better for your appliances…

  • +9 votes

    Was with amaysim energy a few years ago. They were the cheapest out of all resellers so I signed up to them.

    Cost me a fortune in time, money and mental health.

    • +1 vote

      why? what happened?

      is it easy to switch around?

      • +15 votes

        A shonky billing system designed to not honour their 42% discount on the entire bill so 161.7c/day and 43.67c/kWh was what I had to pay.

        •  

          Sounds like the fun we had with Lumo

      • +2 votes

        They bait and switch.

    • -2 votes

      Same with their underprized phone plans. Half your contacts are no longer possible to be called as the phone number must be in a certain format. Not worth the hassle!

      • +2 votes

        uh, what.

        That sounds like a problem on your end, not amaysims.

        You trying to call internationally?

        •  

          Nah just a local number. Fair use policy usually means they expect you to use it just for the occasional calls. Not critisising their value for money. But having lost a client is a bitter lesson for me. Coles mobile has a fair use policy that is far more lenient and brought me more joy.

    • +1 vote

      I heard they were cheap but last time I tried to get a quote to compare they kept asking for my details so they can "discuss" the prices… No intention to chat with anyone. Just wanted to know the friggen prices.

  • +28 votes

    If you buy the cheapest you'll get dirty electrons. Your tech will last longer with a better provider.

    • +21 votes

      Also the cheapies use imported, low quality electrons that are raised in overcrowded battery farms.

      • +1 vote

        Dont forget the child and forced labour that goes into its manufacturing.

    • +5 votes

      some of their cheap electrons are cube-shaped or positively charged

    • +1 vote

      If I have not forgotten my physics, for electricity to flow, electrons move in opposite direction. i.e., the electrons move from you to the grid?

    •  

      More than half the population would not comprehend your wisdom. Careful the wise one.

  • +1 vote

    I picked the cheapest one and was annoyed to later find out they didn't accept credit card payments. Only BPay and bank transfer.

    • +4 votes

      i picked the cheapest, only to find out they were oil rig workers. still waiting for the courier to bring the electricity.

  • +2 votes

    Also consider any sign on bonuses, for example: https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/634695

  • +4 votes

    I'm with Amber Electric; they don't have flat rates but instead pass on the wholesale electricity costs, so the price per kWh changes every 30 mins based on market demand. They say you can save heaps of money if you're able to shift your peak usage.

    Winter was pretty terrible for price spikes, but they have stabilised a lot now. I think for me it ends up being a bit more expensive overall (5-10%), but I like knowing my money is going towards renewables and not gas or coal.

    • +2 votes

      Part of the price you pay electricity retailer is to hedge price spikes. If you don't have energy storage (which is a physical hedge for you and a potential price arbitrage opportunity) you shouldn't risk the market price cap ($15,000 /MWh or $15/kWh), which is highly likely in summer when the coal plants are unreliable. I hope amber only partially pass through market price risk.

    •  

      You can actually use that to your advantage. Either get a battery (expensive) and charge it over night, or alternatively, use your house as battery!

      See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0f9GpMWdvWI

      The premise is that during summer, you will have your aircon on overnight (while the energy rates are lowest) so that it cools sufficiently such that it will remain cool until the next evening where you "recharge" your house "battery" (thermal storage) again. You then do the same thing in winter. It does require sufficient house insulation though and a sufficiently powered aircon (e.g. ducted aircon).

  • +3 votes

    Presumably it's read my bill and used this to generate scenarios of what it would be at other providers.

    All the website does is to tell you how much you last bill would be if you have gone to that retailer, for that bill period which is last 3 months. It takes into account of off peak, peak, solar feed in and supply charges.

    So what, do I just pick the cheapest one? Other than price, what other consideration do I need to make when selecting energy providers?

    What would’ve been “cheapest” for last season may not be cheapest for next season. You may use more cooling during the day at peak rate in summer than heating at night during off peak. So that’s one factor to consider. You are better off to upload last year next season bill for cost estimate

    Then some retailers offer promotional discounts for first X months. Or there is a pay on time discount, or new customer discount.You need to read the T&C for long term cost if you stay with them.

    •  

      i don't have a smart meter so i'm guessing there's only two variables i need to factor in.

      • the daily rate
      • the amount of kwh i consume
      •  

        picking a single bill for comparison may not end up cheaper unless you have same usage every month, this is especially important for gas.

  •  

    It is important that you have good quality electricity and then replace all your power cables if you want your appliances to work well

    https://tivolihifi.com.au/products/isotek-evo3-optimum-power...

    •  

      And it's been knocked down! Great find!

    •  

      I made sure when building the new house, all cables from the meter box matched this quality, make sure yours did as well, otherwise you're losing some of the quality between the box and the power point. RIP. Was almost a $120k variation and builder thought I was stupid; but I want to make sure I charge my Nokia safely.

  • +2 votes

    That site is only useful for shortlisting providers IMHO.
    The providers have so many caveats and hoops to jump through that it's either not possible (due to exclusion clauses) or at least incredibly difficult to actually sign up for the plan that is listed as most suitable on EnergyMadeEasy.

  • +1 vote

    Some of the cheapest ones will only accept direct debit is a key thing.

    Otherwise make sure you check rates at least every 6 months as the cheap providers will add 'lazy tax' after time. Like house and car insurance it's best to keep jumping around providers.

  • +3 votes

    I pay quite a bit more to get "green" power and 100% offset carbon, but that's just me.

    It's like NBN, same goods but having a shitty provider if you're one of the 5% of people that have something go wrong, it's an absolute nightmare. Especially with the "cheapest" relying on a layer of discounts. I go with a flat rate, as simply as possible and if it's $5 a month more then so be it, at least I know what's coming, even though I always pay on time.

  • +1 vote

    If it isn't that much difference then forget it. The grief. You'll get an offshore customer service centre. You confirm the rates, the paperwork comes through with different rates and not your NMI on it. If you think everything will be alright it won't be. Lucky I checked before they transferred my account.

    I use vic energy compare. Even after plugging in my NMI some of the cheapest are plans they won't quote you for, it is like it is published to get on top of the tables.

    Only not so well known retailers I have used is Momentum and Globird.

  • +1 vote

    Check the green ticks on EME, a lot of companies have low rates but hit you up with CC fees, connection fees, disconnection fees, blah blah blah

    Also, you really want to find someone that is Australian owned and operated.

    Don't sign up with people who do 'special deals for first 12 months' or 'pay on time discounts' or any of that rubbish. All it takes is one instance where you fail to meet their conditions and you get slammed with huge prices.

    Find someone who does simple prices, no catches, no gotchas. That's what I did and it's working fantastic so far

    •  

      who did you go with?

      why is it important to find someone australia owned and operated?

      • -1 vote

        You're in ACT and my provider doesn't cover your area, but I use https://www.brightsparkpower.com.au

        Australian operated keeps jobs in Australia and Australian owned keeps the profits here too. I guess it's a personal preference, but my experience with foreign call centres generally ends pretty disastrously. I recently went to the regulator against energy Australia for how aggressive their retention team were over the phone. Totally unprofessional and breaching energy regulations… Typical of the big guys

  • +5 votes

    I would recommend also throwing your numbers into wattever.com.au, as when I did the comparison a couple of years ago (when we had solar installed) I found it more easily comparable and more accurately included solar feed in calculations
    (not affiliated in any way with wattever, just found it more accurate when solar feed in values were included)

    •  

      I find wattever easier to read too.

    •  

      Wattever is bookmarkable so you can check the results page without filling in your info some months later. It's by far the best comparison site in the market. I use it once per quarter.

  •  

    You might want to consider your usage over a few more quarters as it tends to fluctuate during a year & consider the effect of lockdown & WFH/ home learning might on your usage going forward.

  •  

    Powershop used to be a good one even though they are not the cheapest in rates.
    You may sign up for their electric vehicle plan which has a super 6 cents/kWh rate between 0 am to 4 am. What I did was have my pool pump running and let my home battery charging itself till full. Basically, it gives me an electricity rate of 6 cents ish on average.

  •  

    Almost two in five Aussies encounter winter energy bill shock

    https://www.canstarblue.com.au/electricity/winter-energy-bill-shock-2021/?utm_source=campaign_monitor&utm_campaign=Blue_AU_-EDM-06/08/2021-_Consumer&utm_medium=campaign_monitor&utm_term=Consumer&utm_content=Smart_tips_to_cut_the_risk_of_winter_energy_bill_shock&cusid=2bce35620de717aa064d695bbff9a95338e04f75f8303a1fd5b3d6d703df1de0

  •  

    some of them bill monthly on an estimate and then adjust when the meter is read. upshot off this for me was overpaying month by month and getting a credit eventually. would not recommend.

  • +10 votes

    Just came here to say check reAmped rates. I knew they were cheap but i was pleasantly surprised at their process and portal. So far very happy.

  • +1 vote

    I used the website to sign up to Nectr which was the 2nd cheapest at the time. I couldn’t be any happier. Got $150 credits on 2nd month bill and referred several ozbarginers for $50 each credit.
    Its prices are still cheap as per comparison website.
    Unlike energy Australia which besides the $200 credit. Everything was bad. My bills were quite high. Had to dispute Multiple invoices and spent many hours on the phone with them.
    In a nutshell, I wouldn’t have known about Nectr if I didn’t use the comparison site and couldn’t be any happier.
    Also always consider other charges and not only the rates.

  • +1 vote

    For me price is the main factor I consider. Personally I avoid providers with membership fees or joining fees and I also avoid lock in contracts. I use the energy made easy government site to shortlist the providers then look at the top few individually. I have a dumb (non-smart) meter so I mainly look for low kWh price rate since it varies with usage rather than the daily supply charge which is a fixed price. If you have a smart meter and/or solar then there’s a lot more to consider with the feed in Tarif and varying rates throughout the day. Another big thing I consider is sign up and referral bonuses, even if the prices are slightly higher a $50 sign up bonus can make a huge difference and you can switch to another provider after several months just make sure to read the t&c. I’m currently considering moving to reAmped with a $50 sign up referral I got from a fellow ozbargainer. They’re also cheaper than my current provider. Also be aware that electricity providers generally do a credit check when you sign up.

    • +4 votes

      From what I've seen ozbargain seems to like reamped

  •  

    The problem I've found with going for the cheapest rates is that companies hike the rate after 6 months.

  •  

    Are their any "good" sites for comparing electricity plans that won't require me entering personal details to get sales followup calls. Just had solar put on and it is just awful how confusing it is with the TOU plans to compare from provider to provider. Here in Canberra it looks like Red Energy is my best bet but it is bloody hard to be sure.

    • +1 vote

      Wattever.com.au (I mentioned it in a post earlier…works well for calculating solar fit also)

      •  

        Thanks, even lets me put in a fake email so I don't get spammed. very useful.

  • +1 vote

    'do I just pick the cheapest one?'

    without reading the rest of the thread, I have observed the wow-cheapest deals tend to be from new never-heard-of before companies that get you to sign up, then bump up the price after the first 3-6 months, and also require you to set up direct debit so they can continue to rip you off while making it hard for you to cancel - non-responsive phone numbers, etc.

    this is their business plan - attract you with the cheapest rate, then screw you once you're locked in.

    I tend to stick with the large major providers - who also tend to offer you better deals when asked

    so I'd look out for non-contract, no-lock-in periods for prices that are more likely to stay the same for a year

    (they all bump up or vary I think usually around July each year)

    •  

      can they hike rates just for you though? I thought there's just a price they have for the state you're in.

      They might have a bonus rate for signing up, but if you ignore that and only focus on their normal rate, then you shouldn't get any surprises.

      •  

        create new plan with good rates, jack prices for everyone on old plan

    •  

      What do you mean 'non-responsible phone numbers' ? Why you have to call old provider when switching to new one?

      I just got an email from old - they will reduce prices by 10%. Checked prices and voila … new provider came up with 20-25% lower rates.

      Just applied on their site and done. No need to talk.

  • +1 vote

    I choose the cheapest one once I consider other factors such as customer experience and how they responded to previous inquiries I had. Choosing the cheapest may save you money if you never need to contact them and everything runs smooth but if you experience a problem, the mental health and pain getting through may outweigh the benefits.

  •  

    A relative signed up with Simply Energy a few years ago, and spent almost 2 years trying to correct mistakes on their bills. The company would correct the previous bill, but introduce new errors in the process. Numerous phone calls and emails were required.

    It got so bad that the company would outright lie about not being able to read the meter. They said the meter was not accessible. It's in an open drive way, no gate, no dog, and other companies had no problems reading it for 30 years.

    Even sending them photos of the meter reading was not enough, as whoever was reading the photos still managed to get it wrong. My relative began to think this was some sort of method/conspiracy to get him to upgrade the really old meter.

    It just wasn't worth the hassle to save a bit of money.

    He's now on Origin and everything's fine. I'm on Lumo and have no complaints.