Transparency of Energy Provider Prices

Doing a review of energy prices at the moment and have found today 18/07 that AGL and Origin are still not able to provide their new prices that will be effective from 01/08. How can customers make a decision to move providers when they are not transparent with prices given that by the time of the next bill those new prices will be in effect.

Comparison sites for energy providers is not the same as insurance which is for 12mths fixed when paid or health premiums which all change their rates on 1 April. The answer you get today for the cheapest energy provider is not accurate as the rates can change multiple times a year and the rate that you see at that moment could be different again after you get your first bill. The other problem is that you are stuck with those rates until the next billing cycle unless you want to pay for special readings to move to a new energy provider.

Information that customers need to know at a minimum is the date the prices were last changed. This will then trigger a conversation especially now when we know the energy regulator reviewed the default market offer prices as of 1 July and that there would be increases coming into effect and if the rates were older than 1 July you can question any future increases in the near future.

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You made many valid points. Unfortunately each state is different - a surprise?

In Victoria the dates vis a vis retailers ‘coming clean’ suggest there is more than a bit of competitive gamesmanship in play.

but importantly the retailers can only raise their rate once per year. Note also the notifications required for current customers when their rate changes.

Note also the ‘default’ is the maximum they can charge, not the minimum.

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Hi PhilT - I confirmed with the energy and water ombudsman and they can change as many times as they want.

So at this point AGL & Origin have confirmed that the prices will be changing on 1 Aug - they just cannot tell me what it will be.

Simply Energy’s response is on asking if their rates have changed since the electricity energy price review (1/7/22):

“The rates of the plan of the month may change, depending if there is a price change or inflation happened.”

“It may not and it may still change still , depending on the inflation.”

It was last July 1st 2022, but then it may still change, still depending on the inflation.

It may still change though.

It is beyond the government’s inflation and price changes.

Seems like a simple question but cannot get answers from 3 providers so far. There is absolutely no transparency so there how can you compare energy plans.

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just saw your link on times can be changed per year - specifically Simply Energy confirmed rate changed 1 July 2022 but can still change again

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It seems there could be a slight of hand where existing fixed rate plans are treated one way, existing variable rate plans another, existing customers one way, and new customers another :roll_eyes:

Since one can change at will for the most part the worst downside is having to deal with their games, and that the change can only happen concurrently with a meter reading - often once per month but still sometimes quarterly, so there is some level of entrapment from filing the change to getting it.

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AGL for the Energex distribution region had advised price increases and the new rates. We received notice at the start of July.

I was looking at the AER Energy Made Easy web site in June and July, knowing there were increases coming. Agree it was difficult to determine whether the tariffs being quoted were the old or future. For certain the rates listed under the same plan name as our existing agreement were not to be found.

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On finally speaking with a person at Simply Energy they confirmed that if I joined now that I could be subject to further increases in August or October and quite possible so.

So is this a ploy with energy providers that they can increase their price once you are with a provider or does it mean that overall they increase their price only once on their website.

This then means you are looking at comparing energy prices more than once a year and it is such a lengthy process to do it accurately. Using their subjective numbers is not correct as each individual household is so different. Which is why many people do not review and stay with the same providers.

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For clarity are you in Vic or another state? They are all different. The Victoria government comparison site is accurate to within about 5 days although not perfect all the time.

It retrieves or tells you how to retrieve your actual electricity use which I do not find ‘lengthy’ and my routine checks are usually a few minutes including a sanity check against my own trailing spreadsheets as well as a verification the top offer I want to go with is current and available.

Some of the differences between states is discussed in this other topic, especially the last handful of posts.

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Yes I am in Victoria.

Overall accuracy might be for electricity but gas is way off unless you put each months bill in (& even then I don’t think it allows you to put in 12 invoices). I also check the rates independently as I have found in the past that the offers were not always correct. Not sure if this has since been fixed

And again, relying on that calculation might be fine but unless you call the providers you don’t know if there are imminent price rises as I found with AGL, Origin & Simply Energy where in a couple of weeks you are going to be facing rises compared to others that have already adjusted their prices. So comparing apples and oranges.

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Thanks for the clarification and heads up! It appears the government ‘regulators’ and reality might operate in independent universes.

While it gets back to doing one’s own ‘hard yards’ I keep both electricity and gas in a spreadsheet using the past 12 months trailing usage. I put in a few gas invoices to the comparator and then plug in the ‘best’ number(s) to my spreadsheet. Inexplicably the ordering of the ‘lowest cost plans’ seems to be consistent with my spreadsheet results. It is more tedious than the electricity.

I actually brought that to the attention of the Victorian compare management last year via email and they followed up ringing me for a chat! Did anything change? Not that I can tell, and confirmed by your own experiences - yet they listened. It could be limits to their scope/legislation?

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Thanks for your input

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I have an ongoing conversation with Dodo Re new pricing. Unclear to say the least and the delay before I could get a reply (and I was given 2days to respond! Dodo took five times that+) meant their incomprehensible ‘offer’ was NO LONGER available. My request for a plain English explanation was ignored, except for a painfully unnecessary explanation of measures, not pricing, not increase cost rate, etc!!
I now wonder how deliberate this nonsense is.

I have come to understand that Victoria, and soon other states if not already, ignoring controlled load plans, now have plans that offer flat rates, or peak and off peak and sometimes shoulder rates for power imported from the grid, but now also have peak, off peak, and shoulder FiTs!

Some retailers offer higher FiTs with higher rates for what the consumer imports.

A spreadsheet to track it requires 5 or 6 columns of pricing to accompany 5 or 6 columns of usage. Historical data regarding peak, off peak and shoulder solar export exists, but the consumer must recognise it and adapt. My previous years electricity bills had 2 rows for solar that I did not understand since they were added and one FiT applied. They were apparently peak and shoulder. Off peak is essentially night time so exports will be zero. Now each row will have a price attribution and a year on filling out the spreadsheet will be easier than extracting it from a grid supplied csv file.

It is a braver newer world on many days. Another tool for retailers to play their games, and a tool to ‘encourage’ energy consumers to change their behaviour (use patterns and amount). Helping consumers get their best deal? The complexity of analysis grows.

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Hi Annieeeee,

On 13 July 2022 I received an email from AGL detailing how the electricity rates are changing.

The email included a comparison of my electricity prices with the Reference Price set by the Australian Energy Regulator, that it included an estimated annual cost of my consumption.

I’m in NSW and in my case the changes are:

I don’t know if these changes are uniform or if they change across the State.

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Another aspect, Vic centric, and it is transparent so it must be OK. It is getting so every organisation is jumping on the bandwagon to sell everything. RACV recently added an [electricity] plan. They are open it is ‘delivered’ by Arcline. Arcline has a monthly membership fee to sell ‘wholesale’ to homeowners. It has a membership fee. Does it seem ‘wholesale’ [whatever wholesale can mean in practice]?
image

but wait. There is a relationship with EnergyLocals.

*The new product, called Arcline by RACV … offering Energy Locals’ trademark combination of fixed wholesale retail rates and a “transparent” fixed monthly fee, as well as carbon offsets for all usage and the option to source green power. *

Buying direct? Same ‘great deal’ with a smaller membership fee.
image

The RACV give an RACV resorts voucher in return for the higher membership fee and there is EnergyLocals carbon offsets or green energy in the mix, not just electricity generated however.

There are about 15 retailers in Vic each with multiple offers. Have solar and get a FiT - and pay higher kWh rates for the privilege, or higher daily supply charges and lower rates, or lower daily supply and higher rates, or … , …

Government has essentially created a casino environment where the dealer wins most of the time. The vast majority of my ‘offers’ fall within a ~$100 range. The outliers have records of being untrustworthy (raising prices almost immediately after joining) or on record they are not competitive and to please go elsewhere.

You might enjoy comparing those rates with the above - although whether yours includes green energy would be a differentiator.

As far as I’m aware, my power plan does not include any green energy.
The prices you quote for VIC are considerably higher than NSW and, at 40.92 c/kWh (peak rate, equivalent to €0.277/kWh) it compares well with the World’s highest electricity rates.
A superb performance of a country with such a large energy resources endowment …

Those prices are for the RACV plan. There are a number of sharper ones :wink: I just wanted to reinforce your new rates seem reasonable in the current climate.

Do you mean this peak rate is comparable to the highest world peak rates? Where did you get that information? Or are you comparing your peak rate to world average rates?

I can’t find any data comparing peak rates but on average rates Oz is not that high according to the NEM data from here.

Note this is in US dollars.

In their assessment, AGL compared the NSW previous and new prices “based on a residential customer on a Single Rate and Controlled Load 1 tariff in the Ausgrid distribution area who uses 6800 kWh per year, 57% of which is peak hour consumption. The new rates represent $0.3062 per kWh, up 17% from $0.262.

I repeated the estimate for VIC:

The Victorian prices seems to be $0.3597 per kWh, 17.5% higher than the NSW price – although I don’t know how to incorporate the “retailer feed-in tariff” in the comparison.

In USA currency, the prices are:

NSW: US$0.2136 per kWh

VIC: US$0.2481 per kWh

These rates are somewhat at variance with the graph in your message.

Cable.co.uk (Worldwide Electricity Pricing | Energy Cost Per KWh in 230 Countries) has gathered data from 3,883 energy tariffs across the globe to compile a table of electricity prices. In that tabulation, NSW will rank 173 out of 230 countries, putting it in the upper 25% of most expensive jurisdictions.

This is without considering GST, that will put us in an even worse position.

While there needs to be a common point of reference unless one’s income is in $USD it is a false comparison unless one is a traveller or expat getting paid in $USD while living in another currency area. I’ll not mention exchange rate in that mix.

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