Switching Energy Providers

Paul Coughran

Paul Coughran

Updated 04/07/2024

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Switching Energy Providers

Switching Energy Providers

Switching energy providers can be a strategic move to reduce costs and find better service options. This guide outlines the steps for switching energy providers in Australia and provides tips on what to consider before making the change.

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Why switch energy providers?

There are several compelling reasons to review and possibly switch your energy plan:

  • Lower costs: One of the simplest ways to reduce your power bills is to switch to a plan with lower rates. If you haven’t compared plans in over a year, you might be on a more expensive default offer.

  • Relocation: Moving home is an ideal time to review - and possibly change - your utility providers. If you’re moving to a different city or state, comparing energy plans for your new address is essential as prices, plans, and providers vary significantly by state.

  • Solar panels: If you’re installing solar panels or moving to a home with existing panels, finding a plan with a good solar feed-in tariff will help minimise your ongoing energy costs.

  • Green energy options: Many energy retailers now offer plans with green, renewable, or carbon-neutral options, catering to those interested in reducing their environmental impact.

  • Bundling Services: Some energy providers offer bundling discounts if you consolidate your utilities such as electricity, gas, home internet, and mobile phone services. This can simplify your billing and it might also reduce your costs.

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Are you eligible to switch energy providers?

Before you switch, determine if you can actually change providers in your area. In some parts of Australia, the energy market is regulated, limiting your ability to choose your own electricity or gas retailer. If you live in a deregulated area, switching is an option for you.

Take a look at the table below to see if you can switch in your area:

State

Can I switch electricity providers?

Can I switch gas providers?

NSW

Yes

Yes

Vic

Yes

Yes

QLD

Yes (south-east QLD only)**

Yes (south-east QLD only)**

SA

Yes

Yes

WA

No*

Yes

TAS

Yes

Yes

ACT

Yes

Yes

NT

No^

No^

*In WA, there are two electricity providers, each serving distinct regions. Customers in one region can’t switch electricity providers to the other. The gas market however, is far more competitive. 

**In regional QLD, the ability to switch providers depends on your specific location. 

^In the NT, although the energy market is open to competition, the government-owned Jacana Energy remains the primary supplier of electricity and gas. Additionally, customers need an interval metre to switch retailers.

How do you switch energy providers?

Switching energy providers is generally straightforward. Follow these steps to ensure a smooth transition for you and your household:

  1. Determine your energy needs: Assess your energy consumption habits. Consider factors like frequent use of air conditioning, pool pumps, or other high-energy appliances. Understanding your power usage can help you choose a plan that fits your household’s needs.

  2. Compare energy providers and plans: Research and compare energy offers in your area. Look at the overall value, including your local supply and usage rates, any discounts, and incentives like customer rewards programs. Using comparison websites like Compare Club helps to give an overview of the most competitive deals available.

  3. Choose your new provider: Once you’ve found a plan that suits your needs, contact your new provider. They will usually handle your switching process, including notifying your current provider and arranging your transition.

  4. Confirm your switch: Ensure you receive confirmation from both your new and old providers. Check the final metre reading and any final bills from your previous provider to avoid discrepancies.

What are my rights as a customer of an energy retailer?

Laws are established to protect customers in energy matters. Your energy retailer must provide a printed summary of any contract, which includes the following details:

  • All prices and charges

  • Early termination payments and penalties

  • Contract start date and duration

  • Billing and payment information

  • Your rights and obligations

After agreeing to any contract, you have the right to change your mind within 10 business days without incurring any penalties.

Additional tips for smooth switching:

  • Timing your switch: Plan your energy provider switch to coincide with the end of your current billing cycle if you can. This will help to avoid overlapping charges.

  • Understanding your new contract: Carefully read the terms and conditions of your new plan, especially regarding rates, fees, and your contract length.

  • Track your usage: After switching, monitor your energy usage and bills to ensure your new plan is cost-effective and meets your expectations.

What is the Default Market Offer (DMO)? 

The Default Market Offer (DMO) sets a price cap on how much electricity retailers can charge consumers on default plans. These plans are also known as standard retail plans or standing offers. 

The DMO ensures that consumers have access to a fair electricity deal even if they do not shop around for the best deal.

The DMO also serves as a reference price for comparing electricity contracts on the market. Energy retailers are required to use this reference price when advertising their offers to customers.

The DMO applies to consumers in New South Wales, South Australia, and south-east Queensland. In Victoria, consumers can use the Victorian Default Offer (VDO), which operates the same way.

Important Note: A default offer might not be the lowest price available to you. It’s always advisable to contact your energy retailer and ask if a cheaper electricity plan is available for you. If you live in a location with a range of options, you can also just switch energy providers.

Sources:

https://www.energy.nsw.gov.au/households/guides-and-helpful-advice/being-more-energy-efficient/understand-your-energy-bill/switching-providers

https://www.ipart.nsw.gov.au/Home/Industries/Energy/Ret ail-prices/Choosing-an-energy-supplier 

https://www.energy.gov.au/households/Find-the-best-energy-deal

https://www.energymadeeasy.gov.au/

https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/energy-policy-wa/household-electricity-pricing

https://compare.energy.vic.gov.au/

https://www.powerwater.com.au/customers/power/choosing-a-power-retailer

https://www.energymadeeasy.gov.au/article/electricity-tariffs

This guide is opinion only and should not be taken as financial advice. Check with a financial professional before making any decisions.




Paul Coughran is the General Manager of Emerging Verticals at Compare Club. Paul has over 20 years of experience across a wide range of industries including Banking and Finance, Telecommunications and Energy. Paul leads a team of trusted experts dedicated to helping individuals make informed decisions about their insurance and utilities needs.

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Paul Coughran

General Manager of Utilities

Things you should know

CompareClub.com.au is an on-line energy comparison service and is owned and operated by Compare Club Australia Pty Ltd (ACN: 634 600 007). We provide offers on behalf of a number of energy retailers, and have also partnered with Zembl to provide you access to their expert staff to assist in selecting the most appropriate energy packages from their panel of providers. Compare Club doesn’t compare all products from all retailers and not all products are available to all customers. In providing a comparison, we don’t necessarily compare all features that may be relevant to you. Please consider the individual product terms and conditions carefully to ensure the product is right for you.