Origin Energy Review: Should I switch to Origin Energy?
Outside of price, perhaps one of the most important factors in choosing an energy provider is others’ experiences. If you’re considering Origin Energy as your new energy provider, it can be overwhelming to try and find all the information you need to make an informed decision. That's where Selectra comes in. Below, you can find a comprehensive review of Origin Energy, with information on everything from customer reviews, to regulation, to how Origin Energy's rates and plans stack up compared to other providers, so keep reading below to find everything you need to decide if Origin Energy is the best choice for a provider for you.
Overview of Origin Energy: Review of Origin Energy plans
Origin Energy is one of the biggest energy providers in Australia, servicing four million customers across New South Wales, the ACT, Victoria, South-East Queensland, South Australia, and Western Australia.
Origin Energy offers electricity and gas, but not to every state and territory. While Origin retails both gas and electricity to most of the country, due to the regulated nature of Western Australia’s electricity market, customers there can only choose their natural gas provider.
|New South Wales|
In 2019, Origin Energy completely revamped their offers and products, following a general overhaul of the energy market in Australia. Rather than the more typical big-discount plans that were common prior to 2019, Origin Energy (and many other providers) instead decided to switch to simple, low, rates and discounts.
Origin Energy currently offers several electricity and gas plans, in addition to selling solar PV systems, and LPG bottled gas. Electricity and gas plans include:
- Origin Go: Earn Everyday Rewards points in addition to a discount off the reference price
- Origin Flexi: Discounted electricity and gas, with flexible billing and payment methods
- Origin Home Support + Origin Basic Gas: While the same as the reference price, get 24/7 home support for one year with the Allianz Global Network, plus two home callouts of up to $300 each
- Origin Solar Boost: A higher feed-in-tariff for solar PV system households, but no additional discounts
- Origin Solar Boost Plus: For customers who purchase a solar PV system through Origin Energy, with one of the highest feed-in-tariffs on the market
Origin Energy review: The good and the bad
Here, we outline the good, the bad, and the facts of Origin Energy, looking at aspects such as rates, renewables, billing and payment options, financial hardship support, and customer service and regulation, to help you get a better understanding of how Origin Energy is as an energy provider and whether they are a good choice for you.
Origin Energy rates and price
Origin Energy offers multiple plans, all of which have different rates and discounts. Their most heavily discounted energy plan, Origin Go, offers upwards of 17% discount off the reference price (depending on location and energy distribution network), which makes it comparable to other energy providers, particularly those that focus on simple low rates. While not the cheapest energy provider on the market, their higher rates are made worth it thanks to their extensive customer service and additional services and features. If you’re a solar energy customer, however, you’ll probably find better solar feed-in-tariff rates elsewhere, unless you purchased your solar PV system through Origin.
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Origin Energy and renewables
Origin Energy was once known as “the Dirty Three”, meaning it was one of the worst energy providers for carbon emissions and nonrenewable energy generation. In recent years, however, Origin Energy has slowly begun to improve their clean and green energy portfolio, but is it enough?
GreenPower and Green Gas: As a GreenPower accredited energy provider, Origin Energy customers are able to offset their carbon emissions through GreenPower. For an additional cost (starting at 65c per week for electricity and $1 per week for gas), customers can reduce the impact their energy usage has on the environment by putting renewable energy back into the electricity grid. If you’re an Everyday Rewards member with an Origin Go plan, you automatically get 25% GreenPower added to your account, for free.
GreenPeace: The Green Electricity Guide, published by GreenPeace in 2018, outlines the greenest and least green energy providers in Australia. GreenPeace gives Origin Energy 3.5 out of 5 stars on their guide, just behind AGL but ahead of EnergyAustralia. GreenPeace cites Origin Energy’s continued support of mining and coal generation, and current investments in coal seam gas, and coal power stations, as reasons for their low score.
Renewable energy portfolio: Currently, 20% of Origin Energy’s owned and contracted energy generation comes from renewable resources. This includes wind power, solar energy, mini-hydro power, and biomass and biogas.
Solar PV systems: Origin Energy is an accredited solar retailer, having installed more than 1.3 million solar PV systems across Australia. With their Solar Boost Plus plan, only available to customers who have purchased solar panels through Origin Energy, customers get some of the highest solar feed-in-tariff on the market. In addition, SolarQuotes gives Origin Energy as a solar retailer 4.0 out of 5 stars, making it a safe choice to invest in residential solar.
Origin Energy billing and payments
Origin Energy offers flexible billing and payment options to customers on all their plans, since they removed Origin Energy Max Saver online and replaced it with Origin Go. Here we outline some of the features Origin Energy offers when it comes to billing and payments.
E-billing or bills by post? Origin Energy gives customers the option to receive bills and communication either by email or through the mail, meaning you never need to worry about missing a bill.
Flexible payment methods: While the retired Origin Max Saver Online special only allowed for direct debit and e-billing, all Origin Energy plans now give you the flexibility to pay how you want, whether its direct debit, online, sending a cheque or money order by mail, with BPAY, or in person at any Aussie Post Office
Billing frequency: Choose between monthly or quarterly billing, whichever is easier for you.
EasiPay: Origin Energy’s bill-smoothing service, EasiPay, allows customers to pay smaller amounts more frequently by looking at past and predicted future energy usage. EasiPay helps customers avoid billshock, with smaller, more manageable bills.
Origin Energy financial hardship and the Power On Program
Origin Energy offers support to those experiencing financial hardship. If you’re experiencing financial hardship, no matter the reason, your first step is to contact Origin Energy and discuss your options with them. These options include:
Payment extension: If you need a little extra time on a bill, you can request an extension by logging into your Origin Energy My Account.
Payment plan: If you’ve fallen behind on bills, Origin Energy can help tailor a payment plan to help cover current debt and future energy usage for the next two years. These include smaller, more frequent payment installments that cover both debt and usage, as well as flexibility to change the plan if necessary.
Origin Energy Power On Program: Origin Energy’s comprehensive Power On program rolls together all their financial help and services into one single program to ensure the lights stay on. This includes flexible payment plans, information about energy rebates and concessions, referral to a financial counselor, and help with finding ways to reduce energy usage and consumption.
Home energy advice: Origin Energy will help you reduce your energy consumption, either by coming to your home or talking on the phone. With Origin Energy’s home energy advice, they’ll help you reduce your energy consumption by discussing your energy usage, appliance usage, and the layout of your home.
Origin Energy My Account
Origin Energy offers online account management through the Origin Energy My Account, available both online and via their Origin My Account app. With Origin Energy My Account, you can:
- See the bills you owe
- Find out all the ways to pay
- Check on your solar energy export
- Get help when you need for any questions or concerns
- Renew, or change, your energy plan
- Move home with Origin Energy
- Submit your own meter reading
- View and track energy usage
- Request payment extensions
Customer service and regulation
Origin Energy customer service is a subjective experience but according to the Australian Energy Regulator 2018-2019 Retail Market Report, Origin Energy is slowly improving in their customer service experience:
- Between 2017-18 and 2018-19, Origin Energy improved the number of calls taken within 30 seconds (from 59% to 63%)
- The average wait time for a call reduced from 108 seconds, to 76 seconds
- The number of calls abandoned before being answered stayed at 11% between 2017-18 and 2018-19
In addition, the AER also outlined the number of complaints Origin Energy received, and it is as follows:
|2017-18 complaints to retailer||2018-19 complaints to retailer||2018-19 complaints to energy ombudsmen|
|New South Wales||31,799 complaints
2.8% of customers
2.3% of customers
3.5% of customers
2.6% of customers
2.5% of customers
2.1% of customers
|South Australia||8,702 complaints
3.9% of customers
3.3% of customers
|National total||57,829 complaints
3.175% of customers
2.575% of customers
*Victoria and Western Australia are not represented in the AER Market Retail Reports.
In the AEMC, in the Retail Energy Competition Review of 2020 also made the following notes about Origin Energy for the previous year:
- Two infringement notices ($40,000 total) for failure to appoint a metering coordinator when a consumers meter was faulty
- Four infringement notices ($80,000 total) for unlawful disconnections
Customer ratings and reviews of Origin Energy
No review is complete without looking at what others think of Origin Energy. Here, we’ve compiled reviews from across the web to help you make a better and more informed decision on your energy provider to see if Origin Energy is right for you.
ProductReview customers give Origin Energy 1.3 out of 5 stars. This breaks down to the following:
- 1,983 total reviews
- 1,708 one-star reviews
- 75 five-star reviews
TrustPilot customers give Origin Energy 1.5 out of 5 stars, which can be seen in the following:
- 36 total reviews
- 92% “bad” reviews
- 8% “poor” reviews
MOZO customers give Origin Energy 6.7 out of 10 stars with 1,600 total customer reviews. This includes:
- 6 out of 10 in price
- 6.5 out of 10 in bill clarity
- 7 out of 10 in customer service
- 6 out of 10 in green friendly
It’s important to remember that customers are more likely to leave a negative review, rather than a positive one, and this only accounts for a small percentage of Origin Energy customers. In addition, this takes into account both verified and unverified reviews, which may not be entirely accurate.
The verdict: Origin Energy review
Origin Energy is one of “the Big Three”, and as one of the largest energy retailers, generators, and solar installers in Australia, it’s hard to argue with its millions of customers. But is Origin Energy a good energy provider?
|Pros of Origin Energy|
|Solar: If you’re interested in purchasing a solar PV system, Origin Energy might be a good solar retailer, as their Solar Boost Plus program offers one of the largest solar FiT in the market|
|Account management: Origin Energy My Account gives you control over your energy account, contract, and consumption with their simple online platform and phone app|
|Customer service & regulation: Energy market regulator reports show that Origin Energy is slowly bettering its customer service call times, and reducing the number of complaints it receives|
|Cons of Origin Energy|
|Price: Origin Energy is not the most competitive energy provider on the market, offering mid-tier discounts that might entice some with their Everyday Rewards or high Solar Boost Plus feed-in-tariff|
|Renewables: Origin Energy only generates 20% of their energy from renewable resources and customers need to pay extra for carbon offset. There are smaller and greener companies out there, that offer more renewable energy for less|
|Customer reviews:Perhaps the most telling parameter, customers across the board rate Origin Energy poorly. It is, however, important to remember that most energy companies have poor customer reviews, and Origin Energy is decidedly average when compared to other providers|