When Australia officially entered lockdown in March, thousands of people and small businesses were left stranded with a reduced income or forced to shut down, struggling to keep up with regular expenses, like their energy bill. And according to the Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER) Annual Retail Markets Report, those households and small businesses still remain in ‘energy debt’ to their retailers. The report found a sharp increase in energy debt amongst small businesses, with the total jumping from $35 million in March 2020 to $45 million in June 2020. For residential customers, long-term electricity debt reportedly increased by 21% between 31 March and 2 November to $124.5 million. Almost 60,000 households also took advantage of their retailers' offer to defer energy bills for a time, providing some breathing room. “If you are struggling to pay your bills, talk to your retailer about your debt – even if you can’t afford to pay anything right now,” said AER chair, Clare Savage. “You won’t be disconnected, and your retailer will work with you to set up a plan and help you start paying off your debt.”And it looks like most Aussies were satisfied with their retailer’s support, as there were 29% fewer complaints made to retailers and 26% fewer complaints to the ombudsman since the 2018/19 financial year.
With summer only days away, many Aussies may have already started gearing up for another scorching three months. And between swapping out your bed sheets and picking up some new shorts, switching energy plans might be another thing to add to your to-do list. But if you’re keen to make the process a little more worthwhile, why not opt for a plan that’s got more than just competitive rates. Whether you’re a rewards lover or are keen to hook up a mate, we’ve rounded up four hot energy offers we think are worth taking a look at.
With summer right around the corner energy retailer Alinta Energy has reduced electricity prices on its HomeDeal plan this week for customers in New South Wales and Victoria. New South Wales residents within the Ausgrid distribution zone could see reductions of up to 25% off the reference price*, while Victorians in the CitiPower distribution area can expect to see rates reduced by up to 19% off the reference price.** A quick recap: the energy reference price refers to the Default Market Offer (DMO) and is a price cap on what energy retailers can charge on standing offers. Victoria offers the same, however it is recognised as the Victorian Default Offer (VDO). According to Alinta Energy’s general manager of sales and marketing Jane Mills, the decision to reduce prices is a response to record low wholesale electricity prices. “We’re in an environment where wholesale electricity prices are falling and we are going to compete hard for customers off the back of that,” she said. “Our new HomeDeal rates are available to new customers signing up via web or phone or to existing customers who would like to review their plan via phone.” Aside from newly discounted rates, the HomeDeal energy plan features no lock in contracts or exit fees, flexible payment options and access to Reward Shop discounts. Alinta has also slashed rates on their BusinessDeal plan for small business customers, cutting electricity rates of up to 26% off the reference price in NSW (Ausgrid distribution zone) and up to 15% off the VDO price in VIC (CitiPower distribution zone). The retailer has also launched small business gas products across NSW, SA and SE-QLD, with Victoria soon to follow on 14 December, 2020. Want to find out how the Alinta Energy HomeDeal energy plan stacks up to other offers in the market? Head on over to our energy comparison tool! *Based on a customer who consumes 3900 kWh a year on a single rate tariff in the Ausgrid network. **Based on a customer who consumes 4000 kWh a year on a single rate tariff in the CitiPower network
In an effort to keep households on top of their energy bills and improve the energy efficiency for the state, the Victorian government yesterday unveiled a $797 million energy package. Almost one million Victorians will receive a one-off $250 payment to help pay for their energy bills. Those that are eligible for the payment include concession card holders, anyone receiving JobSeeker, youth allowance or the pension. According to Energy Minister, Lily D'Ambrosio, this package is the “biggest household energy efficiency package in any state's history.”"It will make a significant difference to people's power bills, it will put money back into the pockets of Victorians, it will create thousands of jobs and, of course, reduce our emissions," she said.The $250 payment will be available online from 1 February to 31 January 2022.
In August, the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) announced that wholesale electricity prices were at their lowest point in years. Flash forward to November and the latest AER Wholesale Markets Quarterly Report shows that this is still the case across the nation. The report found that not only have wholesale energy prices continued to fall but the average prices were below $55 per MWh in all regions. To put that into perspective, the report found that the average price in Queensland was $34 per MWh and $54 per MWh in Victoria. In August, those prices were $56 and $84, respectively. “COVID-19 continues to impact households and businesses, so any reduction in energy prices across eastern Australia is welcome relief for many Australians,” said Energy Minister, Angus Taylor. “Cheaper energy brings benefits across the Australian economy, which is why the Government will continue to take strong action to bring down the cost of energy for all Australians.”
Increasingly Aussie households are playing a role in reducing our nation’s carbon footprint and the numbers support this.According to Origin Energy 44% of Aussies made the switch over to solar power to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions, while 65% said their motivation was to reduce their reliance on buying electricity from the grid. And the good news is, installing solar panels has many other benefits besides supporting a cleaner future.The retailer found that reducing a household’s energy bill was the biggest motivation (90%) for installing solar panels, with a whopping 92% of Aussies feeling extremely or very satisfied with the energy bill savings their panels have produced. Half of Aussies who had solar panels installed also feel less guilty about running their heating and cooling appliances.
According to recent analysis by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) of more than 1.5 million electricity bills, there are more households on market offers and fewer on default offers. A market offer refers to an energy plan advertised by a retailer and can include things like discounts and other incentives. On the other hand, a default offer is the maximum amount a retailer can charge for electricity and is typically a bit pricier. If it’s been a while since you last switched energy retailers or if you’ve never switched retailers, you will most likely be on a default offer.“We often talk about the lazy tax and how much extra it could be costing Aussies who don’t make the effort to shop around on households expenses, like their energy bill,” said Mozo Director, Kirsty Lamont. “Recent Mozo research found that in New South Wales alone, switching from the average to the cheapest electricity plan could save households $286 a year.”So if you’re thinking it’s time you got serious about your energy bill, we’ve jotted down some of the key things to keep in mind when comparing energy plans.
Overall electricity consumption fell by 2% in the second quarter of 2020, compared to the same period last year, according to the latest Inquiry into the National Electricity Market report by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).And unsurprisingly, residential electricity consumption has climbed significantly thanks to the COVID-19 lockdown. Melbourne in particular experienced one of the biggest increases in consumption of between 10% and 30%, compared to last year. ACCC chair Rod Sims believes this increase is set to put a strain on household budgets and cause many households to fall behind with their energy bills. “The pandemic is exacerbating energy affordability concerns. At a time when many consumers are experiencing reduced incomes, increased electricity consumption could lead to rising household debt and financial strain,” he said. “Available data suggests more customers are a month behind in bill payments and energy affordability may become an even bigger concern in coming months.”However, as wholesale electricity prices continue to remain at their lowest in years, Sims says households should soon start to see this reflected in their annual bill. “The drop in wholesale prices is excellent news for consumers, especially at a time of rising household bills. While wholesale price falls have been partially offset by higher network costs (except in South Australia where network costs fell), retailers are legally required to pass on any sustained savings to consumers,” he said.
At the end of September this year, a community owned renewable energy hub was unveiled in Narrabri, New South Wales. Partnered with Byron Bay-based energy provider Enova, the new not-for-profit organisation, ‘Geni.Energy’ aims to give support and encourage locals to get involved in a community-owned renewable energy project.
There’s a common misconception that GreenPower is more expensive than standard electricity, stopping many Aussies from going green with their power. But according to recent Mozo analysis, the cheapest green energy plans were actually better value than the average electricity plan. In fact, depending on your state and distribution zone, households can save between $32 to more than $200 a year. Just in case you weren’t aware, a green energy plan refers to where a percentage of your electricity (between 10% and 100%) is generated from a renewable source. Your retailer will then purchase your nominated amount on your behalf and feed it back into the grid. “In most cases, the data reveals that you can help save the planet and save money at the same time,” said Mozo Banking Expert, Peter Marshall. The data showed that households in Adelaide have the potential to save $257 a year just by switching to the cheapest green electricity plan in the Mozo database - the Powershop Shopper Market Offer Plan. “For our 2020 Mozo Experts Choice Energy Awards, Powershop came out on top as the green retailer with the best residential prices in four states (NSW, VIC, QLD, SA), while Energy Locals had the cheapest green plan for the ACT,” said Marshall. Sydneysiders within the Ausgrid region have the potential to save $166 a year, followed by Canberra ($106), Brisbane ($105) and Inner Melbourne ($43).