With many Australians concerned about the impact that potential fuel and energy price rises could have on their household budgets, the federal government is encouraging Aussies to make use of comparison tools to get more affordable deals.
According to Federal Treasurer, Scott Morrison, while Australians can save up to $1000 by switching energy retailers, choosing a deal from the hundreds of available discounts and off-peak rates can prove challenging.
In August 2017, energy retailers agreed to notify customers whose energy discounts are about to finish, and to advise what alternatives are available. Between securing this agreement and 31 October, over 100,000 fewer households are on market offers with expired benefit periods which had left them worse off – equating to a fall of around 18% or almost 1 in 5.
As of November 2017, more than 366,600 letters had been sent by energy retailers to customers, with the Government expecting a total of 1.84 million letters to be sent to households.
Also, according to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER), over the first quarter of 2017-18, the average number of weekly visits to comparison website, Energy Made Easy, was around four times larger than the weekly average for 2016-17. In all, around 570,000 people visited the site in the first three months of 2017-18.
Treasurer Scott Morrison also encouraged Australians to make use of fuel price comparison websites and apps to enjoy greater transparency in the petrol market, and to ensure that they are not paying more than they need to. This follows a previous announcement that the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has been given the power to monitor the prices, costs and profits relating to the supply of petroleum products and related services in Australia for the next two years.