Fun with Utility Marketing

My present provider is Red. Pretty straight forward and never a problem. Discounts are 12% electricity and 10% gas for consumption and supply, direct debit.

I received a quote solicitation from amaysim and figured why not check. 35% electricity and 26% gas for consumption and supply for direct debit. An added sweetener is $250 credit for signing up this month. $125 now and $125 after a year. How could one lose?

I plugged in my actual use data and voila, electricity was $hundreds less p.a… Looking good. But gas was $hundreds more.

Add it all up and within a few dollars Red = amaysim (including the $250 reward sweetener)

But those Big Discounts and the Reward are so enticing! They got me to look if nothing else.


Have you tried going back to Red with the information in the offer from Amaysim?

While they might not match the offer exactly, they may be willing to move on the discounts you already get to retain you as a customer. Just don’t tell them what the total Amaysim package looks like compared to their own.


Red was actually a few dollars cheaper. :wink:

FWIW from past experience they seem to keep databases of competitor offers and can tell one more about it than you could imagine. Maybe they use Cambridge Analytic?


Was the offer based on transferring both electricity and gas?

If not, maybe splitting providers may be cheaper (Red for gas and Amaysim for electricity).


They probably know already what the others offer and the cost/benefit. But as you said they probably won’t take the risk of losing a customer who didn’t understand the real cost. @PhilT obviously is a more canny customer and worked out the prices but Red won’t know that.

1 Like

Nope, most utilities will not play that game. Don’t get both and they do you on gas, if you need gas.


Hi, The best way to get a better discount requires a little homework. Check the main suppliers websites (Energy Australia, AGL, Origin and any other in your area) and the discounts they offer. Compare the discounts and then phone your current supplier to let them know who is offering a better discount and that you are prepared to change suppliers. I got an improved discount using this strategy.


Beware not to buy a discount. What is important is the final cost. As I posted previously for my use a 12% discount is cheaper than a 35% discount because of the base rates and how applied.


I am in the FiftyUp club. They offer rates on energy, insurance and offer some advice. I also use the government site:
Important to look at the ex-GST supply and usage charges as I find the discounts can be misleading.


It does not matter whether one looks at ex or inc GST as the GST becomes a relative constant when comparing plans and computing a billing discount.

If ‘it’ is $100 ex/GST with a 10% discount the bill is $99.
If ‘it’ is $110 w/GST with a 10% discount the bill is also $99.

Whether the discount applies to supply and usage or only usage is a biggie, and many plans have low per unit costs and high supply charges or vice versa, cleverly ending up with similar end-costs for the typical customer while those with atypically low or high consumption might benefit one way or the other.

As for discounts being misleading, well written and most utilities appear to design plans for the most obfuscation possible since they know some people will buy discounts not the real price, and others will struggle to find the real comparable prices and just go with something that looks good.

As I have written the only way to reliably compare plans is to apply the plan details to your own trailing usage over a year or more. When plans have high and low seasons that also has to be done by month or season, not just an annual figure.


I thought as much, BBG. After looking at a couple of offers, I have decided to give up, as it is all too much confuscation!
Thanks for replying to me so quickly!


We switched to Powershop for electricity several years ago. We pay in advance by buying discounted packages and have saved LOTS of money. We were previously paying in arrears and using bill smoothing by paying $172 per month = $2,064 per year. Currently paid up to around about mid June 2018 (depends on our usage) and have paid $960 since 20 June 2017. We also find that our solar feed-in credits are much greater than with the previous supplier and suspect we were being cheated by them. Also, with Powershop you need to be proactive - visit their website when it’s time to buy power and select the best (cheapest) package(s). Don’t just let them bill you for the default deal.

Unfortunately Powershop doesn’t sell gas - yet. We live in hope.

6 April 2018:
The 2018 Green Electricity Guide has just been released, and Powershop Australia are named as Australia’s Greenest Power Company!

1 Like

That implies you use gas. Are you getting done over by your gas supplier? I looked for stand-alone gas plans and in my outer Melbourne area it was not a pleasant experience. I stay with Red for both because when I add both up it is at the lower end as a total.

1 Like

We do use gas and have paid $1,207 over the past 12 months. We have gas hot water, a plumbed in gas BBQ and gas ducted heating so bills go up substantially in the winter. When the last contract expired we investigated switching but didn’t find anything that would have been much cheaper. The reviews on Product gave all suppliers a bad wrap so we decided to stick with the devil we knew.


Another 2 years gone by. I last changed electricity providers 2 years ago (2 years fixed plan) and gas 1 year ago.

On receipt of the ‘good news’ both providers are happy to keep me as a customer for the ‘new higher rates’ I did my Victoria energy compare to see what the markets are doing.

There are some ingeniously convoluted providers where one can prepurchase power, and others with memberships and ‘banking power’ credits, both that seem games so I am not interested in managing either for the few dollars saving per year.

A new difference in Victoria is that offers contingent on both electricity and gas to get the good rates seem fewer than in previous years. Some observations are

a) the accountants and marketeers who price their offers are ingenious. ‘T’ has a good but not the best electricity offer but if combined with a gas offer, the gas offer is one of the absolute lowest. For the point, assume electricity+gas = $2,000 p.a.

b) using the lowest rational (for me) electricity offer would be $80 pa less than ‘T’ but the best gas offer would be $80 more than ‘T’, hence two different suppliers still = $2,000 p.a. using their different charges for every metric.

My decision looks like moving electricity from ‘T’ to ‘L’, and gas from ‘M’ to ‘A’.

I need to cite the Victorian energy compare tool, especially for electricity. It guides downloading historic use from most suppliers or network providers, and once uploaded shows comparisons based on actual trailing use.

It is more clumsy for gas since each bill has to be manually entered with billing dates and daily average, the more bills included the more accurate.

My spreadsheets are also built so I can adjust for more or less use to see how that affects overall costs. Comparing the tool to my spreadsheet estimates, electricity is within $1 and gas a close ballpark. They have done a good job. Over the past years Victoria has also done a few things to normalise comparisons such as requiring increases to be coordinated so they cannot play games timing unfavourable increases against each other, yet the suppliers continue to introduce zigs and zags to obfuscate their offers.

1 Like