Question: Are energy comparison sites good?
Answer: Energy comparison sites are handy if you want to change energy plans. If you have never switched energy suppliers, or you have not changed suppliers in a few years, you could save money by comparing and changing your energy plan. But there are more than fifty energy retailers in Australia, and it would be too time-consuming to sift through and compare all the different tariffs and plans available. This is where energy comparison sites such as Econnex Comparison come in. These energy comparison sites require that you enter your postcode to get started and other information you can usually find on your energy bill. With this information, energy comparison sites present you with different energy plans for you to choose from.
Question: Do I need to change my pipes or wires after changing energy suppliers?
Answer: You do not need to change any pipes or wires because the gas and electricity which passes through them are the same, regardless of the supplier. Energy suppliers only buy energy from companies that produce them; they do not produce gas or electricity themselves. You should not be discouraged from switching your energy plan because you think your energy supply will be interrupted – in most cases, your energy supply will not be interrupted. But there might be a brief interruption in your energy supply if you have a smart meter fitted as part of your switch. In such cases, your supplier may need to cut off your supply for a while to install the smart meter. This smart meter, separate from the smart meters for gas and electricity, communicates directly with your supplier to ensure accurate energy bills.
Question: Can I apply for rebates and concessions?
Answer: If you are eligible for rebates and assistance, your energy supplier will subsidize your energy plan. Rebates and concessions are generally available to pensioners, low-income earners, and people with (financially demanding) medical conditions. If you are eligible for rebates and concessions, you can apply to have them reflect on your energy bill. Energy comparison sites also ask if you hold a concession card so that you can enter the goods and services tax (GST) concession rebate on your last energy bill. You can find out from your state or territory government if you are eligible for rebates and concessions.
Question: Why should I switch energy suppliers or plans?
Answer: You can save serious money by switching to cheap energy deals. Many Australians overpay on energy bills, and so many are on standard energy plans, which tend to be the default plan set by energy suppliers. Standard energy plans are usually the most expensive plans available from energy retailers, so it is worth checking that you are not on a standard plan. Although there is no guarantee that there will always be a cheaper energy plan, it is still worth checking at least once a year.
Question: Will I be charged a fee for leaving my current supplier?
Answer: Whether or not you are charged a cancellation fee for leaving your current energy supplier depends on the terms and conditions of your current tariff and your contract with the supplier. Some energy tariffs do not have cancellation fees, making them more appealing to customers. Also, if your energy plan is a contract term, also known as a fixed term, you may be charged an exit fee for switching before the expiration of the contract term. You will need to contact your current supplier to find out if an exit fee is attached to your current energy tariff.