Energy Tips with Money Matchmaker®

Australian Energy Discounts

Written by

Shaun McGowan

How to get a discount on your energy plan

Discounts are a percentage deduction made from your electricity costs at the end of each billing period. Energy discounts are only available on market retail contracts, and the amount you are discounted – if at all – will vary across different plans and electricity companies:

  • The discount amount, which can vary from as low as 2% up to 40% or more, will usually be taken off your electricity usage costs
  • Some providers have discounts off your entire bill instead
  • Not all high-discount plans work out the cheapest overall options as some of the contracts with the highest discounts will also include the highest usage or supply charges
  • Failing to meet the conditions of your discount could also mean you are charged a fee
  • Energy discounts may have benefit periods and can expire

Electricity Provider Discounts

Discounts you might commonly encounter include:

  • Pay on time discount
  • Direct Debit discount
  • Bundled energy discount
  • Email billing discount
  • Unconditional energy discount
Find out about how to save the most on your energy bill with Money Matchmaker

Pay on time discount

A pay on time discount means you will receive a set percentage off your electricity costs at the end of the billing period – provided that you settle your bill on or before the due date. Pay on time discounts are the most common form of energy discount, but the amount you receive off your bill can vary considerably. This will depend on your energy retailer and the plan you are on. Pay on time discounts can be off your entire bill or just usage charges.

Direct Debit discount

By having your electricity bill automatically debited from your selected bank account – rather than making manual payments every time – you could be eligible for a direct debit discount. It’s a simple and effective way to save money for those who are comfortable with direct debiting. A direct debit discount could be off your entire bill or just usage charges.

Bundled energy discount

If your home or business uses natural gas provided through the same retailer as your electricity, you may be eligible for a ‘bundled’ discount. This discount, also known as a double up discount, can vary considerably across retailers from 2% to 15%. The discount could be off your whole bill or just usage charges. Like with other discounts, there will likely be a benefit period which could expire after one or two years.

Australia's Money Matchmaker matching you with your best loans across multiple lenders
Compare electricity and gas plans separately to ensure you find a price point that you’re comfortable paying – regardless of brand.

Email billing discount

Discounts are offered by the energy retailers for anything that makes their lives a little easier, or just saves them money. This is the case with email billing discounts. If you receive your bills by email instead of post, energy providers will often give you a modest discount as reward. This will also mean receiving all other communications via email instead of post.

Unconditional energy discount

It’s all in the name. An unconditional energy discount refers to discounts that are applied to your power bill that aren’t dependent on you fulfilling any conditions. Regardless of your chosen payment method, how you receive your energy bill or whether or not you’re early on your bill payment, you can expect an unconditional energy discount to apply to the amount you have due. This discount can apply to the whole bill or just usage charges.

Electricity concessions to save money

Each state and territory provides a number of government-mandated concessions designed to assist households experiencing hardship that affects electricity requirements or their ability to pay their bills. Depending on the type of government concession or rebate, customers may be required to hold one of the following:

  • Senior Card
  • Pensioner Concession Card
  • Centrelink Health Care Card
  • Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold Card

The names and availability of assistance schemes will vary across states, but they generally include:

  • Emergency relief assistance: Customers who are at risk of being disconnected due to a legitimate inability to pay their utility bill may be eligible to receive a one-off payment. This can only be applied every 12 or 24 months depending on your state.
  • Medical Energy rebate: Customers who require energy-consuming medical equipment or must regularly use heating or cooling appliances for medical purposes may receive an annual rebate of around $200. Some states such as Victoria instead supply a reasonable discount on your energy bill.

Other rebates, concessions and discounts: Depending on your state, several other assistance programs may be available to you if you are:

  • A senior citizen
  • A veteran
  • A low income earner

Tips to compare electricity plans

  • Be sure you carefully weigh up the pros and cons of each plan, and avoid being swayed by discounts and attractive offers – these usually have a time limit, where your plan will revert to a higher rate at the end of this period. Be sure to check any new plans against your old one, to ensure it is suitable.
  • Your switch won’t occur right when you sign up with your new provider; the changeover will take place on your next meter read, which can take up to three months, depending on your last meter read. If you want to speed up this process, you will need to pay a callout fee.
  • Don’t forget to cancel payments to your former energy provider if you had set up a direct debit account.
Improve your credit score with Money Matchmaker

About Money.com.au

Money.com.au want to make managing money easy and fun! By giving Australians simple tools so they can make the best decisions they can about their money.

We understand that the world of finance is complex, and offer free, extensive guides on Personal Loans, Car Loans and Business Loans, along with tools like our Budget Planning Spreadsheet to help you better manage and understand personal finance.

About the Author

Shaun McGowan from money.com.au

Shaun

McGowan

Shaun McGowan

Shaun is the founder of Money.com.au and is determined to help people pay as little as possible for financial products. Through education and building world class technology. Previously Shaun co-founded CarLoans.com.au and Lend.

Disclaimer: All information and details for listed plans, discounts, incentives, usage charges, and fees are only accurate at the time of writing, and may not accurately reflect the rates offered when applying. Actual rates may differ based on your location, electricity and gas use, or eligibility for plans.

  • Jot down your new energy provider’s billing cycle, as it could be more or less frequent than your billing period from your previous provider. Some energy providers offer free smartphone apps, so customers can keep a closer eye on their energy costs – as well as set alerts for when a bill is due.
  • Review your current electricity plan’s terms and conditions to find out if you could face any early exit fees for cancelling before your contract renews. It’s a good idea to keep these termination fees in mind, even if the cost is less than the amount you’ll save by switching.
  • By understanding your usage charges and any discounts currently applied to your account, you’ll have a clearer picture of what is ‘good value’ when weighing up your current plan against another. This information may be on your bill. Otherwise, you may need to contact your provider to find out.
  • Before comparing energy providers, it’s essential you have all the information you need before finding the right plan for your needs. For instance, a family of five will often have very different energy usage needs compared to a single resident who is rarely home.
  • A quick way to work out how much electricity and gas you typically use is to compare your energy bills from the last year. Doing so will give you an indication of how your energy usage changes across different seasons.
  • If your current energy provider is waiting for you to repay any outstanding invoices, or if you have a financial hardship agreement with your provider, you won’t be able to switch to another retailer. If this applies to you, you’ll need to repay the outstanding debt before you’re free to change over.
  • Remember, though, that you can switch retailers even if you haven’t completed your current billing cycle with your provider (so long as you don’t have overdue payments). You won’t be billed twice, as your current retailer will send you a final bill after the switch date, and then you’ll receive bills from your new provider.

More about comparing energy plans in Australia

Address

Money Pty Ltd,
Suite 3, Level 2,
1 Taylor Street,
Moorabbin, VIC, 3189 Australia

Company

Money Pty Ltd trading as Money
ABN: 42 626 094 773
ACL: 528698
AFCA: 83955

© Copyright 2021 Money Ltd.



Disclaimer

Money Pty Ltd (trading as Money.com.au) provides information about credit products and is authorised to do so as the holder of Australian Credit Licence 528698. Money.com.au does not compare every Lender in Australia. We are not a broker or credit provider and when we provide information via this website, we are not providing you with a recommendation or suggestion about a particular credit product. When you apply for a credit product via the Money.com.au website, you are not applying with us, you are applying directly with a Lender Partner. Before entering into any credit product from one of our Lender Partners, you should confirm the rates and product information with the Lender. All information on this website is general advice only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider whether this advice is right for you and we encourage you to seek independent financial advice.