We’ve made the decision to close our Transformer energy switching service after 30 June, 2019.
Transformer was a brave new energy switching service that made a big impact in a short period of time.
Our aim was ambitious: to level the playing field for consumers in an unfair energy market. We believe Transformer helped start that change. But as a self-funded non profit, we also felt we couldn’t invest the money required to operate the service at scale.
When Transformer launched, the existing energy system made it hard to know if you were on a good deal, or paying too much for electricity. What we came up with was a unique compare-and-switch service that put customers first, not profits.
Over 2,500 people signed up in our first seven months of operation. We’re proud we saved them over $1.8 million on annual electricity bills.
With the support of our customers we made a mark on Australia’s retail energy sector. Our service sparked major regulatory changes, and inspired a range of new energy comparison startups.
1. I’m a Transformer subscriber, what happens now?
We’ll continue to check your electricity bills until your subscription ends, or until 30 June 2019 - whichever happens sooner. If we find more savings we’ll switch you to a new retailer. If your subscription extends past that date, we’ll be in touch soon with information about refund options for the rest of the subscription.
2. Can I still subscribe to Transformer?
We’re no longer taking new customers, but there are other services you can try if you need advice on energy savings. If you’re in NSW, try EnergySwitch, a free government bill analysis and comparison service. Other government sites list the best deals, but they don’t compare your bill against other deals on the market. Those sites are EnergyMadeEasy and VictorianEnergyCompare (for Victorians). BeatYourBill is a new service set up by energy economist Bruce Mountain whose software finds the best offers in the market by analysing your bill. Bill checking is free but there is a $30 annual fee if offers are found with savings of over $100.
3. Why was it hard for you to switch some customers?
Energy retailers have varied, often cumbersome, processes for taking on new customers. Some retailers with the most competitive offers didn’t have efficient online systems. This meant switching customers took us a lot of time, and it was hard to effectively automate the process.
Energy regulations also slowed us down. Retailers often needed to contact our customers by phone or email to get their consent to switch. This slowed us down and was understandably frustrating for our customers.
On the up side: major changes are on the way, prompted by the ACCC’s Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry (where Transformer was used as a case study).