Top tricks for cutting summer energy bills
Two in 10 customers are sticking with their same energy provider for more than a decade without reviewing their charges.
Now that summer has arrived, many households face higher costs and experts are encouraging households to review their charges before getting stung with a hefty bill when it's a little too late.
New research commissioned on behalf of Powershop quizzed 1600 Australians and found:
• 45 per cent have been with the same energy company for more than five years.
• 22 per cent have been with their retailer for more than 10 years.
• 57 per cent find the energy market difficult to understand.
• 67 per cent think energy prices are deliberately confusing.
Mother-of-three Nikki Brownlie, 41, says she is always on the hunt for competitive energy deals and has switched providers three times in the past five years.
"There's no benefit of being loyal anymore to any company, whether that's car insurance, banks, home loan lenders or energy providers," she says. "I find if you ring up to complain they'll be a different rate that they'll offer you, which means you've been charged a higher rate all along.
"If they are a good company they should be offering a better offer in the first place."
The Brownlie family has electricity, gas and solar and pay about $500 per quarter on their electricity bills.
Ms Brownlie says it's "very easy" to switch retailers.
Powershop's chief customer officer Catherine Anderson says customers who can switch providers should look around because summer can bring expensive bills to keep cool.
"If you've been someone who has been with the same provider for 10 years, I would definitely be encouraging you to look around," she says. "With Powershop it's a five-minute online form or you contact the call centre and everything is taken care for you, you don't need to contact your retailer.
"It's all done behind the scenes and there's no time where the power is turned off, it's all really seamless."
Many customers aren't locked into fixed contracts, which means customers can hunt around for a better deal at any time. Energy comparison website Canstar Blue's spokesman Simon Downes says finding the right energy plan for many consumers in most states where they can choose their retailer is "easier than ever".
"The biggest savings in NSW, QLD, VIC and SA are between 20 per cent and 30 per cent below the reference price." The reference price is the maximum amount that retailers can charge for customers who fail to shop around.
Originally published as Top tricks for cutting summer energy bills