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Does it really make a difference to compare?

Your Electricity

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A lot of us get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and things like our electricity provider simply slip our mind. One mistake many of us make is thinking that all electricity companies are alike and will charge more or less the same prices; however, this is simply not true.

The differences in rates can add up to hundreds of dollars a year; and with a cost of living that keeps going up year after year, that's a few hundred dollars that can be put to good use elsewhere. So it really does make a difference to make an electricity comparison. Newcomers to Australia are among those who will benefit from doing an electricity comparison between energy retailers; unlike other countries where there is only one utility company that provides electricity, Victoria and New South Wales alone have well over a dozen providers each.

What happens is that some people who are new to the country will mistakenly think that the retailer recommended by a real estate agent is the only one that operates in the area. While citizens and long-time residents will be fully aware of that they have a choice, newcomers may not find out for several months and realize they have been paying too much for electricity that another provider could have sold them for a better price.

Why do prices vary so much?

There are several reasons why electricity prices can vary greatly from company to company and neighbourhood to neighbourhood. In general terms, areas that have older transmission and distribution networks require more repairs and maintenance, a cost the provider passes on to the customer. Therefore, two people who have contracts with the same provider in the same city might pay different prices if they live in different neighbourhoods; the area with the more efficient network will have lower prices.

Other than price, are there other ways to reduce electricity bills?

Simply answered, yes, there are. Because most homes in the state of Victoria are now equipped with smart meters which relay usage information to the provider in thirty minute intervals, customers can take advantage of cheaper off-peak rates and operate their energy-hungry appliances during off-peak times. Customers can also make their homes more energy efficient by installing double-paned windows, solar film or solar shades, and replacing old energy-inefficient machines with more modern models that require less power to run.

How can I do my own energy comparison?

A person who's got a lot of time on their hands can call each energy provider they find in the yellow pages, but the better way to compare electricity prices is to go online and take advantage of one of the many electricity provider comparison tools. You'll be asked to input some information like your postcode, and within seconds you'll have a comprehensive list of prices and plans from all retailers in your area. You can also ask your real estate agent for a list of energy providers in your neighbourhood.