The simple trick to saving $400 in seconds
CONSUMERS are paying more than $2.4 billion by not switching electricity plans and losing out on hundreds of dollars in potential savings by not doing it properly.
And according to consumer advocacy group Choice, cosy deals between power companies and commission-driven switching sites aren't saving households as much as they think.
Choice spokesman Tom Godfrey said the electricity market has been stitched up by "these cosy deals with potential savings being siphoned off by industry through shadowy backroom deals".
Choice claims it can now save consumers more by helping people tap into hundreds of dollars in electricity savings.
Launching a new service today, canisaveonenergy.com.au, the consumer rights group claims it has cut out the middle man in the energy provider switching game, boosting savings for consumers.
"We've decided to intervene in the electricity market and cut out the commercial switching sites which are paid by energy companies to sell their products," Mr Godfrey said.
"We've found a new way to get people a fair and transparent deal on their energy bill, with trials of our new service delivering individual savings of up to $1500."
Just last month, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) estimated NSW households will be paying $434.08 more for electricity by the end of next year.
It also found Queenslanders will pay $313 more and Victoria $254 than if gas prices were at a level deemed reasonable by the competition regulator.
Mr Godfrey told news.com.au consumers were paying far too much for their power bills.
"In research conducted with our partner MI Retail Energy, Choice have found that seven out of 10 Australians should be paying less for energy," he said.
"We're overpaying an average $324 annually per household - sometimes over $1500 a year. "That's a potential $2 billion that we could be spending on more of the things that matter."
Mr Godfrey said while energy companies claimed to offer consumers a good deal, the reality was more complicated.
"Unless you keep changing your electricity provider, you are highly unlikely to be on the best available deal," he said.
"This is one market where failing to move your business can quite literally cost you hundreds of dollars a year."
However Mr Godfrey warned consumers could also get caught out by not switching to the best provider.
Mr Godfrey said Choice's new bill-checking service could save consumers hundreds of dollars in just minutes.
"Our service dynamically scans all the available deals on the market without you having to decipher the technical jargon," he said.
The service analyses your current bill, and then tells you if you could save money. You then have the option to sign up with an annual fee to take advantage of the better deal.
"Unlike conflicted commission-driven sites, if we can save you more than $99, you can pay for us to continue to monitor the market for you for the next 12 months. Every time we find you a better deal, we'll change providers for you."
Mr Godfrey said while comparison sites saved consumers money, there were often hidden costs with commercial sites.
"By not giving commissions to energy companies, and charging a $99 annual fee, we are able to put consumers first and give them a bigger share of the savings on offer," Mr Godfrey said.
The service acts as a personal agent of sorts, scanning consumers' bills and checking it against the best available options before switching.
However it only applies to those living in NSW, Victoria, South Australia and southeast Queensland.