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“You could well find a 10% discount offer is better for you than a 30% discount offer”*

Tips to help you make the best choice

Lookout for discounts that are high, disappear or difficult to qualify for

Lookout for discounts that are high, disappear or difficult to qualify for

When you see an electricity offer with a large discount, it may be hiding high base rates. If the discount disappears you end up with a large increase in your bill.

Watch out for discounts that you have to jump over hurdles to qualify for (such as pay ahead every month or visiting a website or app every week).  Failure to comply may lead to bill shock.

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Some discounts are only on a small portion of your bill

Some discounts are only on a small portion of your bill

This is another way of hiding high base rates. Some big discounts only apply to usage charges.

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Comparison sites do have limitations

Comparison sites do have limitations

Some comparison sites are just sales sites, earning big commissions when you act on their recommendation to switch.

If you want to analyse every electricity offer and regularly switch, then comparison sites can be useful. Watch out for the complexities of discounts, how they are calculated and what your extra cost is when they disappear. Then get ready to do it all again.

Solar provides even more challenges for comparison sites and many don’t take into account factors such as solar system size, the amount of electricity you export, when you export and different ways discounts are calculated (read on below).

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Choose the electricity offer and retailer that is right for you

Choose the electricity offer and retailer that is right for you

When choosing an electricity offer, you should take into account all aspects of the offer, including base rates, discounts, how long the discounts continue and other fees and charges.

Also consider whether you want to extensively analyse all the market offerings every year, or do you want to choose an electricity retailer that sets you up, keeps it simple and ensures sure you are getting good value every day?

You can also consider whether you want to support an electricity retailer that is supporting renewable generation and a sustainable future.

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Got solar? Additional tips to help you

Watch out for electricity offers that penalise solar

Watch out for electricity offers that penalise solar

Is your electricity retailer providing the same electricity rates and discounts as properties without solar? Beware, some electricity retailers have higher rates and lower discounts if you have solar.

That is not very solar friendly.

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Some discounts penalise solar

Some discounts penalise solar

Did you know that a discount calculated on your total bill (after your feed in credits) is discounting the value of your solar?

Discounts to usage charges and supply charges are a much more transparent and fairer option for solar customers.

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Beware of extra fees

Beware of extra fees

Understand if an offer includes extra fees such as solar administration fees, solar meter fees (esp. in QLD) or fees to receive payment for solar credits. These can penalise solar customers.

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Ensure your retailer can help you maximise your solar savings

Ensure your retailer can help you maximise your solar savings

You’ve invested in solar, now maximise it.

A solar friendly electricity retailer will not penalise solar customers. With knowledge of solar, they can help you understand how and when to best use electricity. They can offer tips on how to save energy and also recommend which electricity rate structure works best for you.

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(Clicking each tip will provide more information)

*Rod Simms, ACCC Chairman, Lateline 20/9/2017