2nd Jun 2016

Do you understand the charges on your electricity bill?

electricity bill with australian hundred dollar notes
Debbie McTaggart

Rising electricity bills continue to be a drain on finances and it often pays to shop around for the best deals. But if you're unsure how to compare offers, then this simple guide to electricity bills may help you secure a better deal.

Many of us simply look at our bill, compare it to the previous month, sigh about the costs and then just pay it. But do you really know for what you are being charged? Are you being ripped off? Which things should you consider before making the decision to switch your power company?

Here are some helpful hints and considerations for comparing energy rates:

Will you pay your bills on time? If so, you should choose a 'pay on time discount'. If sometimes you run a little late with your payment, you should only seek suppliers who offer flat discounts.

Always compare the rates without GST and without the discounts applied.
This will show you what your rates will be if you can’t pay your electricity bill on time.

How long will you be living at the property? If it is for less than 24 months, ensure that there are no cancellation fees or penalties for ending your energy plan.

Find a contract with rate protection. 
Ask suppliers if they cap their rate increases. Some do, but most don’t.

If you speak to an energy broker or a comparison service, make sure they give you a fair comparison. 
Ask them with whom they have contracts and whom they don’t.

When comparing your electricity bill it is also useful to understand for what your are paying. If you refer to the back of your bill, you will see that it is broken down into two types of charges:

1. Kilowatt rates – This represents the quantity of electricity that you have used during the billing cycle.

2. Supply charge – This is the measurement in cents per day that totals the fees your distributor charges to supply the power, maintain the lines and read your meters.

It is also worth knowing each of the different rates on your bill. They are broken down in the following way:

Peak rate – Normal power use; e.g., lights, fridge, etc.

Off-peak rate – Dedicated hot water system.

Shoulder rate – If using a smart meter.

Supply charge – Daily fee in cents per day.

(If you have only a peak-rate meter­­ – and natural gas – you will not have an ‘off peak rate’ or ‘shoulder rate’. This depends on the type of meter you have.)

Understanding these different rates and charges will make you better equipped to compare your current electricity rates. Now you’ll be able to shop around with more confidence.

Related articles:
Rising costs hitting hard
Difficulties paying electricity bills


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5th Jun 2016
One of the biggest con games out. Offer big discounts & put up the price to accommodate the big discount back to a competitive rate so you think you are doing good. One company I looked at offering big discounts if I took up the offer, I would of been paying more. Took me ages to find a good deal with Origin, so do your sums or better still make them do it & sometimes they agree that you are on the best deal & they cannot match it.
10th Jun 2016
I will always thank the so called wonderful Julia Gillard for deregulating these crooks. The poor are suffering thanks to her. It's all a con the utility bills will always go up even if you never use them.
10th Jun 2016
Every time I have tried to get a better deal, you have to include gas. As we are on bottled gas this doesn't work
Fast Eddie
10th Jun 2016
The supply charge is the one to watch for increases. We are with AGL and since April 2014 the daily charge has gone from $.50 to $1.16 - and they don't even use a gun!
10th Jun 2016
WA has not got a choice to change and we are heartily sick of the extreme energy price rises.
Much as I enjoy YLC it isn't much help to know how lucky some states are.
10th Jun 2016
Have changed a few times and am now with Dodo which is much cheaper than Origin or AGL.
Somewhat difficult in switching but very worthwhile!
One of them had changed their computer system and did not recognise my account number which caused much inconvenience because each time I called, the girl would say that she will definitely take care of it but that occurred several times and I was like a hot water system ready to explode so they lost a customer.....me!
10th Jun 2016
I just got the Best Deal Available for Pensioners ! I had the Power Cut Off !! :-)
2nd Aug 2016
Living in WA means we cannot swap and change suppliers as there is only one...
2nd Aug 2016
Re-reading the comments I'm wondering if they have been muddled with a different subject, I just read that someone changed to Dodo, thought that was a ISP?
2nd Aug 2016
I'm going back to South Australia :-) You can pay your Electricity Bill and then live on Welfare for the rest of the Fortnight :-) :-)

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