Don’t Get Overcharged by Your Energy Supplier – 5 Simple Tips
At some point or another, we’ve probably all experienced “bill shock”. Sometimes there’s a reasonable explanation for this. Perhaps the weather has been hotter or cooler than usual, so you’ve had the split system running around the clock. Or you’ve had family staying and this has led to a spike in your usual energy consumption. But sometimes, there’s no logical explanation. Your bill is just higher than it should be. If that’s the case and you’re sick of being overcharged by your energy supplier, then try following these 5 simple tips:
- Make sure you’re getting an actual meter read, not an estimate: Some energy retailers rely on “estimated” meter readings as a way of cutting down on the number of “actual” readings they have to complete. This saves them money and allows them to overestimate the amount of energy that you’re using (a win-win scenario for the energy retailer). So, check each bill to confirm you’ve received an actual reading. If necessary, you can read your own meter and pass the details along to your retailer, ensuring you’ll only get billed for the energy you use.
- Don’t be afraid to make a fuss: If you feel like your energy supplier is overcharging you unfairly then don’t be afraid to make a fuss. Contact your energy supplier to query unexpectedly high bills, particularly if they are as a result of an estimated reading or a recent price increase. If you aren’t able to resolve the issue with your energy supplier, then you can contact the Energy Ombudsman for further assistance.
- Carry out regular energy pricing comparison checks: If you’ve been with the same energy supplier for more than a few years then chances are you’re being overcharged. Periodic increases in tariff pricing can lead to customers paying significantly more when they just stick with the one energy supplier. An online energy pricing comparison check is simple, fast, free and could save you lots of money.
- Beware of exit fees when comparing energy plans: Some energy retailers will offer a reduced tariff rate for new customers who sign up for a fixed-term plan. This is great IF the retailer continues to provide low rates for the length of the contract. But the initial discount may expire after 6 or 12 months, while the contract itself drags on even longer. Beware of plans that lock you in and will sting you with exit fees for leaving early – they prevent you from seeking a better deal should tariff prices change.
- Be willing to switch to a new energy supplier: According to the 2018 Australian Energy Market Commission report, a growing number of Australian’s are dissatisfied with their energy supplier. The report found that price increases, bills that were hard to read and confusing offers resulted in “eroded trust and weakened consumer confidence.” As a result, more people than ever are switching suppliers to get better deals. If you think you’re being overcharged, then don’t be afraid to compare and switch.