The bill shock you may not know about – but should

Electricity consumers in many states are failing to take full advantage of cheaper plans.

solar panels

Are you sure you are on the best energy plan available? Or could you be paying hundreds of dollars extra every year for your electricity supply?

Comparison site Canstar has surveyed 4000 households in the eastern states and found that some could be paying as much as $1600 more per year.

Canstar spokesman Simon Downes acknowledged that power bills were falling but said it was "scary to think households are spending $1600 or more than they need to”.

Canstar reports that Victorians were experiencing the biggest gap between the best best and worst deals, meaning they could be paying $1657 more than necessary. The gap between the best and worst offers in New South Wales was $1082, in South Australia $1053 and in Queensland $978.

Mr Downes said he was shocked at how many Australians were unaware there were better energy deals, a finding supported by YourLifeChoices' Friday Flash Poll. “We suspect people fall into the trap [of thinking] they’re on a great deal, particularly if their offer has saver or savings in its name,” he told Fairfax Media.

When it comes to the base price of electricity, South Australians are the hardest hit paying 42.88 cents per per kilowatt hour and, according to Canstar Blue, often miss out on discounts and bonus perks. Households in Queensland and Victoria (27.63 cents per kWh and 28.25 cents) generally pay the lowest prices.

As debate continues about how best to maintain a reliable electricity supply while reducing carbon emissions, the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) annual report provides a generally optimistic outlook on pricing if renewables, such as wind and solar, are allowed to set the pace.

It estimates that as a result of more variable wind and solar generation coming online:

  • Victorian households will see electricity prices drop by an estimated 8.2 per cent each year over the two years from 1 January 2019
  • NSW households will see prices drop by an estimated 6.6 per cent each year over the next two years 
  • South Australian households will see prices drop by an estimated 7.3 per cent each year over the next two years
  • Households in south-east Queensland will see prices drop by an estimated 7.1 per cent each year over the next two years
  • Tasmanian households can anticipate a 6.5 per cent drop in prices.

The report estimates that in the ACT, prices will rise by an estimated 1.8 per cent each year over the next two years, “driven mainly by increases in the cost of environmental policies”, while in Western Australia, the prediction is for a 6.3 per cent increase each year over the next two years, and in the Northern Territory, increases of 2.5 per cent each year over the next two years.

All of which makes it particularly important that any price drops are passed on to the consumer and that all energy plans are clear and easy to understand.

Leading energy analyst BloombergNEF says the unsubsidised cost of wind and solar beats coal as the cheapest form of bulk electricity generation in all major economies except Japan.

“In India, best-in-class solar and wind plants are now half the cost of new coal plants,” the report says, despite the recent imposition of import tariffs on solar cells and modules.

“Short-duration batteries are today the cheapest source of new fast-response and peaking capacity in all major economies except the US … As electric vehicle manufacturing ramps up, battery costs are set to drop another 66 per cent by 2030, according to our analysis,” the Bloomberg report says.

Victoria Energy Policy Centre director Bruce Mountain says that analysis due to be released next month would show “the expansion of wind and solar capacity is likely to bring [electricity] prices down far more quickly than would be the case if it didn’t expand.”

He said that a report by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) did not indicate a problem with reliability if renewables took a 50 per cent share of the mix.

Dr Mountain says all political parties should stick to the facts. “It would be good if there was a critique [of energy policies] that was informed by the economics and the engineering,” he said. “At the moment it’s not – it’s informed by the politics of the situation.”

Are you keeping track of the energy debate and the different political parties’ focus on coal-fired station versus renewables? Is a reduction in emissions as important to you as pricing?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    Old Geezer
    27th Nov 2018
    Save $1600 a year? My bill does come anywhere near that per year.
    27th Nov 2018
    Neither does mine - but then I do have solar panels on my roof :)
    27th Nov 2018
    OG - something to put your normal claims into perspective:

    “In India, best-in-class solar and wind plants are now half the cost of new coal plants.”

    You can run but you can't hide. Oh yes....this is Australia? I can hear it coming.
    Old Geezer
    27th Nov 2018
    Only because they cost pennies to build them.
    27th Nov 2018
    I spend about $800 to $1000 a year on electricity and I don't have panels. The summer bill is very cheap. I wonder what people use that draws down so much power?

    MICK India has free tertiary education as well. There are some incredibly rich people in India hundreds of millions of them. Also some very poor. The caste system isn't so wonderful for the bottom.
    27th Nov 2018
    Rae - the income disparity ios because for 50 odd years since independence, India was a socilaist state
    27th Nov 2018
    OG - utter crap. Nowhere for you to go!
    27th Nov 2018
    Lothario - if INdia was such a socialist state then WHY did Indians live in such abject poverty? By definition a socialist government would not let its citizens starve. That only happens in poor right wing controlled countries like America.
    27th Nov 2018
    SAme reason citizens in Russia, Cuba, China, North Korea and now Venezuela starve

    Socialism is a FAILURE - DUH !!!!!!!
    27th Nov 2018
    Lots of wild statements above, following a biased article (in favour of renewables) using selective information. One piece of honesty in the article is ignored by many "..(AEMO) did not indicate a problem with reliability if renewables took a 50 per cent share of the mix." In other words, NOT to increase renewables above 50% of the mix otherwise reliability may be affected.

    A fact not mentioned is that there are around 400 new coal-fired power stations being built around the world right now, including in Japan, China, India, Germany, etc, etc. Are they fools, and are the anti-coal people who have been brainwashed by the climate-change-con lobby smarter? If Labor doesn't want to use coal, they should propose banning it's export!

    Many stupid statements about India as well, so a quick summary. India is heavily into building new coal-fired power stations while also ramping up renewables industries significantly. Clearly more balanced and smart strategies, also considering that like China, they also never agreed to any emissions targets! Poverty in India was the legacy of the British who looted it of it's riches and left a huge population in a complete deprived mess. Socialism in India was a major improver of the economy uplifting millions, also combined with the help of massive Industrialisation (while we destroyed ours), and is an ongoing driver of growth. However, there is also widespread corruption, especially in most Govts & politicians, which has been a key cause of wealth not being shared equitably with a huge number of crooked business people getting filthy rich (just like in Capitalist USA after they opened up the economy), hiding income & evading taxes by many crooked means (just like here), so that is the key issue blocking the fruits of Socialism reaching most people. Unlike China, India is a democracy, hence that is also a reason for the slower transition to prosperity (so you can't use the whip, send people to concentration camps, etc), however it is currently also the fastest growing economy having overtaken China. So, definitely not a failure, neither is Socialism, it is still an evolving situation as it is still a developing country.

    Only idiots jump to conclusions based on limited knowledge and based on biased, ignorant ideological rants.

    27th Nov 2018
    This is another sector into which a Royal Commission is sorely needed. Only under a Lieberal-Hillbilly COALition could this occur.
    27th Nov 2018
    I know you are probably not interested in the the true facts, but here goes, in 1999 the Libs finally managed to get a subsidy on solar energy through the senate with the aid of the democrats, Labor had been blocking the subsidies for the previous 4/5 years, it took a while for the offer of subsidies to eventuate, I guess that in part that nobody wanted to invest in solar panels because of the uncertainty created by Labor, so you see it was because of Labor that many people didn’t take advantage of the subsidies available and ended up paying more for electricity, maybe a Royal Commission into electricity prices might not be such a good idea. If you want to check the information I put up a link yesterday on a similar topic.
    27th Nov 2018
    Yes Jim I remember that. It's why I chose Origin shares instead of solar panels. Bad move.
    Neither Party seems to do a thing for me. I must be an outlier of some sort haha.
    27th Nov 2018
    My latest bill was the highest in 10 years, the bill was $78 for the quarter, mind I do have solar panels, I am not sure that the recovery cost of batteries including Bill’s potential subsidy will be worth it for me, my biggest cost is for gas, now if I could just pipe the gas generated in Canberra to my place, I suppose we can but dream.
    27th Nov 2018
    Gas? Thank Johnny Howard and Labor to a lesser extent for flogging off what should never gone to overseas investors.
    As I have said before we had shares in the third largest LNG deposit on the planet and the investment was specifically made so that we could get great dividends in retirement. It says a lot that a Liberal government flogged it off. Since then nothing has changed and we are now up to selling our FREEHOLD rural land. I find it amazing how many farms in highly fertile areas are now not Australian owned.
    Forget about the gas Jim and work on solar. The future. The one the current lot would render illegal if they even half thought they could get away with it.
    Old Geezer
    27th Nov 2018
    I too have gas and if I use a 9kg cylinder every 3 years I am using way too much.
    27th Nov 2018
    Food is going to be expensive if they keep selling the best farmland to foreign corporations.

    Especially as the population grows from the 8.4 billion to whatever it will end up. They say it will stabilise but it has quadrupled in our lifetime so I'm not so sure about that.

    16 billion will be absolutely terrible.
    27th Nov 2018
    Yes Rae. First our gas and now our food.
    The iron is the food will not be sold in Australia. It'll be loaded onto ships and planes and taken out.....then sold. Foreigners will make almost 100% of the profit. The LNP calls that government. I call it treachery. When everybody realises what has been done it'll be the same as our gas with people crying about not having any. History repeats itself.
    Ted Wards
    27th Nov 2018
    When they do these studies, do they only look at families, or do they do comparisons for single people as well? I just paid my electricity bill, it was $145 and my water was $83.00. My bill tells me how I go in comparison to other single households in the area and my bill is way low. Be interested if anyone can answer this.
    27th Nov 2018
    The only real measure is what you use and when compared to everybody else.
    That's one of the real joys in getting a solar system with a monitoring application. Love it.
    27th Nov 2018
    If we had not given our gas resources away we would not have to buy P.V . panels, think about it.Sounds like you may have a short circuit O.G.
    Old Geezer
    27th Nov 2018
    I prefer wood fires as I produce more wood than I need on my own property. Cheaper than anything else.
    27th Nov 2018
    I am extremely pro increasing the world's CO2 levels to encourage drought reduction, greening of potentially productive land and reduction of global poverty. Dump connection with the currently non-binding Paris agreement to free industry, our economy and our individual freedoms. Through free of excessive regulation competition, Australia can be an industrial and wealth powerhouse with the world's cheapest and most reliable power. Unfortunately, it will take 10 to 20 years to recover from the damage already done by malicious activists and incompetent governments.
    27th Nov 2018
    Bottle-o-rum - please, please tell me you're joking! All those conditions you cite are actually responsible for the rising world temperatures and all that accompanies them, like drought and the dreadful bush fires in both hemispheres at the same time and the death of parts of the Great Barrier Reef etc etc. Do the science. Please.

    27th Nov 2018
    Power costs are high because of expensive so called environmental policies that do nothing for the environment

    Only ones savings are those who installed solar at the expense of everyone else - greedy selfish ba$%ards
    27th Nov 2018
    The offer was there for all to take advantage of the subsidies, and those that couldn’t afford the up front cost of the panels had other options, interest free loans with the dividends from the subsidies going towards paying off the panels, then when the panels were paid for you got to keep the benefits. But of course you can’t force anyone to try and save money and you can’t stop people from having a whinge because they didn’t take up the offer.
    27th Nov 2018
    Yes Jim. Lothario is a a coal troll trying to denounce the solar success story. Same reason you never hear about the South Australia battery success. They and their media do not want Australians to see that renewable energy and batteries are the future of energy.

    Not working!
    28th Nov 2018
    Environmental policies, combined with shutting down of coal power stations, not building new ones, and privatisation (handing over power to greedy CEOs) are all to blame for the high power prices - so, Lothario you are partially correct.

    Agree with your comment about solar being installed by those who could afford it at the expense of others who may not have been in a position to avail of it at that time, however they paid for the richer (selfish) people who could afford it.
    27th Nov 2018
    I don't trust comparison sites such as Canstar etc. Read before chosing an energy provider & see what consumers have to say about the follow up service etc

    Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

    • Receive our daily enewsletter
    • Enter competitions
    • Comment on articles

    You May Like