Recent research out of the St Vincent de Paul Society has revealed that, as a result of deregulation in Victoria, the retail competition margin of gas and electricity costs has risen to $600 per customer per annum and is now the largest component of the energy bill. The research also found that just 11 per cent of your power bill is attributable to your actual electricity usage.
“We have an energy retail market that ensures customers are paying over the odds for an essential service unless they annually dedicate time to compare energy plans and switch retailer,” the report states.
The study found that people who did not actively seek better deals from alternative providers were the ones charged the highest premiums for no other reason than “because they can” according to Gavin Dufty, policy and research manager with the St Vincent de Paul Society.
Finally, the research also revealed that you should be looking to compare prices and potentially shift companies every 12 months, because the majority of providers bring you in at a low rate for a year on a competitive contract before your rates start to increase.
Mr Dufty said that instead of blaming customers for not shopping around for the best deal, the market model needs to be addressed now.
It’s hard to swallow the excessive retail competition margins that are being added to energy bills, especially for any Australian living in a state where energy has been privatised. The idea that it’s up to the consumer to compare and switch providers every 12 months just to get the best deal is unacceptable in this day and age.
The energy market is not one which you can choose to leave – everyone needs to purchase energy. Consumers are currently being pushed up against a wall by providers and given very little choice but to pay what they are being charged, as is the case in several states around Australia, not just Victoria.
It’s time for a re-think in each state or territory with a deregulated energy system. Competitive pressure needs to be placed on the market and an immediate review of the current retail-pricing framework needs to take place now.
What do you think? Are we paying too much for energy in deregulated states? Do you compare and switch companies every 12 months? Have you installed solar panels? If so, what has been your experience? Has it been worth the capital outlay?