Understanding energy companies

There are different companies that make, move and sell energy

The quality and reliability of our energy depends on the companies who make and move energy. You cannot choose these companies – they are based on the area you live.

You can, however, choose which company you buy your energy from.

 

You have the right to choose

In Victoria, there are over 20 energy retailers to choose from. You have the right to choose the best energy plan for your home.

Each company has a range of different prices for providing energy to your home – these are called energy plans.

With energy plans, you pay for every unit of energy you use plus a daily fee to bring energy to your home.

It is important to choose the right energy plan and energy company, as the difference in costs between energy companies and energy plans can be hundreds of dollars.

Good to know:

  • Your energy plan does not affect the quality and reliability of the energy you get – all households access the same electricity and gas.

  • Every company has many different energy plans. You and your neighbour can be with the same company but pay different prices for energy if you are on a different energy plan.

  • Energy prices change over time, so you need to regularly check that you are on the right plan for your household.

  • The Victorian Government has rules to make sure that your energy will stay connected even if your energy company stops operating. If this happens, your account will automatically be moved to another company.

 

Changing energy companies or energy plans

Changing energy plans is easy. It is not like mobile phone contracts – you do not have to pay out your contract. Just call the energy company you want to switch to and they will help you.

Good to know

  • Finding the very best plan for your home is easy with the Victorian Government’s free, independent website.

  • It is usually free to change energy companies and plans. At the most, you may have to pay $20 to change companies.

  • Government rules mean that your energy stays connected when changing company. Your new company will take care of moving your energy bill to them.

  • You only pay for the energy you are using with one company at a time (you will not get double charged).

 

Energy contracts and bills

Energy contracts

Once you choose a company to buy your energy from, you enter into a contract to pay for the energy they provide to your home. The contract sets out:

  • the prices you will pay for energy

  • how long your contract is for

  • whether you have to pay an exit fee to leave during the contract period

  • how often you will get your bill and how you can pay (direct debit, BPay, Post Office).

Energy bills

You can get monthly or quarterly bills for electricity and bi-monthly bills for gas.

There is important information on your bill. For tips on how to read your bill – see Understanding energy bills.

Everyone worries about their energy bills from time to time. The Victorian Government has rules to help anyone struggling to pay their bills. For more information see Payment difficulties.

 

End of contract

If you do not do anything at the end of your contract, you will automatically be put on the Victorian Default Offer – the government’s price for electricity or your companies best offer for gas.

Alternatively, you can go on Victorian Energy Compare to see if there is an even cheaper energy plan for you.

 

The Essential Services Commission is the regulator for energy in Victoria and is responsible for developing and enforcing the rules  – like the payment difficulties framework – that energy businesses must follow to make energy fair for all Victorians.

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