Beware Of Energy Comparison Websites!
1enIf you’ve ever wanted to change your electricity (or gas) retailer to get a better deal and thought about using energy comparison websites, be careful and read this blog!

This blog is dedicated to demonstrating how inconsistent energy comparison websites are and you have to wonder why?

How can it be that when you input EXACTLY the same information into these comparison websites (which simply compare the numbers you provide) that you receive different results? There can only one explanation and that is, that special deals are offered to the website’s administrators by electricity retailers to boost their companies to the top of the list.

Comparison websites take your information off your latest bill and then produce a list of electricity retailers in your area. Normally the best deal offered by a retailer will appear at the top of the list. Now this is where it gets very dubious. I have, and I’m going to prove it below with actual examples, show just how different the results can be – using exactly the same information off my latest power bill.

In my technical opinion, if EXACTLY THE SAME INFORMATION is provided to each comparison website, the results all should be the same. It’s because they are not that raises considerable doubts as to what special deals the power retailers are providing the comparison websites to get their company names to the top of the list.

“There is only one comparison website I trust and I’ll explain that a bit later below”.

But first, here are some examples of the commercial comparison websites and how the results differ…

LEVEL PLAYING FIELD.

To keep things fair and on a level playing field, I have used EXACTLY the same information on all comparison websites (where possible) to obtain the final results. The numbers I’ve used are clearly marked in coloured boxes on the “Power Bill’ to the right (click to enlarge).

(1) Compared electricity pricing only because every home has electricity but not all homes have gas.
(2) EXCLUDED solar system because not every home has solar.
(3) Used my postcode of 5038
(4) Used the “Total Due” highlighted in RED on the bill to the right.
(4) Used the usage rate (620 kWh) on my power bill highlighted in BLUE on the bill to the right.
(5) Used the SUPPLY (BILLING) PERIOD highlighted in GREEN on the bill to the right.
(6) Did NOT use CONTROLLED-LOAD because we do not have an electric hot water service. (If you have an electric hot water service or sub floor heating you would input the CONTROLLED-LOAD number (kWh) into the relevant field on the comparison website).
(7) Used my current electricity retailer which is AGL.
(8) Did my last bill have any discounts applied to it? = Yes, but I entered NO because not all retailers offer discounts. This keeps the level playing field. If you do receive discounts on your bill (for whatever it may be) enter this into the website field because it will improve your results.
(9) I chose “No lock in contract” as a standard choice where possible.

Click on the image above to view the whole bill in large format.

6 common websites used for this comparison.

 

(1) Youcompare Energy

Comparison Date: 5 June, 2016

Winner…
Energy Australia
(4) Compare The Market

Comparison Date: 5 June, 2016

Winner:
Simply Energy
(2) Energy Watch

Comparison Date: 5 June, 2016

Winner:
AGL
(5) Canstar Blue

Comparison Date: 5 June, 2016

Winner:
Lumo Energy
(3) iSelect

Comparison Date: 5 June, 2016

Winner:
AGL (Various Options)
(6) U Chose

Comparison Date: 5 June, 2016

Winner:
Simply Energy

In summery…

How can there be so many different winners when the same information has been provided to each comparison website?

The whole point of the above exercise is to show people that even when you input the same information into these comparison websites, the results differ greatly. There is only one answer to this and that is the retailers are offering special deals to the websites to get their businesses listed at the top of the preferences.

Special Notes Regarding The Above Results…

(1) If you have a solar system on your property, you must be sure to choose that option when your filling in the details on any comparison website. This will ensure the retailer rebate (around 8 cents per KwHr) will be included in their offer. Because most people do not have solar on their roof, I opted to leave it out of the calculations to level the playing field. If you do have solar it’s a bonus, the deals offered will be more attractive but still differ greatly as shown above.

(2) In the case where “Special Preferences” are offered, again, to keep the results as even as possible I selected “NO” to all special preferences.

Now for the only energy comparison website I trust…

augov-eme-logo

About the Australian Energy Regulator (AER)

The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) is the Australian Government’s national energy market regulator and has an independent board.

The AER is funded by the Commonwealth Government and shares staff, resources and facilities with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). It was established under Part IIIAA of theTrade Practices Act 1974 (which was renamed the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 on 1 January 2011) and operates as a separate legal entity.

The AER operates under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. Its functions are set out in national energy market legislation and rules and mostly relate to energy markets in eastern and southern Australia.

In other words, the AER is a far more regulated and controlled entity than that of commercial comparison websites who have their own interests at heart.

For more information, please visit the AER website.

Energy Made Easy

https://www.energymadeesay.gov.au

Comparison Date: 5 June, 2016

Winner:
Energy Australia
Here’s a video demonstration of just how easy it is to provide your information into the

Australian Government’s “Energy Made Easy” website.

 

NOTE TO SOLAR SYSTEM OWNERS!

If you have a roof top solar system, make sure you choose a plan which has the icon of the sun next to it. This will ensure the retailer’s offer will include the solar rebate and quote you what that rebate is on the “Fact Sheet” you can download.

I hope this information has helped you. If you have any questions at all regarding this information,
please contact us here or call us on 0411 752 574.

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