32,000 on board as Power Campaign enters final week

The campaign has smashed its original target of 10,000 Aussie homes.

Energy prices have been rising for decades, and many households are feeling the pressure. Figures show a record 42,000 families are living in energy poverty and energy bills are the number one cause of stress in most households.

Last month we introduced you to the 9Saver power campaign, which is aiming to harness the combined buying power of Aussie homes to source special energy discounts.

Since the campaign launched two weeks ago, close to 32,000 Aussie homes have signed up — proving that there are plenty of people who want to see changes to their power bills.

Just like many of us, Barbara Thorn and Neil Colquhoun are fed up. But instead of remaining that way, the have taken matters into their own hands, by switching providers.

Thorn and Colquhoun are switchers.

“The last bill before we swapped providers was about $650, now we’re paying $450,” Colquhoun told A Current Affair.

“I saved over $100 and I’m pretty happy with that,” said Thorn. “$100 in my pocket is better than paying it out to an energy company  so I’m really pleased.”

That kind of saving can potentially make a big difference, particularly if you’re supporting a family or living on a pension.

“I only recently retired last year and for me having to move over into a pension, it makes a difference,” Thorn told A Current Affair.

Unhappy with EnergyAustralia, she found a better deal with Alinta in December last year, and is now saving around $100 on her bill.

She’s also made changes around the home, and is convinced she’ll save even more on her next bill.

“I’ve just put my whole house on LED lights, so I’ve gone through the whole house so that should make a big change to my electricity,” Thorn said.

And those energy bill savings really add up over the course of a year.

“In effect we were saving — I just calculated it yesterday — something like $350 a quarter, which is really quite extraordinary,” Colquhoun said.

“I think there’s been a lot of angst in the community from the general public and from consumers so we thought, well let’s see what’s going and lets see what we can get. We were pretty pleased.”

Consumer campaigner Christopher Zinn says it’s not too late for you to join the campaign at 9Saver, which is part of the Nine Network Entertainment Company.

“The potential savings from switching can be hundreds of dollars and in some areas perhaps a thousand dollars and that’s not just coming from me, that’s coming from the Australian Energy Regulator and some of the other bodies in this area,” Zinn said.

“The people behind-the-scenes at 9saver are talking to the electricity companies, I’m not sure what the offers will be yet but I know it will be worth looking at and you can also use that to talk to your existing provider and perhaps get a better offer,” Zinn said.

“If one person who’s paying well over the odds for electricity, changes to something that’s better, I’m happy with that because once you’ve switched, then you’re likely to switch in financial services, all sorts of other areas where you might be paying well over the odds. That’s the secret to being a savvy consumer these days.”

“People out there who haven’t made the switch, or haven’t taken the trouble to find out what they can get — they’re only going to suffer more pain and not take advantage of what’s going on, and what’s available. I suggest go and do it straight away,” said Zinn.

Switcher Barbara Thorn had one final message for energy consumers.

“Make the change,” Thorn said.

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