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Electricity bill relief for cash strapped Aussies on this date as retailers told to pass on cheap prices

Customers should expect to see their electricity bill fall soon as wholesale prices have 'been under control for over a year now'

Wholesale electricity prices plummeted last year, but many Aussies struggling with the cost-of-living crisis wouldn’t have seen this reflected in their bills.

The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has released a report into the state of wholesale electricity and it reveals that prices dropped by between 44 and 64 per cent in 2023. The AER’s investigation found milder weather, an increase in renewable power and lower fuel prices were responsible for the fall.

Electricity and gas prices across the country were “well below” the record prices seen in 2022 and there are now calls for retailers to pass this onto consumers.

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Consumer money-saving expert Joel Gibson told Yahoo Finance there was now no reason for energy companies to keep prices so high.

“We really should be seeing some cheaper prices already,” he said. “The peak in wholesale prices was mid-2022 and the government capped wholesale gas prices in late 2022, so they've been under control for over a year now.

“I expect we'll see cheaper government reference prices in July and most retailers will respond by introducing some cheaper discounted plans. But there will be the occasional retailer that sticks its neck out in the months before July, releasing cheaper deals to try and win customers.

“When we see those, we should jump on them.”

However, Gibson also warned customers not to be complacent with this news and to be on the lookout for a better deal, either with your current provider or with a competitor.

Energy power lines in an open field
Electricity bills should get cheaper this year as retailers react to wholesale price changes. (Source: Getty Images) (Getty Images)

“The reality is, retailers probably won't proactively contact you to reduce your rates,” he told Yahoo Finance. “Most likely, they'll release some new plans with lower rates sometime this year and only those who switch will save.”

While the wholesale prices fell in places like New South Wales and Victoria, they increased in Queensland due to hot weather conditions that saw many residents using air conditioning units. But, the AER said these increases were still “significantly” lower than what locals experienced in 2022.

Aussies can save hundreds of dollars if they choose retailers who provide wholesale prices. Geisa Schreiner’s contract with Amber Electric saw the Queensland mum’s quarterly bill drop from around $300 to just $100.

However, Canstar noted some of these retailers charge a membership fee to gain access to wholesale prices, so it’s worth keeping that in mind when comparing deals.

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) assessed data from 5 million people across the country last year and discovered 79 per cent were in electricity contracts that were higher than what was available in the market. The commission revealed brand loyalty was one of the reasons stopping Aussies from finding a better deal.

ACCC commissioner Anna Brakey echoed Gibson’s comments and said at the time that people should regularly shop around to ensure they were getting the best deal possible.

“Electricity retailers offer cheaper plans to attract new customers but, over time, we observe these plans becoming relatively more expensive, so many loyal customers will be paying more than they need to be,” Brakey said.

“Prices for new customers tend to be competitive, but we are concerned that the market is not delivering for customers who do not regularly switch or engage with their existing retailer.”

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Yahoo Australia