Power Bills for Dummies: 5 Things Everyone Should Know

Here are 5 terms that could help you save up to $1500 on your Electricity and Gas bills.

Energy bills can be confusing, making it hard to know if you’ve got the cheapest plan for your household.

But learn a few basic terms and you’ll have the ammo you need to compare offers and save hundreds.

In fact, average-size households can save up to $1500 in some states by changing Electricity and Gas providers, according to the Australian Energy Regulator.^

Here are a five handy definitions to keep in mind when you start shopping around to try and slash your power bills.

1. Discount:

This is the amount you can save off the rates by shopping around among the providers and paying your bill on time. Most discounts only apply to the Usage Charge, but some apply to BOTH the Usage and Daily Supply Charges. Do check!

9Saver Tip: Discounts above 25% are now available in Victoria, NSW, SE QLD and South Australia. See the special discounts for 9Saver subscribers at this link.

2. Standing Offer:

This is the basic offer for electricity and gas. If you never shop around, this is the plan you will automatically be given, without any discount applied. Each energy retailer will have a different standing offer. Thanks to a new rule announced last week by the Energy Minister^^, all discounts must now be applied to the standing offer rates.

3. Usage Charge:

This is a charge based on how much electricity or gas you actually use. Most discounts apply to this charge, but only some discounts apply to the daily supply charge below.

4. Daily Supply Charge:

This is a fixed charge to get electricity to your home EVEN IF YOU DO NOT USE ANY. You cannot avoid this charge, but you can keep an eye out for discounts that apply to this charge as well as the usage charge.

5. Exit fee:

These are more and more rare nowadays, which is great news for consumers. Check whether you have one, how much it is and whether it still applies when comparing the rates and discounts for different offers.

There’s plenty of other jargon such as ‘peak’, ‘off-peak’, ‘shoulder’ and ‘controlled load’ rates, plus ‘feed-in tariffs’ for solar customers.

But the basics above will be enough to tell you whether one offer is better than another. If not, call the provider and ask them to give you a price comparison.

If you want to know more, you can also read 9Saver’s Electricity & Gas Savings Guide.

* In highlighting particular offers we are not making specific recommendations as this article does not cover all available products and may not compare all features relevant to you. Any advice provided is general in nature and does not take account of your needs, objectives or financial situation. Individuals should consider their own circumstances, and if in doubt seek appropriate advice, before proceeding.
^source: https://www.aer.gov.au/news-release/save-money-in-south-australia-with-energy-made-easy
^^source: https://www.aemc.gov.au/news-centre/media-releases/putting-stop-energy-discounting-leaves-consumers-worse