Money & Banking

Seniors’ tips for switching energy providers

Seniors’ tips for switching energy providers

The kids have moved on, you’re getting ready for retirement or have already done so – now it’s time to start thinking about you. Time to get out and have some fun, look after yourself, and avoid overspending unnecessarily.

One of the ways you can cut back on the spending is by switching energy providers. Although it won’t make you rich, even saving $50-$100 a month can make a huge difference in your retirement fund. And it’s a fast and easy way to save. Before you switch though, there are a few things you need to take into account.

Understand your current plan

To start with, check your contract to see if there are any clauses that may prevent you from switching or that result in a fee if you do so. This could be included on your bill or you can give them a call and ask. Better that you understand this up-front than to be surprised down the track.

Now, before you switch to another plan, get to know what you’re currently dealing with. You can’t get a better deal if you don’t know what you’re paying right now. Your bill should include a daily supply charge – which is a fixed charge to supply electricity to your property; and a usage charge – the charge you pay for the electricity, based on cents per kilowatt hour (c/kWh).

Some bills may also include a single rate, so you pay the same amount regardless of the time of day, time of use which is different rates during peak and off-peak, and controlled load – one rate for general use and another for specific appliances. Understanding what you pay now will help you through the next step...

Know your entitlements

Did you know that once you have a Pensioner Concession Card or Seniors Card, you’re entitled to a Government discount? Ah, the benefits of getting older and wiser. Here’s a breakdown of the states:

NSW: In New South Wales, seniors receive a $200 discount, paid directly into the concession card holder’s account.

ACT: ACT offers seasonal discounts of $2.88183 per day during winter, and $0.76925 a day during summer.

WA: In Western Australia, the energy assistance payment is $305 per quarter.

SA: South Australia offers a direct daily rate cut of $0.634.

QLD: Queensland is around $340 per quarter, or $0.8489 per day.

VIC: Victorians receive a 17.5% discount annually off their total bill and an extra $0.09053 off their daily rates, for electricity bills below $482.90. If your bill is more than that, you can apply for the Excess Electricity Concession.

Other discounts are available as well depending on the service carrier, so do your research.

Compare, compare, compare

Anyone can call you up and say, “Hey, have we got a great deal for you!” But let’s face it: in this day and age you really want to be doing your research before you take their word for it.

Using a comparison tool that allows you to see the different prices, features and benefits of each energy option is your best bet. It’s a great way to determine what you want versus what you need versus what they’re trying to sell you. You can work out how much money you’ll save per quarter, find out the exact features in each plan, and learn about a range of special discounts each provider offers.

And don’t forget to check if they have Plans for Seniors! You’ll save even more.

This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with GoSwitch.