Buyer Beware: Queenslanders warned of higher bills after electricity price deregulation
With South East Queensland set for electricity price deregulation from July 1, some consumer experts are warning residents that this could result in higher Qld power bills.
Queensland Consumers’ Association spokesman Ian Jarratt told the Courier Mail that some households could find themselves paying as much – or more.
“This is not a silver bullet that will fix many price and affordability problems,” he said.
“Much will depend on whether retailers become more efficient, increase or decrease their margins, and more consumers make well-informed ongoing decisions about contracts,’’ he said.
From July 1, the state government will allow market competition between energy providers to set the standing offer rates of electricity in the Energex area. Energex’s electricity distribution network spans more than 25,000 square kilometres throughout South East Queensland and includes Brisbane, Ipswich, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.
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According to Queensland Energy Minister Mark Bailey deregulation would “stimulate retailers to set competitive electricity prices and offer SEQ customers a greater range of products and services”.
However, Mr Jaratt said, consumers will have to be careful while navigating discount offers, which could be a trap considering that companies sometimes increase the base price before offering cost reductions.
As this will be the first time that many Queenslanders will have the option of choosing their electricity provider, energy comparison site Mozo.com.au has compiled the following list of top tips for getting the cheapest deal.
Not all discounts are equal. Different energy providers will offer different incentives to lure customers. Sometimes, a 10% discount off one plan could be cheaper than 35% off another. Mozo’s free online electricity comparison tool ranks plans by price so that you can compare the best deal for your household.
Pay on time discounts. Do you always pay your bills on time? If yes, then a pay on time discount could be a good option for you. But if the answer is no, then you’d probably be better off by opting for a plan that has a lower standard tariff than a heavily discounted plan with strings attached, as these often have higher tariff charges.
Duel fuel. Many energy retailers offer big discounts if you sign up your household’s electricity as well as gas services with them. A dual fuel package also turns out to be a convenient option because then you’ll only need to deal with one supplier for both services.
Exit fees. A fixed term plan may come with a special discount but don’t forget that if you need to cancel the plan earlier than stated in the contract, then you may need to pay an additional exit fee. That’s why, you must never ever forget to read the fine print before signing up for a new electricity plan!