Energy Locals

Following on from a recent assessment by Choice of electricity retailers, I would like to share my experience.
After reading the Choice review I decided to switch to Energy Locals for my electricity retailer. Two months in, I received a letter telling me that my rates were increasing - off peak by > 10%, peak by about 25%. The increases were on the basis of a 4% increase in the Victorian base rate. I emailed asking for confirmation of the large increases in the context of the moderate increase in the reference that they were using, but received no acknowledgement or response. The cynic in me says it’s a deliberate ploy to slip the increased rates in shortly after signing up, as they are more likely to be overlooked as part of other “introductory documents”. If you decide to sign up with them, keep your eye on them.

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Reviews for Energy Locals on Product Review.

Plenty of unhappy users including some with experiences similar to your own.

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Victoria energy retailers can only change their rates once per annum.

https://www.esc.vic.gov.au/electricity-and-gas/information-consumers/energy-contract-rules-ensure-fair-deal

Anecdotally they seem to allow a change on say 1 Dec 2020 (very low to get you in) and another on 5 January 2021 (high to max profits) rather than annually on a date, if that makes the point how they might be able to game it. (I might stand corrected on how that works.)

I found Energy Locals web site to be heavy in marketing yet opaque in T&C where you need to contact them for certain routine documents. Energy Locals T&C I did find states they will not change rates more often than than once in 6 months.

This is to me the gold standard for selecting energy companies, yet it is not foolproof because of the above. Some plans are a contracted time and some are documented they can change the rates anytime they want as long as it is only once per year.

Consider what an energy retailer is, eg a billing company not a supplier. Since a customer can move almost at will with no consequence ‘walking’ is easy.

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Thanks for your comments and observations Phil.
Your final point about them just being retailers and easy to walk away from is a pertinent one. But one can only presume that the customer historical tradition with electricity contracts, to largely forget about them following setup, is still engrained enough in the general consumer population, that it still makes sense for the retailers to continue to base their business model around it. ie., there are still enough customers who just pay the bill and find “walking” a bridge too far.

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Interesting. Respect and loyalty afforded to energy customers is essentially non-existent these days, so it should be no surprise that customers are switching more often given the ease with which they can do it. I guess from the retailers’ perspective, the total customer pool doesn’t change much in size - their only interest is in their share of the pool
the customers in their share can change all they like for all they care.

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