Despite increasing costs in the energy market, we're seeing a serious provider drought. The number of active energy providers in Australia has almost halved since October 2021, down from 44 to 24.
With the world wondering what to do about rising energy costs, where do Aussies stand?
Aussies are facing the perfect storm with the energy crisis. The ACCC has announced that the average energy bill has increased by over $300 since April. If that wasn’t enough, Treasurer Jim Chalmers has indicated that bills could rise by a further 56% in the next two years.
While the rising prices might ordinarily see people rushing to switch providers, there’s been a growing drought when it comes to energy providers. Since October 2021, Mozo has seen the number of active energy providers more than halve, dropping from 44 to 24.
Despite this, there is still good reason to compare your energy provider: Mozo’s annual review of energy and gas plans showed that Aussies could save an average of $464 on electricity bills and $204 on gas bills annually by switching providers.
“This really is the perfect storm. Energy prices are surging and many of the smaller providers have been forced out of the market, leaving consumers with significantly fewer options when searching for a better deal,”
Claire Frawley, Mozo Personal Finance Expert
Overall, 80% of Mozo survey respondents had noticed an increase in their energy bills over the past year. Of those surveyed, these saw increases to their energy bills, ranging from $50 to more than $300 per quarter.
1 in 10 people surveyed were already in debt to their energy provider, with a further 4% are worried that they will be soon.
Part of the problem for many households might be not knowing why their bill is so high.
|Percentage of respondents whose energy bills have increased in the past year
While we have seen major increases on energy costs from providers there are many things you can do to help keep costs down on your end. Though 49% of the people we surveyed said they were trying to use less electricity, some bad habits were exposed:
Practising energy saving behaviours might be one way to keep costs down.
Nearly 30% of respondents who work from home are preparing for a summer of increasing office hours to keep personal air conditioning costs down.
It's also important to contact your provider if you're struggling to pay your bills, as early as you know it may be a problem. 10% of survey respondents have already phoned their providers to request help or a different billing method.
A further 10% had accessed government assistance in order to pay their energy bills, with schemes like the NSW Energy Accounts Assistance Payment scheme or Victorian Power Saving Bonus.
Despite all of this, very few Aussies have found the opportunity to switch providers. Part of this could be due to the shrinking provider numbers, but part could also be due to comfort. Once you're settled with a provider, the idea of switching regularly can seem daunting (we're here to do the legwork!)
This could be contributing to why 33% of Aussies surveyed haven't changed providers in over year, and nearly 40% more have only ever had the one energy provider.
Though many providers have been boxed out of the market, there are still providers offering flexible or more affordable options. The Mozo Experts Choice Awards^ for Energy found the best value energy plans, comparing 1,075 plans from 32 energy retailers. Each state has its own winners:
TAS: 1st Energy
The 2022 Climate Change Performance Index ranked Australia 55th of 63 countries in their commitment to climate change action. This is an improvement on last year's last place, but does not signal a major movement. This is largely representative of climate policy.
Individual attitudes are shifting. Aiming to reach net-zero by 2050, Australia tops world rankings for per-capita use of personal solar panels, and is making headway into use of other sustainable energy sources.
With green energy making its impact known, Mozo also compared solar-friendly and green energy options to find the best value green energy plans.
High energy prices have hit most households in 2022, and the ongoing costs are enough to melt any savings plan. But you needn’t fall victim to this trend - there are options.
“Households don't need to pay top dollar for their energy. Our analysis found that there are savings of up to $600 a year on offer, which is nothing to sneeze at.” said Frawley.
“It’s concerning to see that so many Aussies are already in debt to their energy providers, as this can make it more difficult for them to switch to a cheaper alternative. This should be a wake-up call for those starting to feel the pinch to act now,”