How do I switch my energy provider?
Switching, or at least reviewing your energy provider, is an important life admin task that we’re all guilty of putting off. To make sure you’re on the right energy plan and getting the best deal, you should compare your plan every 12 months. If you’re not sure where to start, read this handy guide that will take you through the process step-by-step.
Alternatively, if reading is not for you, dive straight into the action by calling us at 1300 786 045, and we’ll take care of everything for you!
Use this checklist as a quick reference guide for switching your energy provider. Keep scrolling for more detailed advice on each step.
- Find out if you can choose your provider.
- Decide if you need to switch providers (aka The Hard Questions)
- Choose a new provider
- Choose a new plan
- Choose the right time to avoid unnecessary costs
- Organize the switch with your old and new provider
- Take note of the cooling-off period (in case you change your mind)
Can I switch providers?
Before you spend time researching your switch, make sure you live in one of the following Australian regions that are eligible to choose their electricity and gas suppliers:
- New South Wales
- South-East Queensland
- South Australia
If you live in the Perth metropolitan area you can choose your gas supplier, and if you live in Tasmania or the Northern Territory, you can choose your provider, but with limited options.
If you live in one of the below Australia regions, you are not able to choose your provider:
- Regional Queensland (residents outside South-East Queensland)
- Western Australia
Do I need to switch to a new plan? (aka The Hard Questions)
Now that you have determined you can switch, the question is, should you? If it’s been more than 12 months since you compared your plan, then the answer is yes! You should review your plan and compare it to other deals on the market right now because chances are you’re paying more than you need to! There are also some other key moments when it’s a good idea to review your energy plan, including:
- Usage habits have changed
Have you installed a swimming pool or new air conditioning, started working from home or taken the leap to solar? There are many scenarios that could change your usage habits. Each retailer has a range of rates and deals for different types of usage, including on and off-peak rates, seasonal rates and feed-in tariffs. So if your energy consumption has changed, now is the time to review your plan, because it might need to change with you!
- Moved house
Energy retailers have different plans on offer in different areas, so make sure you’re getting the best deal for your new location.
- Current offer has expired
You may have signed up to a new plan on a limited time offer. If these special rates have lapsed, it’s time to scour the market to see what else is out there!
- Paying too much
With so many retailers available, if you feel that your energy bill is too high, it’s a good idea to compare the market to see if there’s a better deal to suit your unique needs and budget.
Choose a new provider
The right provider for you might simply be the one with the best rates, but here are several other factors you might want to consider when comparing retailers:
- Do they align with your values? Are you looking to go green and reduce your carbon footprint? There are some energy providers that are striving for the same thing!
- How’s their customer service? Being able to talk to a knowledgeable person in times of need can make the world of difference. Many retailers also offer comprehensive online services, which might be a better fit for you if you don’t always have the time to pick up the phone.
- Wider offerings – do you also use Pay TV, a mobile phone and broadband? Some providers offer big savings for bundling your bills.
- Are they flexible? You might be staying put for the foreseeable future and be happy to lock-in for 12 months or more, which can secure you lower rates, but if you’re thinking of moving or changing your energy usage in the near future, a provider with flexible options might be a better fit for you, to avoid paying any early exit fees down the track.
Choose a new plan
The right plan for you depends on a number of factors, which is where things can get a bit complex! To start with, be sure to review your current plan, including the rates and discounts, so you can compare apples for apples.
Now for the technical part: when looking at your current and new rates, make sure you are aware of the Default Market Offer (DMO). This was introduced in NSW, South-East QLD and SA in 2019, while VIC has the Victorian Default Offer (VDO).
The DMO and VDO put a fair price cap on the amount you can be charged for electricity. Retailers can then make a ‘market offer’ which is under the DMO/VDO. If you aren’t being offered a market offer, then you are missing out on potential savings.
You should also consider if you are eligible for any concessions. Some retailers offer discounts for Senior and DVA card holders and other concession groups, so it’s important to look at your current financial situation and entitlements.
The next step is to list your energy requirements so you can track your spending. It can be useful to keep a dot-point journal for a week because you might be using energy that you’re not even aware of, and consider any seasonal changes in energy usage by reviewing your last year’s bills. Having a good understanding of your usage habits will help you get the right deal.
Some important things to consider are if you use energy mainly in on-peak or off-peak times, do you have solar, do you run air conditioning and do you have a pool? Most energy companies have special rates for on and off-peak, seasonal and solar tariffs that can make a big saving if you match them to your personal requirements.
This step can cause a bit of overwhelm, especially if you don’t have time or brain space to dedicate to it. You can contact Move-In-Connect by clicking here or calling 1300 786 045, and our expert comparison tool can take care of it for you!
When should I change energy providers?
It’s always a good time to compare your plan, but making the switch at the right time can save you money. Take a look at your current contract or agreement to see if you need to pay any early exit fees. If you are locked into a contract, it’s often worth waiting until your contract is finished to make the switch and save on fees.
If you’re not locked into a contract, you can switch at any point. Changing providers mid-billing cycle is fine as long as you don’t have any overdue payments. You won’t be billed twice by the two different providers – your old provider will simply provide a final bill up to the date of your move.
And the good news is it doesn’t take 90 days like it used to. Most transfers can now happen within two business days, so you can have the switch wrapped up and put it out of your mind until next time!
Make the switch with your old and new energy provider
Phew, if you’ve made it this far, all the leg work is done and you’re ready to make the move to a new and improved energy plan! Follow these steps to make the process seamless from start to finish!
- Pay any outstanding bills to your current provider. If you have a financial hardship agreement you won’t be able to switch until you’ve paid the debt.
- Lock in the switch date with your providers (new and old).
- Review your new plan for terms and conditions, including rates, tariffs, lock-in periods and limited-time offers.
- Take a meter reading on the day of the switch – this is important to make sure you’re not double billed.
- Set a reminder for your cooling off period. Your new plan will come with a cooling-off period (usually ten days). If you change your mind within this time, you can cancel without incurring any penalties.
- Take note of the billing cycle for your new plan – it might be different to your old plan, which can cause confusion and missed payments in the early days. Many retailers and online banking services have apps and reminders to help you avoid late fees.
So, what now?
There’s no time like the present! Comparing your energy plan could uncover some significant savings. We know that there’s a lot to consider and some time-consuming phone calls to make, but don’t forget, that’s why we’re here!
Move-In Connect can take care of all of this for you in one easy phone call. Call today on 1300 786 045 or fill in the form here.