How to switch energy providers in Australia
Here in Australia, unfortunately there isn’t one standard price for energy across the country so finding the best energy deal can be difficult (or at least very time consuming) as you need to compare hundreds of plans from the energy providers that service your area. How much your electricity and gas services will cost depends on a number of things from where you live to the type of meter you’ve got installed at your premises.
Mozo’s developed a simple energy cost comparison tool that can cut through the lengthy process and help you to find a better energy deal in minutes. But before you jump on in and start comparing plans based on cost, there are some other things you’ll want to know and understand about switching energy providers which we’ve outlined for you in this must read energy guide.
Why compare energy providers?
Like mortgage repayments or paying rent, paying your energy bill is part of every household’s essential bills. You can’t live without electricity or gas to your home so once you set the account up, it’s often put in the set and forget pile.
But, like other products and services, utility providers change their products and their pricing all the time. The electricity deal that you signed up to 5 years ago, may have been a great deal then but chances are, there’s now a better one out there for you. You could actually save hundreds of dollars a year by switching to a new plan with your current energy provider or switching energy providers all together.
But money isn’t the only reason. Many people want to choose an energy retailer based on other things from customer service to how power is generated. Green energy and renewable energy options are increasingly ranking as a factor for people wanting to switch. Read customer reviews here on Mozo.
There have also been a range of regulatory changes in recent years in states like NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Canberra and Queensland which mean that you’ve now got a lot more choice. Once upon a time you probably only had 1 or 2 energy providers to choose from for your gas or electricity service, now you could have 10 or more.
If you live in Tasmania, Western Australia and the Northern Territory you can’t switch energy providers at this time.
How much does it cost to switch?
If you are not on a fixed term contract with your current energy provider, you should not incur any cost for switching. Some providers may have a termination fee if you break a contract before the end of the contract term.
If you are moving house, you may be required to pay a connection fee at your new property address. This cost is usually added to your first bill.
How do I find a cheap energy plan?
There is no one cheapest provider, but there is the cheapest plan for you. There are three key things that will determine how cheap your energy bill will be:
- How much energy you use: Your energy usage is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh) and you will be charged by your energy provider for every kWh you use.
- Your meter type: The type of meter you have installed at your address will determine how your bills are calculated. Smart meters, time of use (TOU) meter, single tariff and controlled load meters are all available in Australia.
- Your energy plan: The type of contract you will be on with your energy provider will determine the supply charges, the tariff (fixed or variable) and what discounts or rewards are applied to your bill.
Is it cheaper to get gas and electricity from the one supplier?
There are a number of energy providers that will offer dual fuel plans or discounts if you take up a gas and an electricity plan with them. It might be a convenient option for billing and customer service, and it could be a cheaper option than if you were choosing between two separate plans with that supplier. But two single plans from two separate providers could actually be the cheapest option.
How do I switch?
Once you've found the right energy plan for your household, now comes the time to apply! You'll be able to submit an application while still on the Mozo site just by filling out a quick form!
Some of the details you might need to provide 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?
Your new energy provider will notify your old supplier of your decision to switch. The switch will not take place on the date you signed up for the new energy retailer, it will take place on your next scheduled meter read date. This can take from a few days to 3 months depending on when your meter was last read.
Do I need to be home for the switch to take place?
No, you don’t need to be home. If there isn’t open access to the electricity meter, you will be required to complete 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?
No, the only difference you will notice is lower electricity or gas bills.
As long as you are not installing new solar panels or changing meters it is a simple procedure that doesn’t require any rewiring or plumbing to your premises.
Will I be billed twice?
No, the two providers would set a date to finalise the switch so you won't be billed twice. 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?
Generally, you will have a 10 business day cooling off period if you decide to cancel the new agreement. If you change your mind after this period, even if your new service has not been connected yet, you may be required to pay a termination fee.
What if I am in credit or debt with my existing energy provider?
If you are in credit because you have prepaid some of your energy costs you will receive a refund from your existing retailer once your final bill has been settled.
If you are in debt or have a financial hardship agreement with your existing provider, you will not be able to switch until your debt has been repaid.
Ready to start comparing energy plans? Then make your next stop our energy comparison tool.