What to look for when switching electricity providers
Have you just received your electricity bill and decided it was time you switched electricity companies? You’re not alone. Thousands of Australians fight back against rising electricity bills each year by comparing the electricity plans available in their area and switching to save money.
With Mozo’s electricity price comparison tool it is now easier than ever to find out how much you can save by switching electricity providers.
If you’ve never switched your electricity supplier before, you’ve probably got a couple of questions you’ll want answered. We’ve developed this user-friendly guide to run you through the switching process.
Ready to make the switch? Compare below
How much can I save by switching electricity?
Electricity may not be as exciting to shop for as a new LBD (little black dress) but just as you shop for great discounts on your groceries, clothes, and holidays, you should also shop around for a good deal on your electricity.
The reason? Electricity providers change their pricing and plans all the time and if you’ve never changed your electricity service, chances are there is a way better deal out there for you.
In fact, you could save hundreds of dollars a year by switching to a more competitive electricity plan. If you tell us your postcode, Mozo can compare all the energy plans in your area to give you an estimate of the savings you’ll make - try it now!
If you have a bill handy, even better. You can dial up the accuracy of your results by entering your actual usage.
Will it cost me anything to switch electricity providers?
The good news is that if you haven’t switched electricity providers before it is likely you’re on an open contract now and there shouldn’t be a cost to change providers.
Some fixed term electricity contracts will have exit or termination fees if you decide to switch before the end of the term. You will have to pay this cost to your current provider.
For people who are moving house you may be required to pay a connection fee at your new property address when you sign up. This cost is usually added to your first bill.
I want to switch to clean energy. Can I compare renewable energy plans?
Yes, renewable energy generation is extremely important and along with price, is one of the key reasons that people choose to switch electricity providers.
Mozo includes providers that offer clean or renewable energy plans in our energy provider comparison search results.
If you want to learn more about renewable energy then hit up our renewable energy FAQ.
How can I find the cheapest electricity plan?
While there is no one cheapest electricity provider, there is the cheapest electricity plan for you. Your electricity bill is calculated based on three key things:
Your usage: You will be charged by your electricity provider for every kWh of electricity you use so the less power you use, the cheaper your bill will be. There are a number of ways you can reduce the amount of electricity you use including purchasing energy efficient light globes and appliances to installing solar panels. For ways to save on energy, read our articles on energy savings tips.
Your electricity meter: There are a range of meter types available in Australia and which type you have will depend on where you live or how long your property has been around. If you have a smart meter or a time of use meter you will be charged different rates depending on the time of day. A single tariff meter will mean you are charged a single tariff no matter what time of day it is.
Your electricity plan: The electricity plan you are on will determine the supply charges, the tariffs (fixed or variable) and what discounts or rewards are applied to your bill. Many energy providers have discount plans for things like “paying on time” and “direct debit” so you can reduce the cost of your bill if you opt for these as part of your plan.
With Mozo’s electricity comparison tool, you can filter results based on these preferences as these are the things that are most likely going to affect the cost of your electricity. Before you start your comparison it is a good idea to have your most recent bill handy as this will give you the most accurate results.
Is price all I should consider when switching electricity providers?
There are many reasons for switching electricity providers, and while price is generally one of the biggest reasons for switching there are other factors to consider such as:
- The way the electricity company generates its energy. Does it all come from coal powered power stations or do they generate energy from clean energy such as solar and hydroelectric?
- Customer service. Sometimes great customer service comes at a higher price but it’s often worth it. Not sure what makes an electricity provider worth considering? Our Mozo People's Choice Awards can help.
How do I switch electricity plans?
Once you’ve found the best deal, click on the deal and we’ll transfer you to the retailer’s website where you can sign up directly or speak with one of their customer service representatives to get your new electricity service up and running.
Some of the details you might need include:
- The supply address
- NMI - national meter identifier (this is the meter number and can be found on your bill)
- Direct debit details (bank name, BSB, account number)
How long does it take to switch electricity suppliers?
You don’t need to notify your old electricity provider of your decision to switch, your new electricity company will do this on your behalf. It is important to understand that the switch will not take place on the date you sign up with the new electricity company. It will take place on your next meter read. This can take from a few days to 3 months depending on when you meter was last read.
Do I need to be home when they switch my electricity?
You don’t need to be home as long as there is open access to your electricity meter. Even if there isn’t, the meter reading representative will leave a meter read form which you’ll send to your old supplier so that they can finalise your last bill.
Will there be any interruption to my electricity or gas supply?
As long as you're not installing new solar panels or changing meters it is a simple procedure that doesn’t require any rewiring or plumbing to your premises.
In fact, the only difference you will notice is lower electricity bills.
Will I be billed twice?
No. You will receive a final bill from your current provider shortly after the switch date. Your new bill with the new provider will be sent at the regular monthly or quarterly bill cycle for that provider.
But do remember to cancel your direct debit account if you've set one up with your previous energy company.
What if I change my mind?
If you decide to cancel your new agreement you will have a 10 day cooling off period where you will not have to pay any cancellation fees or charges. After this period you may be required to pay a termination fee, even if your new service has not been connected yet.
I have a credit on my electricity account, will that get refunded?
Any credits will be fully refunded by your current provider. This will happen after your final meter read. The credit may be taken off the final bill or it could be paid to you once your final bill is settled.
I have a financial hardship agreement, can I get this transferred when I switch electricity plans?
If you are in debt with your existing electricity provider or have a financial hardship agreement with them, you will not be able to switch to a new electricity provider until your debt has been repaid.