It's been hard to miss the news on potentially big increases to electricity prices and with it the sinking feeling that here's yet another necessary commodity that is going up.
Electricity prices paid by retailers are increasing and that means they will inevitably be passed on.
The news was highlighted by one retailer ReAmped Energy, who on May 9 warned its customers of price increases but then on May 31 actively encouraged its customers to find an alternative retailer because it could not hold down prices in the face of surging wholesale price rises.
CEO at ReAmped Energy Luke Blincoe said that since he sent out the letter on May 9 warning of increases, wholesale costs in NSW and the ACT had surged a further 50 per cent.
He attributes it a combination of events - a perfect electric storm - with the war in Ukraine, a reliance on coal and gas-fired generation in NSW and Queensland and on-going reliability issues as coal-fired generating stations are phased out.
As a ReAmped Energy customer, suddenly the electricity issue was must closer to home when Mr Blincoe sent out emails urging his customers to take their business elsewhere.
He urged customers to visit Energy Made Easy, a government website where you can compare the costs of different retailers.
If you are on an electricity plan with variable costs, then as wholesale costs go up, retailers will pass on the increases to their customers.
It's worth checking whether you can get a better deal, because it costs nothing, just some of your time.
For a more accurate comparison include your NMI (National Metering Identifier) which is on your electricity bill or alternatively upload a bill.
Things to consider include whether you have a controlled load meter used for a water heater, for example. You should be able to get the cost of this electricity at a lower price than general usage because it's often running at an off-peak time (overnight).
Check your daily supply charge and general electricity charges.
When you upload the National Meter Indentifier the comparisons will take into account your particular usage and costs will be shown in increasing price order either annually or monthly (depending on what you choose).
If you are thinking of changing retailer, check whether there's cost to connect (it's all done automatically and you don't even have to contact your old retailer).
Key things to consider:
- Is there a contract term (are you locked into this contract for a certain time period)
- Are prices variable or are they fixed for a certain period of time
- If you have solar check the export price or are you able to use your own solar generated power (it is generally more valuable to you than the export price you are likely to receive)
- Daily supply charge
- Cost of electricity per kilowatt hour
- Controlled Load costs (CL 1) - check if you are being asked to pay a separate supply cost as well as a usage cost
Prepare to spend an hour checking and consider carefully weighing up all charges before moving retailers.
I opted for a fixed price contract which is guaranteed for the next year. This will give me time to look around and check out what the market is doing in the meantime. This may not be the best option for everyone and there is always the possibility that prices might come down with government intervention or other changes in the international situation.
It is always worth checking to see whether you can make savings. When I switched to ReAmped Energy back in 2020 I did so because it was going to save me about $400 a year on my electricity bills - definitely worth having.
Check at Energy Made Easy, a government website where you can compare the costs of different retailers.
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