How to switch your energy provider: A step-by-step guide
With electricity prices in Australia seeing a massive hike in recent months, your energy costs could eat up a big chunk from your annual business budget. Fortunately, one of the simplest and quickest ways of shaving some of those extra dollars off your electricity and gas bills is switching to a cheaper plan.
We’ve got a step-by-step guide on how to switch your energy provider below, but if you’ve only got one minute, here’s a quick 5-point summary to keep in mind:
- You can sign up for a new energy account online (in five minutes) or over the phone (in 10-15 minutes, because you’ll need to hear all the plan terms and conditions).
- You won’t need to coordinate the switch between your old and new retailer - your new retailer will handle everything from start to finish.
- Don’t let an exit fee stop you from exploring switching - it could be quite low and if you get a gift voucher worth $100 or more with your new account, this can help.
- The transfer is seamless and your energy supply will NOT be interrupted.
- You’ll have a cooling off period of around 10 days in case you change your mind.
And now if you have another 4 minutes, here’s the more detailed guide on switching energy providers:
Step 1: Take a good look at your last energy bill
Before you start comparing energy providers, it’s a smart idea to understand your usage and payment patterns so you know exactly what to look for in a new plan. And if you find energy bills confusing, cut through all the jargon by only focusing on these sections:
- Discounts: Most energy providers will try to attract you with different kinds of offers and incentives, such as, discounts for paying on time, setting up a direct debit account or a sign-up gift voucher. So figure out how much total discount you’re getting at the moment and if it’s guaranteed or based on any conditions.
- Your average usage: Your bill (generally on the last page) will tell you how much energy you’re using on average in a day or in a quarter - for electricity, this number would be measured in kWh (Kilowatt-hour) and for gas it would be calculated in MJ (Megajoules). Why do you need to know this? This number would be helpful when you start comparing energy prices for other plans.
Step 2: Find the best electricity and gas plans
Once you’re familiar with your existing plan, you can start comparing other energy offers available for your area. The things to consider would be:
- Who’s offering the biggest discount? Find a provider that’s offering maximum incentives including discounts as well as gift vouchers. If an exit fee with your current retailer is holding you back, a generous prepaid gift card could more than make up for it. Another good thing to keep in mind is, providers will offer their best deals when you sign up for both an electricity as well as gas accounts with them.
- What are the charges like? Your energy bill is split into two parts - usage and supply charges. While the first part is based in how much energy you actually use, the latter is a fixed cost which you need to pay for having energy supplied to your business. Take a look at these charges in the light of your usage and payment history, which you already checked on your last bill.
Step 3: Switch online or over the phone
After you’ve found a plan you’re happy with, the actual switching process is quite simple and straightforward. You can do it online by filling a form on your new retailer’s website or by giving them a call to share all the required details.
Still apprehensive about switching? You don’t need to be. Just remember these three things:
- You won’t have to contact your current provider at all - your new retailer will arrange the switch
- The transfer is seamless so your energy supply will not be interrupted and you will most certainly NOT be billed twice
- The switch will happen after you’ve got one last bill from your current provider based on your final meter reading. This could take anything from a week to three months depending on the billing cycle you’re on (fortnightly/ monthly/ quarterly)