Like many South Australians, Jemma B and her family installed a solar system from Tandem Energy to help combat our notoriously high energy prices. However, as for many solar owners, this did not result in zero net energy bill, or even credit, at the end of the quarter. Jemma suspected that she was not getting the best energy deal from her current energy retailer, so she decided to go shopping.

Here began the arduous task of sifting through the myriad of retailers and energy deals. In the process, she discovered that the energy retailer comparison websites do not take into account where the discounts are being applied to the bill. (Choice has written an article around energy bill comparison sites if you want to read more about the potential pitfalls).

For example, some apply a discount of say 15% before GST is added, others after GST is added.

Some retailers take the pay on time discount off the entire bill after GST added, after the solar rebate is taken off, or only apply the discount off energy used and not off the supply charges.

Jemma put in a lot of work to get the best deal.  She told us, “I found that the comparison websites do not list all of the retailers, so I ended up ringing all of the energy retailers individually to find out where and how they applied discounts to the electricity bills. From here I created a table of all of the providers and printed out multiple copies to analyse them.”

Indeed, the exercise proved to be quite the task, but she did get results! She found a retailer who provided her with a 16c feed in tariff (a much better deal than the 6c she was receiving) resulting in a saving of $147.52 off her first bill. This, as well as pay on time discounts, resulted in her bill dropping from $506 to $292 for the quarter. Jemma says she hasn’t seen a bill that low for 15 years, before the four kids came along!

In addition to getting the right deal, household behaviours are also important. “I do all my washing, running of the dishwasher, using the clothes dryer (sparingly) throughout the day, one by one, in order to use my power being created, rather than doing it at night time and paying for power from the electricity grid. My next step is to wait for batteries to become more affordable, so I can store any excess solar power I create for night time use.” said Jemma.

Well done Jemma on your hard work! If you think you could be getting a better deal, the comparison websites can be a good place to start but don’t stop there. Shopping around can really pay off.

Of course, residential customers are not the only ones who can benefit from shopping around. Small to medium sized businesses owners are often left with the responsibility of procuring energy. If this is you, check out our new program, Together we are more powerful, helping small businesses participate fairly in our electricity market. Visit our website for more details or contact us directly to discuss your needs.