You may remember from our last post, our energy provider notified us that they were changing our plan and although I managed to get some research done on the alternatives, life got in the way of actually switching things over. But I have not given up!
Receiving the latest energy bill on the new plan (of their choosing) has pushed me to continue my quest for the best energy plan. And as we discovered last time, even with our existing provider, the plan they switched us to wasn’t the best one for us. So I kept searching.
Before starting the comparison, I decided to setup a spreadsheet to make it easy to calculate the difference between our current plan and any new plans we’re considering. This sounds daunting but it was actually pretty easy (and to help you through your own journey it's available for you to download to fill in your own information). All you need is to find the Usage and Supply Charges on your bill and enter the details from your bill into the spreadsheet as shown in the example below:
Now we’re all set to find a better deal. The two sites you can visit to review whether you are getting the best deal are Business Energy Advice Program and Energy Made Easy. We tried both.
beap – Business Energy Advice Program
On this site, you request a free consultation and they try to sell you a new plan from the retail providers they represent.
The plan they suggested appeared to be cheaper than my current plan
The rates they provided are the same as reported on the Energy Made Easy – Australian Government site
They will send you details of the proposed plan tariffs
This website is very much a sales pitch with the goal of getting you to either sign up then and there or lock you in for further discussions
The information provided does not include any other fees and charges for the plans (eg: Credit Card Payment Fee 0.69%, Payment Processing Fee 0.17% and 0.45%)
They only offer you plans from 8 out of approximately 45 energy retailers in the market so you are not getting the full range of the all energy plans/providers on offer
Energy made easy – Australian Government site
As detailed in our previous post, this site is setup to help you to find the right energy plan with the aim of comparing all the retailers. It is backed by the Government and is NOT affiliated with any particular energy retailer.
To compare plans, simply enter the following details:
What type of energy plan are you looking for?
Where are you located?
Tell us about your household?
Tell us about your energy usage? You have a few options here – I found the easiest way was to upload my last bill. As I have these emailed this was so easy to find and upload
Do you have a smart meter?
Once your details are entered, click Compare Energy Plans to see the ones suitable for you.
The results show the Lowest priced plans from each energy retailer that meet the criteria I entered - 36 offers! This is the default list but if you look closer there are 210 plans with promotional offers and a total of 431 plans altogether.
RECOMMENDATION - Filter on what is important to you
The full list of 431 plans is a lot to go through, so we recommend that you expand and use the filter and sort features which allows you to specify your requirements in more detail to narrow down the results to only the most relevant plans.
Once you've got a manageable list, we can get the details of the best candidates to compare to our current plan.
To get the information for the spreadsheet we setup, click on the plan details and scroll down and expand the pricing section. For plans with Time Of Use Charges (Peak/Shoulder/Off-Peak), it shows all the prices you need for the calculations so you can just copy these into the relevant fields.
If you choose a plan with a Single Rate Tariff (which means that the price is the same all the time), just enter that into all 3 price fields (Peak/Shoulder/Off-Peak) in the sheet. You can add more rows in the sheet if you want to compare multiple plans.
There’s other information on the Energy Made Easy site that will help with choosing the right plan too – like the Compare tool and the Switch checklist.
WARNING – when/if you do find a plan, when you get to the provider's website, make sure you check the prices and features on the plan before you sign up for it.
After going through this exercise for myself I discovered that changing plans can save me around $740 per year - WOW!! The new plan has some concessions such as paying in advance every fortnight instead of monthly or quarterly, but it’s a small change which I am happy to do in order to save almost 25% of the cost of my current plan.
I'm signing off now to sign up with the new plan and I'll post an update with my success (or otherwise) next time!