Thankfully winter is officially over and while you may no longer be cranking up the heater, it does unfortunately mean that your winter energy is probably due to arrive in your letter box any day now. Your winter bill is generally your most expensive energy bill for the year and with energy prices rising by up to 20 per cent in some states back in July, chances are you’re in for a nasty ‘bill shock’ sometime soon.
While trying to use less energy – nagging the kids to switch off the lights when they leave the room, only heating rooms you are using and closing off unused spaces – is always a good idea, usually it won’t significantly reduce the cost of your bills. That’s because a large part of your energy bill is made up of fixed network costs.
So with energy prices continuing to rise, what can you do to keep your energy bills from spiralling out of control? Laura Crowden from energy expert iSelect has given us the low-down on how to find the best deal when it comes to electricity providers.
Don’t pay the lazy tax on energy bills
If you have been on the same energy plan for two years or more and haven’t reviewed your contract, then you are probably paying too much. This is because energy retailers put a lot of effort into trying to attract new customers with generous introductory ‘retail offers’ such as pay-on-time discounts or credit towards your account.
Unfortunately most discounts or ‘retail offers’ expire after a year or two, after which time you may be automatically rolled over onto a ‘standard offer’ and your bills will increase as a result. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull believes at least half of all Aussie households are paying more than they need to due to being automatically swapped to higher-priced contracts and has requested the energy retailers write to two million households by Christmas to let them know a better offer may be available.
But why wait to Christmas to save? Not taking the time to review your energy contract every couple of years means you could end up paying what we call the ‘lazy tax’ and be missing out on better offers currently available to new customers.
Switch energy providers and save
Many single mums are struggling with rising energy bills but put up with paying too much because they think switching is too much hassle. In reality, switching to a cheaper energy plan is one of the easiest ways to ease the household budget.
Over 40,000 households switched their energy providers through iSelect during winter and are expected to save around $500 a year on average by getting a better deal. Around twenty per cent of customers were able to use iSelect to get a better deal with their current provider, without even having to change providers at all!
It’s much easier to compare electricity and switch providers than many people realise. No one wants to spend their precious time comparing energy providers and single mums have even less time than most! But using a service like iSelect it can take as little as 15 minutes on the phone with one of our expert energy consultants to review your bill and switch to a better deal, which is well worth your time if you end up saving hundreds of dollars a year or more!
And who doesn’t want to free up some spare cash?
iSelect’s top 5 tips for finding best energy deal
- Save money with the right plan – reducing your consumption won’t necessarily reduce your bill significantly. The best way to save money is to make sure you are on the best value plan to begin with
- Flexible payment options – pay your bills weekly, fortnightly or monthly, or sign up for bill smoothing which will divide your annual usage into even monthly instalments, avoiding bill shock
- Be wary of pay on time discounts – paying on time could save you up 30 per cent but if you often pay your bills late, you could end up paying a lot more than you expected
- Look out for special offers – increased competition means some retailers are offering generous introductory offers or rebates to entice new customers such as credit towards your account
- Shop around – use increased energy competition to your advantage by comparing current offers. Call an energy comparison service like iSelect and make sure you have a copy of your latest bill handy