Did you hear the one about the business paying thousands on energy, while his next door neighbour pays cents? How about the urban legend of the five figure handling fees?
Energy bills can be overwhelming at best, and if you’re going cross-eyed from the market itself, you’re not alone. According to research commissioned on behalf of Powershop, 53% of those asked found the energy market confusing, while 67% believe energy bills are confusing on purpose.
So let’s debunk some common myths out there about energy and bills with one of our market experts and Head of Broking Dave Marsh, whose knowledge and experience has saved his Choice Energy customers thousands each month.
Myth: Staying loyal will get you the biggest discount on your energy bills
“Unfortunately, this one is not true. In fact, data from CoreLogic last year suggests that you may actually be experiencing a kind of penalty by staying loyal, with new customers being offered better rates than you are”
The expert advice here? “Don’t be afraid to move around -- You won’t find many retention tactics in this industry like you do with telcos or entertainment, so I always ensure my customers are getting a wide range of opportunities from multiple providers”
Myth: Energy retailers make up prices and can charge you what they want
While it might feel like the industry hikes up prices on a whim, or punishes you out when your current contract lapses, there are actually some safety nets in place. “If you’re in Victoria, New South Wales or South-east Queensland” says Marsh “homes and small businesses are protected by the Default Market Offer (DMO) if you’re on a standing offer contract. This was brought in in 2019 to try to keep the market fair for consumers and stop sneaky behaviour”.
Is the DMO enough to keep your bills reasonable? “It depends on what you consider reasonable - but by comparison to what we can find and broker for you, default rates are rarely your best offer. It’s always worth comparing to what providers are willing to offer you”
And on that note…
Myth: Comparison websites will show me the best deal
“Using a comparison website might feel empowering” he says “but it’s also not giving you a more holistic opportunity to really dig down and get the best offer a provider can give”
As Choice Energy brokers, we put the legwork into a more complete energy strategy that puts the customer in the best position possible, and it also takes into consideration other aspects like solar and your full consumption profile. The power always remains in the customer's hands at all times, as well. There’s no pressure to change, just advice and strategy. Something comparison websites probably cannot offer you like a dedicated broker can”.
Myth: Investing in solar will always bring your energy bills down and save you money
Solar is all the rage for all the right reasons. But is it always a foregone conclusion?
“Not always, but we also see solar for homes and businesses a little differently. We’re extremely customer oriented, and that means being able to prove a business case for any investment”. In other words, if a commercial solar system won’t balance out in cost and benefit for a decent ROI, it might not recommend it if saving is your goal.
“Ultimately, we want solar to work hard for you to lower costs as well as your carbon footprint. We want to help you make those choices and changes that see a benefit to your business, so where other solar providers might be preparing an outrageous quote to cover every single square inch of your factory roof or commercial building in panels, we’ll be doing the design work to understand your current and future usage, and how to balance a system that keeps you cash flow positive from day one.
Plenty of our customers have improved their sustainability profiles already with solar that costs them the same or a little less as their previous energy bills, and once financing is complete, they should be generating clean energy for no cost for the next few decades. That’s pretty reassuring, given we can only expect the price of energy to increase with time”
So what about those who wouldn’t see benefits? “You don’t have to own a building to get solar, as the systems are portable and cause minimal change to the structure. But if your building or site isn’t right due to direction or trees and structures blocking your sunlight, there are still plenty of ways to save on grid energy that can take into account your desire for greener energy”
Myth: You only need to focus on the cost of energy per hour - everything else is irrelevant
“Wouldn’t that be nice!” jokes Marsh “But unfortunately there’s a lot to be taken into account when it comes to your energy bill, and certain areas are more important than others.
For example, you might have a couple of dollars tacked on for processing or admin, which are generally not huge game changers. But if you’re a large energy user, it might be further charges like your network tariff that could be adding thousands to your bills, when it doesn’t need to be”
“Looking beyond the actual energy cost, we’ve had customers that have avoided enormously costly network upgrade fees due to their demand thanks to a more holistic approach to the issue. Ultimately if we’d focused on cost per kwH alone, they would be in a world of pain in terms of ongoing energy bills”
With our myths now debunked, what can a business owner or manager do, today, to lower energy bills with Choice Energy?
“Probably the best part of my job is when new customers discover they really don’t have to do much at all! Once we’ve got the lay of the land and you’ve sent through your latest energy bills, the hard work is on us to get the information for you and translate it into something digestible.
Our goal isn’t to overwhelm you, but to work with you and help you make an informed choice. It’s at no cost to you, and can be done completely remote, so you can get on with running your business, and we’ll get on with making sure you’re doing it with optimised energy.”
If you’re one of the many Australian business owners keen to not only get a better deal on energy, but know you’ve got an expert on your side, call Choice Energy on 1300 304 448 or contact us here.