Winter time means we can relish in slow cooked meals, long hot showers and wrap ourselves up in a cosy blanket with a cup of hot chocolate and marshmallows. But as much as winter has its perks, it also means higher energy consumption which results in — you guessed it — higher energy bills.
Suddenly those long hot showers and toasty room temperatures don’t seem all that appealing. However, before you nag the kids to turn the heater down there are other ways to help keep your energy bills from spiralling out of control this winter.
Beware of confusing discounts
In your efforts to keep the household budget down, you’ve probably signed up to an energy offer because it had an attractive headline discount only to be whacked with a bill much higher than what you were expecting.
Opting for generous energy discounts sounds great but sometimes, it’s not always the best option available. A lot of discounted energy offers that you see advertised by providers are conditional. This means that you must meet certain criteria such as paying on time to be eligible for the discount.
Juggling family life is stressful enough so if you’re someone who pays your bills late (haven’t we all!?), you’re probably going to be better off steering away from conditional pay-on-time discounts and instead go for a plan with a guaranteed discounts or a lower ongoing rate without a discount.
Don’t pay the lazy tax
A lot of Aussie families fall victim to paying the ‘lazy tax’ on their energy bills because they’re too busy to shop around and compare other plans in the market. As a result, they could end up paying much more than they need to for their energy bills.
It’s important to remember that most energy discounts also expire after a year or two and after this time you’ll most likely be rolled over onto a higher priced plan. Retailers are now required to notify you when your discount period expires and this should be your prompt to compare your options.
Navigating energy plans can be really confusing so we recommend speaking to an energy comparison service like iSelect who can help you make sense of it all. In a quick 15 minute call, their trained energy consultants can do the hard work for you to help you select a suitable energy plan from their range of energy providers.
Don’t default to the default
In an effort to end confusing energy discounts and protect customers from the lazy tax, on July 1 new default energy offers will be introduced in NSW, South Australia, Victoria and South-East Queensland. The default offers will replace higher-priced standing offers that around 10% of customers are still on.
If you haven’t changed energy plans or providers for many years, you’re more than likely on a standing offer and will automatically be moved across to the new default offer on July 1.
The default offer will also act as a ‘benchmark’ against which all discounted offers will be compared, making it easier to compare different energy plans and figure out which one will give you the best value.
Unfortunately, the new default offer will only reduce bills for the approx. 10% of customers still on standing offers. They won’t reduce bills for the majority of customers in NSW, VIC, SA and South-East Queensland who are already on discounted market offers.
So if you think the default offer means you don’t need to review your bills, think again. A great way to reduce your energy bill could be shopping around for a better deal.
While reducing energy usage around the house is always a good idea, it won’t necessarily reduce your energy bill dramatically. A more practical way to avoid winter bill shock is to make sure you’re on a great value plan to begin with.
An energy comparison service like iSelect can take the hassle out of comparing plans and even do the switching for you, leaving you time to focus on the more important things this winter like making sure each of the kids has an even amount of marshmallows in their hot chocolate.
– written by Jessie Petterd, iSelect spokeswoman
This blog post is sponsored by iSelect
iSelect energy disclaimer
iSelect does not compare all energy providers or plans in the market. The availability of plans will change from time to time. Not all plans made available from iSelect providers are compared by iSelect and due to commercial arrangements or availability, not all products compared by iSelect will be available to all customers. Some plans and special offers are available only from iSelect’s call centre. Other plans are available only from iSelect’s website. Energy plans are available only for properties located in eligible areas of Victoria, New South Wales, South East Queensland, South Australia and ACT. Click here to view iSelect’s range of providers.