Reliable Energy Retailer - How to evaluate

I use electricity, and have solar panels.
This means the energymadeeasy gov website is useless because it doesn’t compare solar offerings.

So I use
which is great except most of the 10 ten best (cheapest?) retailers for me - I have never heard of them. I don’t know what their compliant per customer percentage is or how to find out.

I have had some really bad experiences with one company and have heard horror stories from friends about massive overcharging - and the only way I fixed it was spending about 6 months working with the Energy ombudsman to fix it. The same company that over charged also had the hide to give my details to a debt collector for a debt I did not owe.

So which companies routinely have bad customer service and which are great? How do I find out?
For instance the top ten plans suggested by are
CovaU (coal only)
1st Energy (Choice rates worst ever)
Dodo (will not go near them based on my experience of them with internet).
Energy Locals (good green cred)
Sumo (not great)
Discover Energy (no idea - choice has not reviewed)
AGL Solar Savers (also had poor experience with AGL). And so has Choice (

the others - I’ve got no idea if they are any good. The only ranking I have for them is “Cheaper”.

Choice has reviewed some of them.
But does not take into account your energy use, or whether you have solar etc, so I guess if there is an overlap between the “cheapest” on Wattever and Choice reviews that might be helpful.

I can’t find any review of “Discover Energy”

There’s a list of articles reviewing different Energy retailers here
click on “33 more articles” to see them.

I found the articles by putting each energy company name into the search Choice field but I cannot find a single page that ranks them all.

Also given Sumo came up for 5000 post code - I would think they do sell in South Australia but Choice article says they don’t.

So based on that click fest - looks like best for me right now is “Energy Locals”.

Why can’t this process be easier and clearer.


Hi @Janet_in_Adelaide, welcome back as we haven’t seen you for a little while.

If you are after an easier and clearer process, have you considered using Choice’s Bill Hero service:

They take the pain out trying to decipher different retailers and different plans, and provide you with information on what retailer can offer the best energy plan which meets your needs.

Here’s how Bill Hero works

  • Choose between electricity or gas - $49 annual subscription / Electricity and Gas - $79 annual subscription
  • There’s a $100 savings guarantee for either electricity or gas / $150 for both combined
  • Upload your bill and automatically compare the whole market
  • They offer $350 average savings for subscribers
  • They’ll switch you again every time they find more savings

I looked at it. I don’t really understand how they evaluate against available plans. lets me go through the details. Energymadeeasy does too but produces completely different results. Which is fair given they don’t include solar in their calls which makes their stuff not very useful.

So by the look of it Hero you spend $80 (for gas and electricity) and potentially save $150 or net save $70 ish. But when I did the review - savings were potentially closer to $300 depending which company.

And if they are choosing purely based on “cheapest” what happens if they put me with one that is ruining the climate or one that has bad customer service?

Do I have to pay to find out what they would offer me? Doesn’t seem very transparent.

Have had problems with other choice affiliated offerings - the best buy ones where you say what price you found it for and they offer you a better price, but it’s not even close to the best price or the most convenient in terms of customer service and location. It’s hard for me to trust that.


Yes, it is a subscription based service. Unlike other comparison websites, they don’t get commissions or kickbacks from retailers. The $49/$79 is to cover the service provided to users. It is worth reading the information on the BillHero website:

and watching the video on how it works. The process is very transparent, unlike other online comparison websites where one can’t be fully sure (possibly with exception of those run by State or Commonwealth governments) of whether a plan is best for the consumer or best for those running the comparison website. They also provide a minimum $100 saving guarantee, which more than covers the subscription when they find a cheaper plan.

They also state ’ Your subscription payment is subject to the Bill Hero Savings Guarantee. If we cannot find annualised savings greater than the Savings Guarantee amount on your first uploaded bill, you can cancel for a full refund’.

So if they can’t save you money (greater than the $100 guarantee), you can’t lose. If they do, then as a minimum, with payment of the subscription ($49 for one utility, $79 for two), you are guaranteed to save greater than $51 (for one utility) and greater than $21 (for two utilities).

The advantage of BillHero is ’ analysing every bill you receive, comparing them against all publicly available electricity and/or gas plans, and switching you again whenever you can save’. This saves the effort of having to regularly check to see if one is on the best plan every time one retailer changes their plans.

Any organisation can be good at customer service today, and poor tomorrow. Sometimes it can depend on the person within the business one is dealing with. As every person is different, there is potential that experiences of two different individuals with a business are quite different.

Business like individuals aren’t perfect and make mistakes. A measure of a good business is how they respond to the mistake to make things good. Responses, like customer service, can vary within and between businesses…and can be affected by how one approaches businesses when there is a problem. Being emotional, proportioning blame, demanding something unrealistic etc will likely result in a different customer experience to one that is patient, level headed/rational and objective.

The electrons which come of the main grid can’t be discriminated against…or, they don’t have a label attached to them that says how they are generated. Choice (@BrendanMays) may be able to provide information whether one can select say 100% green power plan in setting up comparisons.

I would rather trust a non-profit organisation like BillHero that is clear about its costs (that the consumer pays an annual subscription for the service) rather than a comparison website where its source of funding is often hidden in fine print or poorly disclosed (and will be from retailer commissions and kickbacks which may bias results which best suit the revenue of the comparison website).

The only exception where one can possible save similar amounts is if one does it oneself using the links on the Choice webpage in my first post (government run comparison sites)…however…this needs to be done regularly, as soon as any retailer changes a plan (including tariffs) to ensure one is still getting the best deal. This might be easy for some, but for others, a challenging and laborious process.


It does. Note the following.
Select the ‘I have a paper bill option’ select solar and input 12 months of actual or best estimated feed in and consumption.

I’ve select some typical values based on our own data and used an Adelaide post code 5005. For the next step once the site returns a list of plans, it’s possible to filter on solar.

Here’s a result for Origin. Not the lowest result returned. Just one retailer that many Aussies will be familiar with, good or bad. Don’t forget the cost returned is for 12 months supply if you select dates a year apart.

It’s worth cold calling your short listed potential suppliers. They may have an even better deal as a promotion to get your business.


As mark_m mentions, EME does allow you to input your solar export and your usage, and the results are mostly the same as wattever (except for TOU plans…). I agree that wattever is much better for comparisons.

The main problem I’ve had with EME is that I’ve found plans that they say are the best, but then I go to that retailer and they don’t exist.

It also doesn’t do a good job of sorting by the best (cheapest) plan. As an example I put in my usage and export and in the top 30 plans the best deal was -360/y. When I click to search promotional plans, the best deal is now -340/y (same plan is -240/y on wattever)

The other issue is that it not clear how it estimate time of use (TOU). I thought they would just assume equal usage at all times of day, but they don’t. It seems they assume a lot more usage/hour during offpeak and shoulder times than at peak times.

I used it to find a few likely looking plans, and then used my actual hourly consumption data (from my solar system’s smart meter) to recalculate the TOU tarrifs. Since my solar system is exporting during most of the cheapest period (shoulder), TOU plans are probably not for me.


I was a PowerShop 100% sustainable energy fan.
Now it’s been bought out by Shell!
I want a sustainable source of energy and good feed in tariff.
Do not have a bill as I purchased expected energy needs in advance.
How can I find an ethical company, green energy and good feed in tariff?


You are not the first to mention this as a problem. Do you expect (or do you know) that the way Powershop works will change under new management? If so how do you know this?

If that is not the case why does the change matter?

It looks to me that there are a few ways to look at this.

  1. Powershop will (already has) change and not be as green.
  2. It’s the optics, I don’t like the idea of them connected to an oil company.
  3. I don’t want the profits going back to an industry that I disapprove of, that ought to be wound down.

If you are going for option (1) did you check that they actually delivered on their promises of being green before you signed up? If you didn’t look then it seems you are actually with option (2).

If you are going for option (3) but never checked where the profits went before the sale then it looks like you are another option (2) person.


Reading the prior posts there are others considering the same ethical questions and some suggestions.

The same ethical questions are not unique to household electricity supply. The ‘green energy’ retailers rely on offsets (purchased credits) to fill gaps when renewables are not available to meet total customer demand. It’s a compromise.

Similar ethical questions to that of Shell, BP etc investing in low carbon businesses/opportunities can be asked of EV manufacturers who continue to manufacture petrol and diesel motor vehicles. Why purchase any type of EV from Toyota, Hyundai, Ford etc when they are still invested in the old technology?

Given we have the technology needed, one significant impediment to reducing GHG emissions has been a lack of adequate funding/investment. Any new or added investment can only accelerate the rate of change.

Many of us are unhappy about investments such as those made by Shell in PowerShop. It will be interesting to see where the profits of that sale wind up and whether they are used to a climate friendly outcome. Hopefully it is used wisely.

A greater ethical concern for our future generation needs?
The major components of Australia’s new renewable energy transition are mostly produced in China. Is it ethical to support the economy that is one of the two largest global emitters of green house gases? The recent events where production has been cut back due to a shortage in purchases/supply of fossil fuels in China highlights how dependant we are on fossil fuels to provide the technology needed to eliminate it. The other largest emitter is also a significant supplier of products to Australia. We seem ready to do business with them regardless?


Capitalism is about profits and wealth, full stop. Being a business is there a single reason profits would not be used to fund dividends and executive bonuses as job 1?

On balance the multinationals that are flushed with cash could go on binges to buy more ethical green companies to expand their portfolios and thus survive into the future when all fossil fuels become as ‘popular’ as coal is today. There remain a few such as ExxonMobile whose boards are ‘fat and happy’ with the status quo and resistant to moving on citing their histories of strong dividends being their end-all, as well as the Shells of the industry that are trying to evolve within the economic system that enabled them to become what they are.

Another cynical observation is that most businesses run on percentages to quantify P/L over time, and percentages are used to declare bonuses and dividends. If customers pay a premium for green energy that additive amount could include a bigger margin that also funds more dividends and larger bonuses, Was that part of the expected outcome many consumers have?

A counterpoint, if ‘we’ do not do business with the devil where is the shop we patronise? Not many options as I see it. Startups are very costly and most have to partner with one or another ‘devil’ to bootstrap. There are not so many visionaries with the capital to roll their own.


How would an annual subscription with Bill Hero work when over a year I pay $zero to the retailer and get a reasonable amount back due to my solar exports?

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For grid connected, it would be on your imports and exports. If they can get a better deal on one or the other, or both, there is still opportunity to benefit. If they achieve a better offer, it would mean your amount in credit each bill will increase. I wouldn’t be thinking that since you don’t have a bill to pay that you are necessarily on the best retail electricity offer.


Anyone else having issues with Billhero. I signed up after seeing them promoted by Choice. They don’t answer emails or messages and no contact phone on their site. I paid for a subscription but am worried they’ve gone missing. Looking at comments on their FACEBOOK page, it seems a common problem


Welcome to the Community @Amsadl

Since Choice promoted Billhero I am tapping @AndyKollmorgen and @BrendanMays to see if they have any information.


Hi @Amsadl,

Sorry to hear you are having some trouble contacting them. If you send me a DM with your details, including phone number, I can follow it up for you


I’m starting to wonder if I have done the right thing after being “encouraged” by Choice to sign up. I did so on 10/1/22 but have not heard a thing from them. I sent a follow up email a week ago but still nothing. It appears that there is no phone number to make contact either. If Choice wasn’t involved I would be thinking I’d been scammed good and proper. Can anyone throw some light on this for me please?


Hi @drcool,

I merged your post into this existing one because you seem to be not the only person having worries about Bill Hero and @BrendanMays is on the job. If these experiences are endemic Choice might need to ‘encourage’ Bill Hero to get their act together or reconsider their reference.

I also crosslinked @Amsadl and your comments on


Thank you PhilT, I will watch with interest.


Similar experience to me. Paid them and heard nothing for 10 days or so. No response to emails and website messages. After complaining to choice and on their FB page I eventually got an email saying that they could find $0 savings for me!


I was thinking that would be the case as I believe I have a pretty good deal already. Did you get your money back?