We’ve all noticed electricity prices rising in the last year, and many Australians are starting to feel the pinch. If a bigger-than-usual bill has made you reconsider turning on the heater this winter, it may be time to switch energy providers.
In this guide, we’ll tell you how to change energy providers to get the best deal — and avoid scary surprises each month. Let’s get started.
Why should you change energy providers?
Depending on your circumstances, switching energy providers could be a smart move for a few reasons. When we first begin “adulting” we have no idea how to change energy providers. We often just go with the first energy provider we hear about, because it’s recommended by the real estate agency, or it’s the one that your parents or friends use. You might have even thought, “it doesn’t matter, they’re all the same.”
But this isn’t true. There are many different energy providers, and they all have different benefits and drawbacks that you should consider when picking the best one for you.
Things to consider include:
- Cost savings: Our Swag Financial Behaviours study found that nearly 1 in 2 (46%) of Australians struggle to pay for regular expenses like rent and groceries before payday comes around. Look for competitive rates to lower your energy costs and make things easier on your wallet.
- Renewable energy options: Consider providers that offer clean energy sources like solar, wind, or hydroelectric power.
- Customer service: Research the reputation of providers for responsive and helpful customer support.
- Reliability and outage response: Consider the provider’s track record in terms of power outage response times and overall service reliability.
- Bundled services and incentives: Look for additional benefits like discounts on other utilities, energy-efficient appliances, smart home devices, or rewards programs.
- Transparency and billing practices: Choose a provider that offers transparent billing and clear communication regarding rates and charges.
- Environmental commitment: Consider providers that prioritise sustainable practices and have a clear commitment to reducing carbon emissions.
- Reputation and reviews: Research customer reviews and ratings to gauge the overall satisfaction levels with the provider’s services.
- Local or community involvement: Some providers actively support local communities or charitable initiatives, which may align with your values.
Take 10 minutes to look into your energy provider with this checklist in mind. If you don’t think it ticks all the boxes, it might be time to look into how to change energy providers.
Is it difficult to switch energy providers?
Learning how to change energy providers may seem overwhelming, but it’s actually more easy breezy than you’d expect. Once you’ve picked a new provider, just give them a call and they’ll walk you through what you need to do.
They’ll take the stressful stuff off your hands by coordinating with your old provider on your behalf to ensure a smooth transition without any interruptions in your energy supply. After it’s all sorted, you’ll get a confirmation from the new provider, and they’ll start sending you bills according to the agreed terms.
A 5-step guide to switching energy providers
How to change energy providers: step 1
Research and compare: Start by researching different energy providers in your area. Look for providers that offer competitive rates, renewable energy options, good customer service, and other benefits that align with your needs.
Once you have a list of potential providers, compare their plans and pricing. Consider factors such as fixed-rate plans, variable-rate plans, contract lengths, and any additional fees or incentives. Calculate the potential savings you could achieve by switching.
Take into account that different providers can make things more simple by offering services like automatic deductions to avoid missed payments and deadlines.
How to change energy providers: step 2
Check your current contract: Learning how to change energy providers isn’t just about finding a new provider – you need to make sure your current provider is in the loop, too. Review the terms of your current contract. Take note of any termination fees, notice requirements, or contract end dates. Understanding these details will help you plan your switch effectively.
How to change energy providers: step 3
Contact your new provider: Once you’ve chosen a new provider, get in touch with them to initiate the switch. Provide them with your personal information, including your address, contact details, and current energy usage if requested.
They’ll guide you through the process and may ask for supporting documents. They will then coordinate the switch with your current provider on your behalf.
How to change energy providers: step 4
Meter reading and final bill: If you have a basic meter, arrange a final meter reading with your current provider to ensure an accurate final bill. If you have a smart meter, this may not be necessary as readings are automatically recorded. Pay any remaining balance to your current provider.
How to change energy providers: step 5
Enjoy your new energy supply: Once the switch is complete, you’ll start receiving energy from your new provider. Keep an eye on your bills to ensure they match the agreed-upon terms, and enjoy the benefits of your new energy service.
How long does it take when switching electricity providers?
The timeline can vary depending on a bunch of factors, like your meter type and the scheduled meter read. The process typically takes anywhere from a week to a few months, depending on the energy provider and your individual circumstances.
The type of meter you have makes a difference in how long the switch takes. If you have a basic meter that needs manual readings, the transfer is quicker as the providers coordinate. But if you’ve got a smart meter that automatically records and sends usage data, it takes longer because they need to sort out the coordination and configuration with the metering system.
It’s worth noting that while the transfer process can take some time, you shouldn’t experience any interruptions or loss of energy supply during the switch. Your current provider will continue to supply energy until the transfer is complete.
Do you need to be home during the switching process?
Typically, no. The only thing you need to worry about is making sure to switch off the electricity at the main switch before they get there. That way the technician can work their magic whether you’re there or not.
Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. If you’re unsure whether you need to be at home during the changeover, give them a call to confirm. In fact, if you’re unsure at any step while going through the process of how to change energy providers, asking for help is recommended.
Will there be any interruptions at home during the switch?
Luckily, no. While the energy will be turned over for the short time it takes to make the switch, it’s all over before you know it. Everything else happens in the back end and you shouldn’t notice a difference at all.
Are you looking for ways to save on energy bills?
We have an exciting feature soon to be released in Swag that aims to help you save on bills like electricity and gas to help fight the cost of living. This new feature will be called Bill Management.
Choose to deduct your bill payments straight from your payslip, to ensure a seamless bill cycle, making sure you never miss a payment. Join our waitlist to find out more on how you can streamline how you manage, view and pay for your bills.
So now you know how to change energy providers. Making the switch isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. You can make the switch in 5 simple steps, with the reassurance that you’ll be saving your sweet, sweet cash once you’re done.
The information in this article is current as at July 2023, and has been prepared by Employment Hero Pty Ltd (ABN 11 160 047 709) and its related bodies corporate (Employment Hero) for its Swag brand. The information in this article is general information provided in good faith without taking into account your personal circumstances, and financial situation or needs, and should not be relied on as professional advice. Some Information is based on data supplied by third parties and whilst such data is believed to be accurate, it has not been independently verified and no warranties are given that it is complete, accurate, up to date or fit for the purpose for which it is required. Employment Hero does not accept responsibility for any inaccuracy in such data and is not liable for any loss or damages arising directly or indirectly as a result of reliance on, use of or inability to use any information provided in this article. You should undertake your own research and seek professional legal, financial and taxation advice before making any important decisions or solely relying on the information in this article.