Energy providers will be required to allow customers to switch within two business days, as of a new rule kicking in on Friday 1 October.
Previously, it could take up to 90 days for an energy provider to deliver the final meter reading, while even those with smart meters had to wait around 10 days.
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Now, providers must switch new customers over within 48 hours rather than waiting for their next quarterly meter reading, per a new ruling from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).
According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), customers can save up to an average of $126 a year by switching, depending on the state they live in.
Here's a breakdown of potential savings across the country from the ACCC:
Brisbane: up to $126 a year
Canberra: up to $46 a year
Sydney: up to $88 a year
Melbourne: up to $181 a year
Adelaide: up to $118 a year
“Finder’s Consumer Sentiment Tracker shows 13 per cent of Australian households rate energy as one of their biggest money stresses,” energy expert at Finder Mariam Gabaji said.
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“Now, it will be simpler than ever before for customers to pounce on energy offers and discounts in just a matter of hours.”
The new rules mean energy providers will also fight harder for customers’ business, so it’s worth keeping an eye out for better deals, she added.
“With lockdowns increasingly putting more stress on Aussies, it's never been more important to shop around, switch energy providers and get a cheaper rate.”
The change follows an ACCC Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry in 2018 designed to address affordability issues in the sector. It found the AEMO needed to remove friction in the customer switching process.
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