Switching Electricity Providers
A detailed guide for consumers
Consumers in New South Wales, South East Queensland, the ACT, Victoria and South Australia have the option to choose from a range of electricity providers – but of course, to take advantage of any potential savings on your monthly electricity bill, you will need to know what you should be looking for when you start to consider switching to a different supplier. Here is a comprehensive guide to changing electricity providers, and choosing the best option for your own circumstances.
Check your current contract
Before you start shopping around for an alternative to your current electricity provider, it is a good idea to check whether there are any exit fees or restrictions on your contract with your current supplier. You should be able to find this out either by studying the fine print on your latest bill, or by contacting the supplier directly to ask.
If it does turn out that you will need to pay a fee to switch away from your current provider, make sure to take this fee into consideration when you compare the cost of new plans and suppliers. It may be that switching to a new option still works out to save you money in the long run, but either way, knowing beforehand whether you’ll be liable for an exit fee will avoid any nasty surprises further down the line.
Check your current rate and usage
To effectively compare new plans and providers, you should know how much you’re currently paying, as well as your typical energy usage levels. Take a look at your most recent electricity bill, and note the following amounts:
- Daily supply charge – a fixed charge that covers the cost of supplying electricity to your property.
- Usage charge – a variable charge that reflects the electricity you use, and will appear on your bill in cents per kilowatt hour (c/KWh).
- Demand charge – a charge that relates to any sudden peaks in electricity consumption over the period.
You should also check whether you are billed under any of the following tariffs, or pricing structures:
- Single rate – electricity is charged at the same rate regardless of the time of day.
- Time of use – electricity is charged at different rates during peak, shoulder and off-peak periods.
- Controlled load – also known as two rate, where electricity is charged at one rate for general usage and another for a specific appliance such as a pool pump or hot water cylinder.
Finally, check how many kilowatt hours you tend to use each month in total, as well as in peak seasons (i.e. the middle of summer, and the middle of winter).
Compare each plan
The electricity plan that’s best for you will depend on your circumstances, such as where you live, your typical energy usage, and the available providers in your area – it may not simply be a case of finding the lowest rate. When comparing different plans, check the following details:
- Fees and charges – these can include fixed costs and service fees, late payment fees, and charges for exiting the contract or switching providers.
- Discounts – you may be eligible for new customer benefits, as well as discounts for paying before the due date or by a preferred payment method.
- Billing – check how often you will be billed, and what your payment options are.
- Contracts – you will have the option of choosing either a standard retail contract, which tends to be simpler, or a market retail contract, which can offer cheaper rates but may come with restrictions such as exit fees and minimum terms. Ensure you read the fine print for any contract you sign.
Use our online comparison tool for a quick and easy comparison of all the different plans and providers available to you.
Choose your new provider
Once you’ve made your decision, you can simply contact the provider you’ve chosen, and they will organise the switch for you. Alternatively, if you use our online comparison tool to choose your new electricity plan, we can arrange the switch on your behalf. Your electricity supply will not be interrupted during the changeover, and unless your current contract includes an exit fee for switching to a new supplier, you will not have to pay to change providers. You can simply sit back and relax, knowing that a reduced energy bill is headed your way.