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How to save money: AER electricity, gas bills in Queensland, NSW, ACT, Vic, South Australia,Tas; distribution costs ris

Updated on December 20, 2012

Price range for retail electricity and gas in NSW, in the ACT, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania

See the amazing price spread as at August 2011.
See the amazing price spread as at August 2011.

NSW bills mapped; red for the highest home, small business bills

The map shows  those in country NSW  face the largest  dollar increases in  annual electricity bills because of higher existing prices  largest increase and network costs.
The map shows those in country NSW face the largest dollar increases in annual electricity bills because of higher existing prices largest increase and network costs. | Source

How to get the best price for electricity and gas bills, and maybe save $900 a year on electricity alone

Wait until July 2012 to change your gas or electricity supplier and cut home and business costs. That's because a new energy Retail Law starts on 1 July 2012.

Here's why to wait: The Australian energy market regulator - the AER - plans to release a web-based energy price comparator website to help customers compare energy offers in six States:

  1. Queensland;
  2. NSW;
  3. the ACT;
  4. Victoria;
  5. South Australia; and
  6. Tasmania.

Regulator orders retailers to provide data: Retailers must provide information on their generally available offers for inclusion on the comparator. The AER expects to launch the website when the New Retail Law commences on 1 July 2012.

What you pay for in your electricity bill

Electricity transport
Other stuff
About 50%
It's strange but true; now days, energy transport costs cost more than energy. Retail energy bills cover the costs of wholesale energy, transport through transmission and distribution networks, and retail services. In electricity, network costs are t

Save money: Free NSW electricity bill comparison service; easy to use, too: case-study saved $633; use online or by phone

Government regulators increased electricity price 17 per cent for 2011 - 2012;

- 80 per cent of this price increase was higher network costs; but,

- who owns the networks? They are owned by Government

All of this was on the basis of forecast growth of 3 per cent a year. But this year electriicity demand - growth fell 5 per cent.

Now you have stopped laughing: Jokes aside, that's about $315 more per year, you must save to keep your bill about the same as last year. According to government the way to do this was to use its comparison tool to chose who to buy electricity from.

You now pay 17 per cent more: The price-rise 1 July 2011 means NSW in 2011-2012 you pay 17 per cent more for electricity. New network costs add 10 per cent, and renewable energy costs add 6 per cent, to make a 17.6 per cent average price increase on 1 July 2011.

  • home bills rise $4 to $6 more - $215 and $315 more per year; and
  • small business bills rise $6 to $10 more per week, or $300 to $530 more per year.

How to save money: You can use a FREE online widget , also available by phone call - to compare 35 NSW retail electricity offers.
Amazing results of comparison tool: I tried it. It works. Not only was the price very different between the 35 competitive offers for retail electricity in NSW, but the terms between the offers also showed-up as very, very different.
Timeless tool: This summary was made at the time of the giant price rise in July 2011; and for 2011-2012 offers. But you can get the current info for your electricity bill competitive options for any date from the link below.

Some expert electricity advice: who not to ask for advice

  1. Wait until 1 July to compare your electricity and gas bill rates
  2. don't use Energy Watch; as this firm only compares the firms that pay Energy Watch to compare: "preferred suppliers that have competitive rates and plan". (web site 19 May 2012). Atr least three very big retailers have stopped using Energy Watch in April 2012. So who do they compare with?. Not the full list of retailers. So don't use it . Its unreliable.
  3. We advise; wait for the new all-retailer AER comparison service (it opens 1 July);
  4. other switch firms exist for example Goswitch and You Compare;
  5. neither of these say explicity, that they compare ALL retailers. So. buyer beware.
  6. the three firms battle it out in paid web listings on Google.

1 July opening: That's the day the AER opens its free public energy price comparisons site for Queensland, New South Wales, the ACT, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. This compares ALL retailer offers.
FREE: The AER created its new public free electricity and gas price comparator website after its parent - the ACCC - succeeded in a court action against a commercial bill-comparator site, Energy Watch.
How to cheat the public: The judge found Energy Watch had only compared customers bills with retail electricity suppliers which had paid Energy Watch to do so, and also had made untrue claims on TV, the internet, radio and bill boards.
Retailers get the message: Radical price reductions were now offered as the data began to filter into the public domain - probably because retailers had had a preview of the new AER comparator service.
Energy Watch fined $1 million or more? The energy comparator web site Energy Watch faced about $1 million in fines after the Australian Energy Regulator succeeded in 80 court action against it for fakery; and CEO Ben Polis also faced public ire when his Facebook site was found to contain racist comments. Polis also owned the SEO firm, Freedom CEO. That was now in administration.
What the Judge found: Energy Watch was:

  1. not offering a comparison service
  2. its claimed consumers could save $386 on their electricity bill; and
  3. were based on a small and misleading sample

Justice Shane Marshall of the Federal Court in Melbourne ruled Energy Watch breached three sections of Australian Consumer Law

Wow - Energy Watch still offering services!: Despite the judgement the from was still trading unde the name "Energy Watch Business".The firm - started by two 27 years old in 2009, started as a partnership between Luke Zumbor and Bel Polis. However the ACCC had taken the action against CEO Bel Polis and Energy Watch, not Luke Zubor. It appeared both were still working in the business as they waited for the court to set the fine - which could top $1 million. Electricity retailers AGL and Momentum said they would no longer work with Energy Watch.

The new FREE national public service:
The AER is developing a price comparator website to help customers compare energy offers available in their area.

Retailers must provide information on their generally available offers for inclusion on the comparator.

Customers can use the comparator to get specific information about energy offers and prices relevant to them, making it easier to select a retailer and contract that best meets their needs. T

he website will also include information on how customers can save energy and help reduce their energy bills. The AER expects to launch the website when the Retail Law commences on 1 July 2012.

Reasons not to buy add-on "Green Power" offers: Retailers also offer Green Power. In my view you should NOT buy GreenPower.
Why? You already pay for green energy. For example, a 2011 - 2012 a tripling of allowed network expenditure saw:

  • network cost add 10 per cent, to your electricity bill; and on top of that;
  • changes to the renewable energy RET scheme add 6 per cent: and
  • you got an 17.6 per cent average price increase on your bill from 1 July 2011.
  • so you already pay for green power.
  • if you live in rental property or strata title - where solar is uneconomic your bill also includes the subsidies for richer home-owners who can afford solar set-ups.

So don't pay extra for voluntary Green Power: Your bill has already gone up 7 per cent for mandatory "green" power.
Green Power is an extra charge: Why pay it? It's just extra profit for the energy company. A scam, really. The way to do it; use negawatts. Yes, negative energy. Just use less. You won't save the planet buying extra green power. Australia is the coal center of the world and all the people who work in coal make lots of money. Read on.
The Australian political system remains biased towards coal: Even the Minister for Carbon policy - Greg Combet - comes from a coal electorate - and his first move, on entering Parliament was to do a special deal for coal investors. About 90 per cent of NSW energy comes from coal.
Solution: use less energy, rather than buy Green Power: There's a better way to do it. And it costs you less. Here it is: To save the planet it's more effective to use less energy rather than pay your retailer more, for Green Power, than Black Power.
Negawatt examples:

  • turn off your off-peak water heater, every time you go away for a weekend, or on holiday, that could save you heaps; 30 - 40 per cent for that period;
  • install an instant-heat hot water heater;
  • get solar water heating;
  • use the dryer only in off peak times; or
  • lower the thermostat on your hot water heater to 60-65°C;
  • use the washing machines for clothes and dishes after 8 pm only;
  • charge your mobile devices after 8pm;
  • limit use of the hot water jug;
  • turn everything off at the wall when you don't use it;
  • set swimming pool pumps to work from 8 pm; and
  • use only neon light bulbs.

Fancy smart meters, no thanks: The best offer for me was the one with no fancy smart meter; on the 'regulated price".
The most attractive offer also had very good terms:

  • no fixed contract term;
  • no early contract termination rates;
  • no account establishment fees;
  • no moving home disconnection fees; and
  • low late payment fees: $7.50

Gas and electricity on one bills, no thanks: These usually have high "get-out clauses", That is you have to pay to move to another supplier.

List of NSW electricity retailers

  1. ActewAGL Retail;
  2. AGL Sales;
  3. AGL Sales (Queensland Electricity) Pty Limited (formerly Powerdirect Australia);
  4. Aurora Energy;
  5. Australian Power and Ga;
  6. Cogent Energy;
  7. Country Energy;
  8. Delta Electricity;
  9. Diamond Energy;
  10. Dodo Power and Gas;
  11. EnergyAustralia;
  12. Eraring Energy;
  13. ERM Power Retail;
  14. GridX;
  15. Independent Electricity Retail Solutions;
  16. Infigen Energy Markets Pty Ltd (formerly Alinta Energy Services Limited);
  17. Integral Energy;
  18. Lumo Energy (NSW);
  19. Momentum Energy;
  20. Origin Energy Electricity;
  21. Powerdirect;
  22. Red Energy;
  23. Sanctuary Energy;
  24. Simply Energy;
  25. Sun Retail;
  26. TRUenergy;
  27. TRUenergy Yallourn;

On 1 March 2011, TRUenergy bought the retail arm of EnergyAustralia and Origin Energy bought the retail arms of both Integral Energy and Country Energy.


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