How To Change Energy Retailers – What You Need To Know
Ever heard of the “Lazy Tax”? It’s an awful term used by energy (and other) retailers to describe we consumers who simply can’t be bothered or find it too hard to change from one retailer to another.

Energy retailers of electricity and gas bank on the lazy tax and make millions from it. Unfortunately, whilst most people aren’t lazy, the thought of negotiating better deals with alternate retailers can be quite daunting and often puts people off so the retailers win – BIG!

The main reason for consumers not changing is not knowing what information is needed to help with the change. In this blog, I’m going to explain how to change energy retailers and what information you need from your bill to make a change which could possibly save you hundreds of dollars per year. I’m focusing on electricity in this blog as it seems to be the most current pain for people with rising electricity costs.

MY RECENT CHANGE…

I’m speaking from experience here because just recently, I changed from AGL for both our electricity and gas to Origin Energy. The nett result will be (estimated) savings of $300-$400 per year on gas and although not as much on electricity at (estimated) $50-$100 per year the combined savings will have definitely made the change worth the effort. The total amount of time spent on the phone would have been about an hour and this includes 2 calls each to both AGL and Origin.

FORGET COMPARISON WEBSITES!

If you haven’t read my blog on comparison websites here, it may pay to do so because I explain with great detail why these so called “money saving” websites are a crock of s#$t. To sum the blog up, I entered the exact same information into 6 comparison websites and different retailers appeared at the top of the reults page. This tells me that comparison websites have some “back door” deals going with the retailers to push them to the top of the list. What else could it be when all the same information was entered into every website? Somethings’ not right! In my blog I go on to explain that if you still want to use a comparison website (maybe to save time more than money) only use the Australian government’s website which is Energy Made Easy.¬†Even this will give you varying results, however I live in the hope that because it’s a government website that no “shonky” deals are going on behind closed doors. Maybe I’m naive? The only way to be assured you’re offered the best deal is to speak directly with the retailers and play one off against the other.

HOW TO CHANGE ELECTRICITY SUPPLIERS…
The first thing you need to do is grab the last bill you received from your electricity retailer and have it in front of you. Your bill will have the information you need to negotiate better deals from another retailer. The two images below are my latest bill and I’ve used them to guide you through what information you need. Click on the bill pages to enlarge and open in a new window…
GATHER THE NUMBERS YOU NEED…
  1. BILLING PERIOD IN DAYS: If you look at page 1 above, you’ll see that I’ve highlighted in a blue square the billing period which is 30 Jun to 29 Sep 2017. This is a period of 92 days. The number of days is important because you’ll be asked what that number is. The number of days for the billing period may be in a different area of your bill however it should be clearly stated on the bill somewhere.
  2. kWh IMPORTED: Now look at page 2 and you’ll see the kWh numbers you’ll need. The number 738 is the total kWhs we bought FROM THE GRID for which we pay the peak rate for.
  3. SOLAR CREDITS: The number 550 is the total kWhs we EXPORTED TO THE GRID from our solar system for which we are given solar credits for at the agreed feed-in tariff rate.
  4. CONTROLLED LOAD: If you have a controlled load such as an electric hot water service or sub floor heating, the number of kWhs used will also be shown in the same area.
  5. PEAK RATE: Is the amount (in cents) you pay per kWh bought from the grid. In our case it was 0.3075 per kWh but this rose to $0.38 per kWh as from 1 July 2017.
  6. SUPPLY CHARGE: Is the rate per day you’re charged to have electricity connected to your property. In our case it was $0.709 cents per day but rose to $0.83 cents per day after 1 July 2017.
  7. SOLAR CREDITS: This is the feed-in tariff rate that you receive as a credit per kWh for the amount of electricity you’ve exported to the grid. You can see our feed-in tariff rate rose from $0.068 cents per kWh to $0.163 cents per kWh.

PLEASE NOTE! All rates shown on your bill generally EXCLUDE GST so you need to add 10% to all rates shown on your bill when talking to retailers.

WHAT TO NEGOTIATE…
  1. A lower peak rate. This will save you money on energy you buy from the grid.
  2. A lower controlled load rate.
  3. A higher solar credits rate. Gets you paid more for the energy you export to the grid.
  4. A higher discount if paid before the due date.

If you achieve one of the above you’ll save money. If you achieve all of the above you’ll save a lot more money. It’s sounds fairly obvious I know, but having explained the numbers you need to negotiate a better deal will make the process far easier for you.

If you have any questions about your bill, please leave a message below.

Regards,

Phil.

UPDATE Dec 4, 2017

Is it just my skepticism or is it dirty tricks? I received the letter below from AGL after our transfer was lodged by Origin. Have a look at the letter below and see if you agree with me. The first thing I read was “Please sign and date below”. Then I read AGL – Transfers. My first thought was I am signing a release or something similar to allow transfer to Origin. Next down the page is Origin’s address and my address. So far it all looks and reads like I need to sign below to finalize the transfer. Until I read the paragraph under “To whom it may concern”.

Had I signed the form and posted it to the Reply Paid address, I would have authorised the reverse of the transfer and thus ended up still being with AGL. My guess is, many people may fall victim tho this clever “wording and layout” tactic used by companies. It goes back to the lazy tax again… if we initially perceive the document to be an authorisation to transfer to another power company, we may sign without further checks.

If you implement the changes above be aware that you may receive a last minute sales tactic to get you to remain with your current provider.

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