The Mistry Family paid Neighbourhood Energy $407.55 for their power in the most recent quarter.THE Mistry family’s last quarterly electricity bill was $407.55 but, according to electricity switching service GoSwitch, the Coburg family of five could save $67.40 a quarter – or $270 a year – by changing their supplier from Neighbourhood Energy to Red Energy.
It is news that surprises Tracey Mistry – not least because she and husband Ryan used a switching service to choose their current supplier.
”It’s a significant saving and it does surprise me,” Ms Mistry said.
Consumers will be looking to make savings wherever they can following the introduction today of the carbon tax. With the average electricity bill in Victoria having increased by 28 per cent over the past three years, and predictions by the Australian Electricity Market Commission that bills will jump by another third over the next three, many consumers will turn to switching websites to find cheap deals.
The Sunday Age has identified at least nine electricity switching websites, including the Victorian government service yourchoice.vic.gov.au. The sites advise consumers – 28 per cent of whom changed suppliers last year – on the best deals available in their location.
However, consumer association Choice warns that some websites have deals with some of the state’s 15 electricity retailers, and residents should be wary of hidden costs.
”Some of the commercial switching sites do not provide the user with all the relevant terms and conditions associated with electricity plans so that a user can make an informed decision before switching,” Choice said in a report earlier this year.
Using the Mistrys’ bill, The Sunday Age went to three switching services. The best three choices that GoSwitch advised for Coburg residents using the Mistrys’ rate of electricity consumption were Red Energy, Click Energy and Dodo, in that order.
The government service selected Momentum Energy, EnergyAustralia and Click Energy, while Switchwise 南京夜网.au selected Click Energy, EnergyAustralia and Red Energy.
”It’s a postcode-driven system,” said GoSwitch chief executive Ben Freund. ”Every time someone switches providers using the site, we get a flat one-off fee from the provider. We charge all the retailers the same; we don’t encourage consumers to go one way or another.”
Mr Freund rejected suggestions from Choice that government-run comparison websites were better because they did not rely on money from the electricity providers. ”Our service is free and it is independent and it is impartial,” he said.
Mr Freund said good energy-switching websites returned a full page of results on the internet and included an extensive amount of detail.
The Australian Energy Regulator will today launch a comparison website for households in the ACT and Tasmania. The site – www.energy madeeasy.gov.au – is expected to be available nationally when other states sign on and introduce new legislation.
As for the Mistrys, they are likely to swap providers now. ”I think we’ll go out on a romantic evening together [with the savings],” Ms Mistry said.
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