How to win from the energy discount wars

Monday, 23 November 2015

Posted by Kylie Moss

Victorians looking to switch and save on their energy bills this summer are in luck. Victoria is Australia’s most competitive energy market and this means that energy providers are vying for your business with some great deals available which will mean cheaper summer power bills.

But according to data from comparison site Mozo, many Victorians are falling prey to clever marketing tactics with offers of big discounts which may not actually result in massive price savings for households.

Why? Because a plan with a 10% discount off usage charges could actually be cheaper than an alternative plan offering a 35% discount off usage charges.

Your usage charges are set by the energy retailer and depend on the plan you’re on. Every energy provider and energy plan is different so when you are comparing discounted offers you need to know what that discount is based off in order to work out which is the better deal.

For instance, Mozo crunched the numbers on a 3 person household in Victoria’s 3000 postcode, with pay on time and direct debit options. The results showed that Powershop’s Online Saver Plan with an 18% guaranteed pay-on-time discount off usage and service charges was $68 a quarter cheaper than Online Power and Gas’ Flexisaver plan that has a 28% pay on time discount off usage charges.

To help you cut through the clutter of discounted energy deals, Mozo has developed a free energy comparison service which compares 700 plans from 22 energy providers in Victoria.

The online tool takes into account your usage details, payment preferences and household size to help you quickly identify the cheapest energy plans in your local area.

Mozo’s top tips for getting the cheapest energy deal.

Look beyond incentives. Getting $50 off your first bill is a good incentive to switch but don’t forget to check that the plan’s tariff and discounts will save you money on your energy bills over the longer term.

Always pay on time? If the answer is no, you could 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.

Dual fuel. Many providers offer big discounts if you sign up your household’s electricity as well as gas services with them. A dual fuel package is also a convenient option as you’ll only need to deal with one supplier for both services. 

Exit fees. Discounted deals are great but don’t forget to run your eye over the fine print before signing up. Sometimes, the ‘special’ offers are available only when you fix for a longer period and you may need to pay an exit fee if you need to cancel the plan earlier. 

Compare, compare, compare. With so many new energy deals hitting the market every quarter, there’s no glory in being a loyal customer for years. The best deals are usually on offer to new customers, so it pays to regularly compare and switch.

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