Spotlight on energy comparison sites

They may save Aussies hundreds, but they’re not exactly philanthropically minded …

Energy comparison sites are always preaching the benefits of finding better deals and switching to cheaper energy retailers, but can their recommendations be trusted?

There’s little doubt that these online tools can save Australian households money on their utilities bills. Analysis from one comparison site revealed that, by switching to the cheapest energy plan available, a three-person household (in Victoria) could save up to $1000 per year. If the same household switched last year, that saving would have been $329.

“This goes to show that even if you switched energy providers this time last year, there is a good chance that there is an even better deal out there,” said Mozo Director Kristy Lamont.

“Don’t resign yourself to shocking energy prices. Our research shows that many households can actually offset their bill increase and still have savings to bank by switching to a cheaper energy plan.”

That’s all well and good, but is there a reason these comparison sites incessantly harp on about switching. Dare we ask what they are getting out of Australian households constantly changing providers?

Well, we dare. So YourLifeChoices ‘sicked’ our investigative journalist Olga ‘Digger’ Galacho onto the case. And what she found out about gas and power comparison sites may shock you …



    To make a comment, please register or login
    6th Nov 2017
    These sites only work if you live in the higher populated areas where a variety of providers are available. In many country areas there is no choice and residents are stuck paying huge power bills from the one provider available.
    6th Nov 2017
    One only has choice of supplier if one's existing supplier is willing to provide the 'final reading'.

    In my case OE just did not provide a final reading, and sent 2 power bills on the same day, 6 months after I requested a final reading, having advised OE that I had arranged to change providers.

    When finally [a few years later] I managed to receive a "final reading", it was an estimate, and was around $26,000.00. Thuggery is the term that springs to mind.
    Old Geezer
    6th Nov 2017
    There is only one reason these sites exist. That is for the owner of these sites to get a big commission if you go through their links or they may add a cookie to your computer.

    The only way is to delete all the cookies on your computer and then get the rates form the providers website and work it all out yourself from their critical information sheets.
    6th Nov 2017
    I have recently changed my provider. I have done it a couple of ways. In the past it was a case of going to different provider's website then hunting for their Price Fact Sheets and comparing my last bill to these sheets to find the best plan. However, this time I used the Governments comparison website to establish which supplier is the cheapest (make sure you click on the right hand side column to show the cheapest after Price Fact Sheet. There are some things to watch out for such as the duration of the "deal". For example my current provider only fixes their deal for 12 months whilst the supplier I am now with has fixed it for 24 months. I saved a couple of hundred dollars per year on my account, $650 odd p.a. on one of my son's account and around $780 p.a. on my other son's account. I am not promoting any particular energy supplier, but in all three of the above checks, Alinta energy prvided the best deal for us.
    Old Geezer
    6th Nov 2017
    Unfortunately they don't always have the right rates on that site so be careful using them without checking the providers website.
    6th Nov 2017
    Good point Old Geezer. I did do a double check at the time as I do believe that if it looks to good to be true..... Luckily in these cases it turned out to be true.
    6th Nov 2017
    Many retailers claim to reduce your costs by giving you an alleged discount but include conditions such as pay on time to get the quoted rate.Apart from the fact that the discount is on an inflated rate and really not a discount at all ie.its only a marketing strategy to suck in the uninformed,the discount is in fact the penalty you will pay if you forget to pay your bill on time.
    So a 40% discount means a 40% late payment fee.Thats a high price to pay.
    The government is doing nothing to help people make an informed decision by saying shop around and get a better deal.Banning retailers quoting discounts and forcing them to compete based on their best rate would level the playing field and make it easier for consumers to compare apples with apples.
    Old Geezer
    6th Nov 2017
    If you set up a direct debit then the only thing you have to worry about is having enough money in your account to pay it. I now have everything paid by direct debit and all mail comes via email.
    6th Nov 2017
    Careful before you switch. Check if you are getting the Saving on both Supply and Service Charges. My Provider has extra savings, We could switch to, BUT only on the Supply. I have been Lucky and they tell me this, , and get the Saving on both, WHEN Paying Bill ON TIME. EG. 29% on Elec and 19% on Gas. If I changed it would be higher save,32%, But I wouldn't get any saving on the Supply. So We STAY PUT.
    Old Geezer
    6th Nov 2017
    Rates vary from retailer to retailer. It's no benefit if they give you 29% off and their rates are 30% higher than other retailers.
    8th Nov 2017
    SMMM, care to share who you are with please?

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