Switching to a small energy supplier

Switching to a small energy supplier may be viable for a number of reasons. Better rates, more flexibility or want to support an independent business may be some, and in this article we are going to talk about what a small supplier is, the pros and cons as well as other factors to consider if you are looking to switch to a smaller provider.

 

What is a small supplier?

Small suppliers are often referred to as independent suppliers and are usually looking to break through the energy market. Think of it in comparison to a retail chain of coffee shops on a high street, and then a new coffee shop opens up offering deals and sometimes better service – it is no different when looking at your energy. Independent suppliers can still have a large customer base, but when looking at it in comparison to the big providers in Australia, they are not considered a main competitor.

 

Pros and cons of a small supplier:

 

Pros Cons
  • Cheaper deals: Small suppliers want your business, so they can offer better initial deals to get you to buy into the service.
  • Do not have an established reputation: Big suppliers do what they say on the tin, and going for a company that has not established a reliable reputation can sometimes be seen as a risk.
  • Better customer service: Just like your independent coffee shop, employees in smaller businesses are held accountable more on customer service as that is what gives them their reputation.
  • Not enough capacity: This may seem a contradiction to ‘better customer service’ but if a small supplier has an influx in customers or requests, this may leave them unable to provide the best service due to staff capacity.
  • Flexibility on plans: Smaller suppliers will pay less towards government schemes and taxes etc, meaning they can offer more flexibility on plans.
  • Difficulty to switch: Some smaller companies may make it difficult for you to switch providers as they want you to stay with their custom.
  • Fewer hoops to jump through: Bigger companies often have a longer process, whether that is for complaints or for a general inquiry (no one likes to be put on hold).
  • Unreliable: Smaller suppliers are more vulnerable to go under or have issues retaining staff, this can make the service unreliable.

These are just some of the pros and cons that could be associated with a small supplier, but these are also positives and negatives that could be associated with mid to large suppliers too.

The best way to check against the cons is by using a price comparison website and reading reviews. This means that you will be able to do your research and find reliable sources before choosing to switch to a small energy supplier. Another great way to find out whether a small energy supplier is better is to ask friends and family who have switched previously and ask their thoughts. Having references from people you trust can make the decision of switching to a small provider a lot easier.

Author: Claire Stapley
Claire Stapley is ElectricityComparison.com.au's Energy Editor, based in Melbourne Australia. Claire is a founding member of ElectricityComparison.com.au News and Energy Team.