Electricity and Gas in Australia: Setting Up and Managing Your Account
Electricity and gas is a complicated topic in Australia. Between setting up and managing your account, to moving house and making sure you’re not paying too much for your energy, it can be a lot to keep track of. Read below for more information about electricity and gas procedures in Australia, to help you save money and make managing your account as simple as possible.
How to set up an energy account when moving
Moving into a new home is a perfect time to shop around and compare electricity and gas plans. While you might be able to bring your current energy provider with you to your new home, if you haven’t switched recently, you could save hundreds of dollars per year by changing to a new energy provider. To connect your new home to electricity and gas, you will need to:
Contact your previous energy provider and let them know you want to arrange a disconnection at your previous address (if applicable), and tell them your new billing address so they can send you a final bill
Sign up to a new electricity or gas provider online or over the phone. Tell them what day you want the connection to occur in your new home.
Make a note of your meter in your old home to compare it to your final bill from your previous provider
Make a note of your meter in your new home to compare it to your first bill from your new provider
Switch electricity or gas providers
It’s important to shop around for a new energy provider every so often. If you haven’t compared energy providers, and switched to a cheaper plan recently, you might be paying more for your energy than you ought to be. Switching electricity or gas providers is very easy, however, and could save you hundreds per year off your electricity or gas bill.
Compare your options: Compare the electricity and gas plans available for your address. Decide on the types of discounts you want. Conditional discounts, for example, might offer bigger savings but if you’re not sure you can meet the conditions, then you might be better off choosing a simple plan with low rates. If you have a smart meter, you can also decide if you’ll save more on a different tariff such as time-of-use.
Sign up with your new provider: Most energy and gas providers offer sign up online or over the phone. When you sign up for a new provider, they will contact your previous energy provider on your behalf to make the switch for you. In order to sign up, you will need to consent to a credit check to make sure you are eligible for the discounts offered.
Cooling off periodAfter signing up for a new electricity or gas provider, Australians have a 10-day cooling-off period during which time they can cancel their new energy contract without penalty, for any reason. If you cancel during the cooling-off period, you will be switched back to your previous electricity or gas provider without an interruption to your energy supply.
Final meter reading and final bill: After switching to a new energy provider, you will need to wait for your final meter reading and final bill from your previous provider. Depending on where you are in your billing cycle, this can take up to three months if you don’t request a special meter reading. Once your previous energy provider does one final meter reading and sends you a final bill, you’ll start being billed by your new provider.
Reading and paying your electricity and gas bills
Energy bills, while unfortunately part of life, can tell you a lot about your energy usage and habits. By understanding your energy bills, you’ll be better equipped to save money and make educated decisions about your electricity and gas usage.
What information is on an energy bill?
Energy bills can be sent out as frequently as every week, though most energy providers have bill cycles of every three months. No matter the provider, reading your energy bill will give you the same information. This includes personal details about the account holder, the amount due and payment due date, information about your energy usage, and how the meter reading this bill was calculated with. By learning how to read your energy bill, you can discover ways to save money in the future.
Paying an energy bill
Most energy providers offer flexible bill payment methods, to make it as easy as possible to pay your electricity or gas bill. Your energy bill should have information about all the payment methods available. Some of the most common bill payment methods include:
|Online payment||Pay a bill online, with your bank card, using a secure online website|
|Through your energy provider account||Log into your account through your energy provider, and pay there|
|Over the phone||Call the secure phone number to pay over the phone with a bank card|
|Direct debit||Set up direct debit, so you don’t need to worry about remembering to pay your energy bill|
|BPAY||Contact your financial institution and pay using your unique reference or account number, and your energy providers BPAY Biller Code|
|Send a cheque or money order with your payment slip to the address provided|
It should be noted that some smaller energy providers only accept direct debit as a bill payment method. In any case, direct debit is usually the recommended payment method as it allows you to pay your energy bill on time without needing to worry about remembering to pay. Many energy providers also offer a pay on time and a direct debit discount, which means by choosing this payment method you could be saving even more money off your energy bill.
Lower your energy usage
Energy bills can be very expensive, and implementing some energy saving techniques can save you hundreds per year. There are many ways to help make your home more energy efficient, no matter if you want to start small or completely transform your house.
Unplug energy vampires: Many appliances might be sapping energy from your house simply because they are plugged in, even if they aren’t on. These energy vampires, which include everything from microwaves and computers, to hair dryers and curling irons, can add up on your energy bill. Unplugging appliances when not in use can prevent these little charges from adding up every month.
Little lifestyle changes: In addition to unplugging appliances, other small changes around the house can save you money on your energy bill. Keeping your thermostat at an optimal temperature, ensuring your fridge and freezer are working efficiently, or washing clothes in cold water can all help you save.
Make your home more energy efficient: Switching to energy efficient appliances in your house can cost more upfront, but they will save you money down the road. By replacing things such as microwaves, lightbulbs, or even your window curtains with energy efficient alternatives, you can turn your home into an energy efficient powerhouse.
Big home renovations: Things such as upgrading your HVAC system, or replacing the insulation in your home, are big projects. However, choosing to renovate your home in order to turn it into a more energy efficient space can not only save you money, but increase the value on your home.
Difficulty paying your energy bills?
Energy bills are expensive and if you’re experiencing financial hardship and might have difficulty paying your energy bill, contacting your energy provider is the first step. Thankfully the Australian state and national governments offer help to those who qualify.
While the requirements for concessions and rebates vary state-by-state, there are tons of rebates you might be qualified for if you’re a concession card holder, a low-income household, or hold a Veterans card. By contacting your energy provider, they can go over your options and help make your energy bills more manageable and affordable.