CHOICE membership

Discounts on Gas and Electricity: Customer Beware


#1

Which is better??? I’ve been with just about every supplier in the years I’ve been in Australia. These outfits don’t make it simple, including our Government. They always win in the long run. Now, a few Organizations are pushing for more simplified contracts so Consumers know what they’re getting; a step in the right direction. It all comes down to zero discounts and cheaper rates or what you prefer.


#2

With gas and electricity, there are multiple charges which make the final bill paid by the consumer difficuit to calculate/compare.

The discounts only usually relate to the usage (namely the amount of gas used or electricity used).

Usually the usage charges only make up a proportion of the average bill. the actual percentage is dependent on the amount used. The more used, usually the marginally higher the proportion of the bill these charges are.

What electricity and gas retailers do it offer discounts on the electricity and gas usage, but charge more say for the other charges (such as supply charges or metering costs). One might think they get a cheaper bill with the discount on usage, but this may not be the case where the discounted usage is countered by higher supply (or other) charges.

There has been some recent media on this as well as some statements from the ACCC:

This does make comparing offers from within one provider and across providers very difficult as a discounted usage may appear to the beneficial, until all charges are considered and calculated based on usage.

Choice has some information on this issue:

And most state governments also have electricity comparison websites which can calculate your bill based on the packages within and across retailers available in your area. It is worth using the State Government or the Commonwealth Government one as well. The Commonwealth Government one is here:

http://www.energywatch.com.au/


#3

Much thanks for the links. have shared them with my pensioner friends.
The new deal is on Electricity. Sign a year contract, get one year Internet FREE


#4

Hi PHB, privatisation of utilities followed the apparent triumph of the fall of the Berlin Wall and socialist dogma. The mantra was that the private sector could do it better, more efficiently, and the consumer would benefit through lower prices. I submit that this mantra was something close to criminal misrepresentation. It mirrors the trickle down theory or mantra. I suggest that Keynesian and Monetarist dogmas apply in cycles. The simplest cycle for economic novices to lever out from is the supply/demand sine wave of results. Zealots stick to dogmas throughout any changes in economic fortunes. Clearly that is nonsense. Capitalism is a better model than totalitarian or centrally controlled models. However, it is capable of abuse by extreme elements. These are usually dishonest through to criminal and always make a super-profit. Regulation, meaning controls, by Governments and consumers are required to ameliorate the worst elements of capitalism. I refer to this as capitalism with a conscience. The history of electricity providers using a contractual and legislative ‘loophole’ to bolster profits (= super-profit) by building unnecessary power poles is well documented. Business is competitive by nature. CEOs an corporate boards get ‘incentives’ to push legal boundaries and/or be dishonest - and surprise-surprise they are in large part. The blow back from Agent Orange (aka Trumpism) is, or may be, a return to Regulations and a more compassionate society. Perhaps, a return to Government ownership of essential services, such as utilities, will further a better society. At the very least IMHO a Government competitor such as The Commonwealth Bank and Medibank, before privatisation, are useful tools to ameliorate the excesses of corporate greed. Zealots of the Chicago school can pay a premium and stay with companies and CEOs that overcharge their customers. BTW, any good idea has downsides. The push to laisse faire economics resulted in retirement policies moving to the individual. We the people now have our retirement security aligned with the bonuses of dishonest CEOs. Who pays and benefits is also a sine wave. Overall, our children will be forced to pay for our excesses. Maybe we can educate our children to read 20-100 pages of the T&Cs of any contract. Or perhaps regulations can require that an executive summary of essential terms be provided at page one, and all the deceptive or misleading or confusing sections listed afterwards. Cheers Geoff


#5

Has the government just removed my pensioner subsidy? It stands to reason that elec companies need a certain amount of money to run the industry and to please shareholdets. Bearing this in mind, we will never get a good deal . The less we use, the more they will charge in order to fulfill their needs. I have changed companies so many times my head spins but on the end it all seems pretty much the same. Of course. It will never get cheaper.


#6

As far as I know all State Govts give pensioner subsidies to holders of pension cards. If an Electricity company is not giving you that subsidy then you should contact them and ensure they have the correct details in their system. I had to do this for my father in law and they had to re-calculate an entire year of bills which led to quite a decent credit on his account.

I would also suggest trying Choice’s Transformer service to see if it can’t help with getting you a better power deal. The page about it is:

https://canisaveonenergy.com.au/


#7

Government is REMOVING the pensioner supplement! They think that since we aren’t paying a carbon tax any more that we don’t need it.


#8

We also need to bear in mind that state governments eg Queensland use utilities like electricity providers to boost their funds. Millions of dollars are paid by them to the state government every year…millions that might otherwise have led to reduced customer costs!


#9

Do you mean the Federal Govt Energy Supplement? If so I am not sure if any changes in that regard will pass. Legislation has been on the books since about May 2017 to do that but it has not passed Parliament and this 2018 budget is still not through both houses.


#10

I hope I’m in the right spot to post this.
Back in August I changed from Amaysim to another electricity retailer. I’d been enjoying a prompt payment discount as part of the Amaysim deal, and the last routine account from them showed a so-called Online Reward of $14.61 “to be credited to your next bill when you pay on time.”
What I didn’t notice was that the following day they had sent me a second bill, designated a Final Bill, which was identical in all respects except that the $14.61 discount had been replaced with a discount of zero dollars.
This didn’t seem right because I’ve always paid on time, so I phoned them today to try and claim the discount. Initially I was told I was out of luck, and that I should either have short-paid the bill at the time or, if I happened to have another electricity account with the company, they’d be willing to issue the credit to that account. To me that seems like a tacit acknowledgement that I’m entitled to receive a discount.
Finally, after a lot of toing and froing, and with me threatening to go to the energy ombudsman, they agreed to credit me.
I’m sure Amaysim aren’t the only ones to try this trick. If an energy retailer offers a pay on time discount, shouldn’t the customer be entitled to it even if they are transferring to another supplier? In my case, the amountof money is small, but surely there’s a principle here.


Electricity Price Increases
#11

It is great you got your credit, but as a general statement the electricity retailers have all sorts of hidden gems to get a dollar. Some of them include discounts on use but not on service, and some do not give any credit for the final bill. The latter is a cynical tactic to keep customers since the longer they stay with the retailer the less the loss of any final credit vs the years of ‘savings’.

It is all in the T&C and knowing them is the secret to getting what one is entitled to, or giving them a bye, and finding out one has not read as diligently as they should have.


#12

Thanks, TheBBG.
I’m sure you’re correct, that somewhere in the fine print it says a departing customer isn’t entitled to the discount. However, that doesn’t make it right, which is why I chose to challenge them on it.
The discount is supposedly for paying ones bill on time, and I had fulfilled my side of that bargain. I had a piece of paper from them which said I’d be receiving the discount, albeit on my next (non-existent) bill, so as far as I’m concerned I was entitled to it.
I get it that a retailer would like to lock its customers in by denying them the discount if they leave, but they shouldn’t be allowed to exact a financial punishment on them either. It’s not as though I’d broken a contract by leaving before the end of the contract periiod.


#13

The Federal Government has requested the AEMO to ban the practice of grubby energy providors ripping off consumers with grossly inflated late payment fees and other sneaky charges.

A $1,000 late fee for just one late payment? Whoever said that crime does not pay?,

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#14

from the quoted Guardian article:

Seems the ACCC has done more than ‘urge’ :wink:

The Federal Court has ordered penalties of $900,000 against Amaysim Energy Pty Ltd (trading as Click Energy) for making false or misleading marketing claims about potential discounts and savings available to Victorian and Queensland consumers, in breach of the Australian Consumer Law.

Between October 2017 and March 2018, Click Energy told consumers in Victoria and South East Queensland they could get discounts of between 7 and 29 per cent under its market energy offers, if they paid their bills on time.

These claims were misleading because the discounts were calculated on Click Energy’s market offer rates, which were higher than Click Energy’s standing offer rates available to all consumers. This meant that the effective discounts were smaller than claimed and, in some cases, consumers effectively received no discount at all.

“Click Energy’s conduct misled consumers into thinking they were getting a significant discount, when in reality these discounts were often much smaller than advertised,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.

Between October 2017 and April 2018, Click Energy also told consumers they would save between $84 and $946 if they switched to Click Energy. These claims were misleading as those savings were based on estimated savings for a Click Energy consumer on a market offer if they paid their bill on time, rather than savings a consumer would receive by switching from another provider.

“By making these false claims, Click Energy made consumers think they were better off switching to Click Energy, when the advertised savings had nothing to do with switching, but were savings someone already on a Click Energy plan could get if they paid on time,” Ms Court said.

Fun times in their finance and marketing departments I’d think :rofl:


#15

Ethics seems to be a sometimes lost subject when marketing and dollars in pockets are concerned.


#16

I’m with Energy Australia, and have been for years. Its not that I am loyal to them, I’m just generally lazy. However, last year I did grab my bill and do a rates comparison between EA and a couple of others (Red being one that interested because its Australian owned) and found that I am already on the best rate I can be. Off peak and peak and shoulder mean nothing to someone who is home most days all the time, and so electric usage is all over the place. IN the meantime, my pension means I get a government rebate, and now from January this year, I also get a 15% discount as long as I stay on the basic plan. Overall, I have still managed to reduce my annual bills even in the face of increasing prices. The current bill hasnt arrived yet and it will be a whopper due to the summer’s heat and my increased use of my grossly inefficient window rattler a/c. But its OK, I have prepared for that.

Discounting is confusing. I just look at the base rate and if thats greater than what I currently pay, I lose interest.


#17

Well it depends on the type of ethics, and it could be perhaps said they do have ethics but they are just bad ones. Their moral philosophy may be skewed towards wrong rather than right/good for the community.


#18

The dark side of the force?

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#19

Aye @Fred123 in this case the electricity force/s :slight_smile:


#20

I feel the suppliers overall are just the same anyway in the long term.Changing suppliers is it really worth the effort?