Cut Your Australian Electricity Bill By Threatening To Switch Providers

I just cut my ongoing electricity bill usage charges by 7% and got a $100 credit to my next electricity bill without having to switch from my current NSW electricity provider. Read on to find out how any Australian like you can negotiate a similar deal with your electricity power company to save money by threatening to switch to another electricity provider.

Australian electricity companies

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On July 1st 2010 electricity prices rose in many parts of Australia by a large amount, putting further pressure on family budgets. They went up 9.2% in Queensland, 10% in Western Australia (on top of a 25% rise the previous year), while Victorians faced a jump of up to 35% for peak use between 7am and 11pm. In New South Wales the cost of electricity will rise by between 20% and 42% by 2013.

My friend Ryan has previously explained how using an electricity usage meter and thereby changing your appliance usage behaviour can cut your electricity bills and help the environment at the same time.

Smart people can further cut their quarterly home electricity bill by doing just 30 minutes of research on the internet and making a phone call to your current electricity company to negotiate a deal.

Almost all big companies have secret “customer retention” policies. They hate losing existing longterm customers so if you call them, threaten to close your account and tell them you’re switching away to a specific better offer by a rival company they are very likely to offer you a ongoing discount to your bill and/or a one off bill credit for staying with them.

First get your last electricity bill and note down the cost of your total bill as well as the breakdown of fixed supply costs and peak/offpeak electricity usage costs.

Second use a search engine like Google to search for phrases like switch electricity nsw, switch electricity qld etc as appropriate for the abbreviation of your state/territory. In NSW it’s much easier because you can compare all the offers through the impartial IPART website my Energy Offers.

Third Note down the different offers and contract cancellation fees that rival providers to your electricity company are offering for you to switch to them as well as the offers that your current electricity company is making to get new customers to switch to them. Example switching incentive offers I saw were $300 credit for a new 3 year electricity contract and 10% off usage charges for the first year if you switch.

Fourth Call the Sales Department at your current electricity power company.

Explain how rising electricity prices are having an impact on your budget and although you really like your existing electricity company you just received a really good offer from [insert rival electricity company name] for [specific discount/credit offer eg: 10% off usage or $150 switching credit] and unfortunately you’ll have to switch.

When I did that they initially offered me 7% off usage fees if I signed a 2 year contract. I made it clear I was disappointed by that my electricity company was offering new customers a deal of 7% off usage fees and a once off $150 credit on their first electricity bill and not making much of an effort to keep me, an existing good long term customer who has always paid my bills on time.

Suddenly the customer service representative “discovered” an additional deal they could make: 7% off usage fees if I signed a 2 year contract and $100 credit off my next electricity bill. Realistically this was a very good offer so I verbally agreed to that contract over the phone and will start saving money on electricity starting tomorrow.

Don’t just complain to your family and friends that your electricity bills keep rising, without doing anything about it. Doing a little research and driving a tough bargain with your current electricity provider can save you a lot of money on power bills. Also using an electricity usage meter and thereby changing your appliance usage behaviour can cut your electricity bills and help the environment at the same time.

PS I just spoke about this topic on 1233 ABC Newcastle Radio Afternoons with Carol Duncan. You can listen to the discussion (MP3 file)) by clicking on the play button.

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