By Sophie Ryan, iSelect Spokesperson
A price hike here, a price increase there – this story is becoming all too familiar unfortunately. No doubt many of us are simply sick and tired of having to fork out more and more for daily essentials. Recent research commissioned by comparison service iSelect highlighted that almost a third of Aussies surveyed are ‘extremely worried’ about higher power prices in 2023, with spending cutbacks on the agenda for most to help pay for winter energy bills.
We know these research results are probably unsurprising for most people, especially when some major retailers hiked their market contract rates for residential customers in either July, August, or will on September 1 this year. The Default Market Offer (or Victorian Default Offer) also increased from July 1 for customers on standing offer plans.
Don’t know the difference between a default or market offer? Don’t worry, essentially, the default offer is set by the Australian Energy Regulator (or Victorian Essential Services Commission) and it’s the maximum price a retailer can charge a customer for electricity if they live in New South Wales, South East Queensland, Victoria or South Australia. Customers who don’t shop around or engage in the retail market are generally placed onto a default offer. However, if you’re actively searching for a suitable energy deal, and regularly shop around, you could be on a market offer. These types of offers may provide lower rates (depending on your contract).
And this brings us to our first hack for finding a better energy deal.
1. Go shopping!
No, we don’t mean hopping onto Amazon. We’re talking about the kind of shopping that could actually save you some of your hard-earned dollars.
iSelect General Manager – Utilities & Credit Cards, Julia Paszka, said being on a default offer may not be the best value option for your household.
“Don’t automatically default to the default. Instead, take the time to compare the default to available market offers,” she said.
“Prices may be higher across the board, but we’re still seeing price differences between the default and market offers, so now could be the perfect time to shop around, compare your current plan and provider against a range of others to see if you could switch and save.”
2. Go on the hunt for special offers.
Did you know that some energy retailers will offer you a better deal if you pay on time, manage your bills online or pay by direct debit? Keep an eye out for these offers but be aware that some may expire after a year or two, so pop it in the diary as a reminder that it’s a good time to shop around and compare again.
3. Dodge ‘bill shock’.
Winter is typically a time when many of us are churning through more power to heat our homes, which can lead to a bumper bill! No thanks! Consider paying your bills weekly, fortnightly or monthly, or sign up for bill smoothing. Bill smoothing will allow you to divide your annual usage into evenly spread smaller instalments, to help avoid that dreaded bill shock.
At the end of the day, your retailer has to let you know when, and by how much your rate is changing and this should be your prompt to shop around. A comparison service, such as iSelect*, can help you understand recent and upcoming changes in energy prices, and try to find you a deal that better suits your needs and budget from our range of plans and providers.
*iSelect does not compare all energy providers or plans in the market. The availability of plans may change from time to time, depending on who iSelect’s providers are and what plans they make available to iSelect. Not all plans made available from iSelect providers may be compared by iSelect either due to commercial arrangements, area or availability, so not all plans or providers compared by iSelect will be available to all customers. Some plans and special offers are available only from iSelect’s contact centre or website. Energy plans are available only for properties located in eligible areas of Victoria, New South Wales, South East Queensland, South Australia and ACT. Click here to view iSelect’s range of providers
Source: iSelect commissioned i-Link Research to conduct a national online survey between 28 April and 3 May 2023. The sample is n=1,000 Australians 18+ years, with data weighted to represent the population by age, state and gender, and is representative of all Australian adults 18+
Source: EnergyAustralia announces electricity and gas price increases for residential and small business customers | EnergyAustralia & AGL, Origin announce upcoming energy price rises for households, small businesses – ABC News