How avoiding the auto renewal rip-off will save me $120 on my energy bill each year

By Tom Watson ·

With energy prices set to rise across the country starting on Saturday (July 1), many Australians will be in for a rude shock when their next power bills comes in.

Major retailers Energy Australia, AGL and Origin Energy have all announced an increase in their electricity prices by up to 20% which will take effect in the coming days, with customers in New South Wales and South Australia likely to be hit the hardest.

Given the rises could equate to bill increases in the hundreds of dollars each year for some households, it’s important now more than ever for Aussies to ensure they’re getting the best value on their energy plans.

One of the most common mistakes we make is falling into the trap of auto-renewing existing plans without reviewing them first, and potentially missing out on greater discounts.

This was brought home recently when I received an email from my own energy provider (one of the majors) alerting me to the fact that my plan would auto renew on July 14.

I didn’t pay the email much attention at first, but after talking to some of the team here at Mozo I had a closer look and found that under the new electricity plan I was being offered my discounts (for paying on time and doubling up with my gas account) were going to drop from 23% to 18%.

This didn’t make sense to me given my loyalty as a customer, so I got onto the providers’ online help desk and asked to have my discounts restored under the threat of moving over to a competitor.

While I was told that the provider didn’t offer loyalty discounts I was determined to get my discount renewed, so I did what any annoyed customer would do and jumped on the phone to haggle my way to a better deal.

I actually managed to get an increase on my electricity discount from 23% to 24% as well as an increase on my gas discount from 10% to 16%.

That works out to be a $17.40 difference on my average electricity bill and a $12.24 difference on my average gas bill, or roughly $120 saved on my energy bills each year - a nice saving for a 10 minute phone call.

Want some extra bargaining power with your own energy provider? Head on over to the Mozo energy comparison hub to suss out competitor deals which you can bring to the table if you contact your own provider.

Tips for avoiding the auto renewal energy rip-off:

1. Check your auto-renewal details. Before you let your policy auto-renew compare any discounts you’re currently receiving with what you're being quoted under your new plan.

2. Compare your plan with the market. Use the Mozo electricity and gas calculators to compare similar energy plans in your area so you can contact your own provider armed with all the details you need to get the best deal.  

3. Don’t be afraid to haggle. Has your provider slashed your discounts or increased your usage charges? Call them up (skip the online chat) and ask them for a better deal using the Mozo utility bill haggling guide.

4. Compare and make the switch. Not happy with the deal they’ve offered? The best way to find a more competitive energy plan for your household is by heading to the Mozo energy comparison hub which compares over 22 Australian providers and 550 plans. Despite the common misconception there’s no disruption to your service when you change provider, so don’t be afraid to make the switch to a competitor!

5. Sign up online. If you find an energy provider you like make sure you sign up for your plan online - this way you’ll be able to able to take advantage of any online sign up bonuses on offer.

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Tom Watson
Tom Watson
Finance journalist

Tom Watson is a financial journalist at Mozo, specialising in fintech, property and business banking. Whether it’s reporting on banking trends or uncovering the latest product innovations, Tom’s mission is to keep our readers up to date with breaking Australian financial news. His work is often sourced in the media and across social media channels. Tom has a degree in Journalism from the University of Technology, Sydney.