- Learn how to find the best electricity deal.
- We provide information for people in New South Wales, south-east Queensland and South Australia only. These areas are covered by the Electricity Retail Code that the ACCC enforces.
What the ACCC does
- We provide general guidance on how consumers can find the best electricity deal.
- We monitor retailers’ compliance with the Electricity Retail Code.
What the ACCC can't do
Electricity companies must follow the Electricity Retail Code. The code provides companies with a standard way of setting out their electricity prices, such as using the ‘reference price’. This makes it easier for you to compare prices and get the best deal.
We provide information that explains how to work out the best plan for you and how to compare electricity prices and plans. Find out more about getting the best deal.
The ACCC provides information for people in New South Wales, south-east Queensland and South Australia. These areas are covered by the Electricity Retail Code that the ACCC enforces.
Electricity companies in these regions must follow the Electricity Retail Code. This code provides companies with a standard way of setting out their electricity prices. This makes it easier for consumers to compare prices and get the best deal.
Visit a website for your state or region to help you compare electricity costs.
|State, territory or region||Where to compare your electricity costs|
New South Wales
|Australian Capital Territory||Energy Made Easy|
|Northern Territory||Utilities Commission NT|
|Regional Queensland||Energy Made Easy|
|Tasmania||Energy Made Easy|
|Victoria||Victorian Energy Compare|
|Western Australia||Economic Regulation Authority|
The Energy Made Easy website includes a list of distributors and the network regions they operate. Tariffs are used for calculating your bill. There are many different tariff types. Tariffs are explained on the Energy Made Easy website.
A great way to save money on your electricity bill is to shop around and compare plans. The following information explains how to work out the best plan for you.
1. Use the reference price
The Australian Government sets the reference price so you can compare deals from different companies.
2. Review your plan
You can review your electricity plan on the Energy Made Easy website. You just need to upload your bill or enter your usage and the site can help you find the best deal. We suggest comparing at least 3 plans.
3. Compare rates
Compare the electricity rates you are getting now with other companies’ rates. You can find your rates on your electricity bill.
Using the reference price helps you compare ‘apples with apples’ when comparing plans.
The reference price is a benchmark price for electricity set by the Australian Government. It’s based on average electricity use in your area. You can compare different plans to the reference price to find a good deal.
Use of a percentage
Electricity companies must use a percentage to show you how their advertised price compares to the reference price. This includes all types of advertisements, such as on the electricity company’s website, on the radio, print ads and telesales. This makes it easy for you to compare different electricity plans and prices.
A bigger percentage off the reference price usually means a cheaper plan.
|PLAN A||PLAN B|
|8% less than reference price||3% less than the reference price|
In this case, Plan A is cheaper than Plan B if you use the average amount of electricity in your area.
Compare this percentage across different plans to get an idea of the best deal.
Some plans take money off your bill if you pay on time or pay by direct debit. These are called conditional discounts. If there are any conditional discounts on an electricity plan, companies must compare them to the reference price.
You can also compare conditional discounts across plans.
|PLAN C||PLAN D|
|10% less than reference price||10% less than the reference price|
|plus an extra 5% off from the reference price if you always pay on time||plus an extra 1% off from the reference price if you always pay on time|
In this case, Plan C is cheaper than Plan D if you use the average amount of electricity in your area and always pay on time.
Estimated annual cost
Electricity companies must estimate a cost for the year with all the discounts included. You can use this price to help compare different plans.
You may end up paying more or less for electricity than advertised. These prices are based on the average electricity use for your area. If you use more electricity, your bill will be higher. If you use less electricity, your bill will be lower.
Electricity companies may give you an estimate based on your actual usage if you give them extra information, such as your street address.
What an ad might look like
In this ad:
- This advertisement shows how this plan compares to the benchmark price set by the Australian Government. This plan is 12% off the reference price. The reference price is $1,475 a year on a flat rate tariff. An ad may not show the reference price in dollars. However, you will see how the electricity plan compares to the reference price as a percentage.
- This plan also includes a conditional discount of an extra 3% off the reference price if you always pay on time. This means that if you always pay on time, the price would be 15% less than the reference price.
- This plan is based on average electricity use of 3,900 kWh per year in the Ausgrid network region.
- This is the estimated annual cost for average electricity use in the area including the conditional discount. This means someone who uses an average amount of electricity and always pays on time would pay $1,254 a year.
Ausgrid is one of the many electricity distributors that own the power lines and poles that supply electricity to your home or premises.
Do’s and don’ts of using the reference price to compare electricity plans
- Do compare the percentages off the reference price in different plans. It’s a quick and easy way to compare deals.
- Do compare conditional discounts across different plans.
- Do compare the lowest possible price across plans. It’s a quick and easy way to compare different deals.
- Don’t read the lowest possible price as the price you will get under the plan – your bill will change depending on your usage.
To make sure you’re on the best deal, check your plan and talk to your electricity company once a year.
To work out the best plan for you, upload your bill or enter your usage information on the Energy Made Easy website.
You might not have to move to a different electricity company to get the best deal. Start by talking to your current electricity company to find out what deal they can offer you.
You can ask these key questions to help:
- How does my current plan compare with the reference price?
A higher percentage off the reference price will usually be a better deal for you.
- What’s your best deal at the moment?
Don’t forget to ask how long a deal lasts. Try to lock in any savings by asking for the discount to be ongoing.
- Are there any conditional discounts on your plans? Can I save more by paying on time or setting up a direct debit?
You might save more by paying on time or setting up a direct debit.
You can compare your current rates to rates in other electricity plans. One of the best ways to do this is to use your electricity bill.
The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has information to help you understand your energy bill.
Energy Made Easy also lets you compare electricity costs.
Problems with your current electricity company
If you have a problem with your electricity company, try talking to them to resolve it.
If you still can’t resolve it, you can send them your complaint in writing. This way the company is clearly aware of the problem and what you want. It also means that you have a record of what you’ve said.
If you can’t resolve the issue with your electricity company, contact the Energy and Water Ombudsman in your state or territory. You can find the contact details for your Energy and Water Ombudsman on the Useful contacts page of the Energy Made Easy website.
The Get energy smart page on the Energy Made Easy website can also help you understand more about the different types of plans, what your rights are and what to do if you have a problem.
Report an issue to the ACCC
Tell us if you think an electricity company isn’t using the reference price when they should be. You can also tell us if you think a company’s advertising is misleading.
We use these reports to identify issues that need investigation.