Aussies could be missing out on up to $700 worth of savings by not taking five minutes to switch their energy plan, new research has found.
Despite wholesale energy costs rising, August is the best time to look for a new deal as retailers typically bring their lowest prices into market at this time of year, according to personal finance marketplace Compare Club.
Both the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) and Victorian Essential Services Commission announced that, from July 1, they would pass on the rising cost of electricity by lifting their default reference prices in NSW, South-East Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.
In NSW, prices went up between 8.5 and14.1 per cent, That’s between $119 and $227 more than last year.
South-East Queensland saw an 11.3 per cent rise, or more than $165 more than last year.
South Australia had a 7.2 per cent bump, which is $124 more than the year before.
Victoria’s increases varied depending on the provider, but the change would see an increase in cost of $58-$138 over the year.
Compare Club CEO Andrew Davis said now was the best time to bag a better deal, with plenty of energy providers releasing competitive introductory prices for customers who switched.
“We urge customers to take a look at their energy plans because if someone has been with their provider for well over a year, it’s highly likely they won’t be getting the best deal and that their costs will have increased on July 1,” Davis said.
“Energy retailers rely on a mixture of confusion and apathy to keep customers, so it’s important not to fall into that trap as it could cost Australian households hundreds of dollars.”
Davis said there were still good deals, especially if you switched, because retailers were still on the hunt for new customers.
“They'll have to bite the bullet and introduce promotions at some point,” he said.
Should I fix my energy bill?
While some people might consider fixing their energy rates costs - in the same way they might do with their mortgages - Davis said he wouldn’t recommend that.
“However, it does mean the household can predict their bills for a period of time, so if you like to have some certainty with your finances and you can afford it, it can make sense,” he said.
“Many energy suppliers use cheap introductory offers and/or offer bundle deals with internet included.
“These are typically variable rates and can help you save a lot. However, rates can and will go up, so make sure you're not locked into a long-term internet plan that prevents you from switching when energy rates go up.”