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AGL is one of the leading suppliers of gas and electricity in Australia. More than two thirds of Australian households got their gas supply from AGL in 2019-20, while more than a fifth of households used the supplier for electricity in the same year. Given that AGL has existed for longer than Australia has used electric power, these numbers are perhaps not surprising.
Starting from supplying the gas for street lighting in Sydney, the company now supplies gas and electricity to residential and business customers in five Australian states. In recent times, the company has positioned itself as an “integrated essential service provider” and offers Internet plans in addition to energy plans. For AGL customers, bundling gas, electricity and internet from AGL could mean a more significant discount.
What you need to know about AGL’s gas and electricity plans
Whether you are applying for a new electricity and gas connection or switching energy providers, an important first step is to compare and confirm that you can get the most suitable plans and tariffs in your neighbourhood. You can easily compare the energy plans offered by different suppliers in your area on websites like RateCity.
However, you may still need to speak to the provider and ensure that they provide the plan you’re interested in at your address.
This entire process requires knowing the kind of questions to ask and some terms to look out for. For instance, if you visit AGL Energy’s website and check the electricity and gas plans offered in New South Wales (NSW), you’ll notice the following terms.
- Fixed and variable rates: AGL offers a fixed-rate plan (currently called Essentials Plus) and a variable-rate plan (named AGL Basics). Customers opting for a fixed-rate plan will have to pay the same electricity or gas tariff for which they signed up for the length of their contract with AGL. While they get a credit on their energy bill for selecting this plan, they may lose out on any savings if AGL decreases its usage charges.
At present, AGL also offers an energy bill credit for customers who go for a variable-rate plan but for a shorter duration of 12 months (compared to 24 months for fixed-rate plan customers). However, these customers have to bear the uncertainty of a fluctuating energy price and can’t accurately predict their household energy expenditure.
- Contracts: As a privately-owned energy retailer, AGL can offer its customers various energy plans, which are also called market contracts. The terms and conditions of such contracts are controlled by AGL and can be changed at any time. However, in NSW, South Australia, and southeast Queensland, AGL is also required to offer electricity customers standing contracts governed by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER). The energy prices stipulated in such standing offers cannot exceed the cap determined annually by the AER. Similarly, in Victoria, AGL’s electricity rates have to comply with the Victorian Default Offer (VDO).
- Tariffs: Choosing the right tariff can make a significant difference to your household’s energy expenses, but it’s important to know how you use electricity. You can choose a time-of-use tariff that lowers your electricity usage charge if you use more electricity during some hours of the day. You could also get a separate meter for specific appliances by opting for a controlled load tariff. AGL’s gas rates, on the other hand, usually don’t have such variations, although the provider may charge you more for gas usage beyond a specified level.
When comparing AGL’s energy plans with those of other retailers, consider checking the retailer’s basic plan documents. You should also remember to check their fixed costs, which can sometimes exceed the usage charges. These costs include the cost of supplying electricity or gas charged by the distribution network, as well as retail charges for connection and disconnection and for terminating a contract early.
Some of AGL’s energy plans, for instance, don’t require customers to pay an exit fee if they end their contract ahead of time. Depending on where you live, your electricity bill could also include a cost for environmental schemes. However, you can look for rebates and discounts to bring down your energy bill.
How can I get the best AGL gas and electricity rates?
Choosing an energy plan suitable for your household can become more manageable if you first estimate your energy needs and gauge your preference for buying electricity or gas. For instance, a larger family may require more energy in the kitchen and may use more appliances. Having a gas connection could lower the energy costs in such a case.
However, if you don’t live in a neighbourhood with many gas customers, you may end up paying a higher fixed cost which effectively cancels out any savings in usage charges. The best energy plan may not be the one with the most affordable rates, as there can be other considerations.
If you prefer to buy both electricity and gas, you can choose one of AGL’s combined plans that can offer a significant saving compared to separate connections. Such plans are available almost everywhere except for Western Australia, where the electricity market is regulated, and AGL only retails gas. You can compare one of AGL’s gas plans or electricity plans with a combined electricity and gas plans to understand the exact savings available to you. Note that AGL may offer several combined plans in your area, each with different electricity tariffs.
Also, many Aussies are choosing to install solar panels on the property and using the energy generated. Many energy retailers, including AGL, offer a solar feed-in tariff whereby people can receive energy bill credits in exchange for the unused electricity generated from such solar installations. AGL’s Solar Savers plan is specifically designed to attract customers who’ve installed solar panels generating less than 10 kW of electricity and claims to offer a higher solar feed-in tariff than most other energy plans. Customers using solar energy can also choose an appropriate electricity tariff, such as a time-of-use tariff, to maximise their energy savings.
You should also check if the electricity plan offered to you includes Green Energy, which means that the electricity supplied to your home by AGL is purchased from renewable sources, such as solar farms. While this can be more expensive than buying electricity from non-renewable sources, it may appeal to customers who are more environmentally conscious. Typically, AGL offers customers the choice of sourcing 10 per cent, 20 per cent, or 100 per cent of the electricity they use from renewable sources.
Apart from choosing a preferred energy mix and suitable electricity tariffs, you should also check the credits, discounts, and rewards offered with different energy plans. Energy laws in Australia require AGL and other retailers to offer customers comparisons with a reference plan. Accordingly, the advertised energy plans may mention the difference between the price offered and the reference price. You could get a further discount if you choose to make payments through a direct debit arrangement or by making payments before the due date for each billing cycle. Some plans, such as AGL’s Residental Seniors Plus plan, cater to a specific category of customers and give them discounts irrespective of how or when they pay.
Many of AGL’s residential energy customers may be eligible for their loyalty rewards program, a benefit that many Aussies find attractive. Such rewards include preferential deals for AGL customers when they shop for certain brands or from select retailers. Alternatively, Aussies with a Flybuys membership could receive Flybuys points if they’ve provided their membership details to AGL. Every time an eligible customer pays an energy bill, they receive Flybuys points in proportion to the amount of the bill, with customers who’ve opted for eBilling likely to get more points. AGL customers can look up the details of such rewards through their online account and redeem offers they may be eligible for.
Are Click Energy customers now served by AGL Energy?
AGL acquired Click Energy, which offered services to over 200,000 energy customers in NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria, in September 2020. Click Energy was previously owned by amaysim Australia Limited. As part of the acquisition process, AGL identified that 94 per cent of Click Energy customers had signed up for energy plans similar to plans offered by AGL, which meant they could continue as AGL customers and still receive the same rates and discounts.
The remaining customers were informed that their Click Energy contract would expire in a month. Further, they were given the choice of switching to a standard retail contract or one of the market contracts offered by AGL, with no exit fees charged by either Click Energy or amaysim Energy.
Can I take my AGL gas and electricity connection with me when moving houses?
You may be able to transfer your existing energy connection to your new residence if AGL Energy also supplies to the new postcode. You should confirm and apply for transferring your connection as soon as you decide on a moving date to ensure you don’t suffer a service disruption at your new residence. You can submit and track your moving request online by logging into your AGL account. AGL offers a Power On guarantee to existing customers who give notice of moving at least one business day before the move, provided the energy meter installed at the new residence is easily accessible.
When moving to a new home, you should consider checking if AGL is indeed the most suitable provider at that address. For instance, a local retailer may offer cheaper energy plans or charge lesser retail fees. While choosing to continue with your present energy retailer may be convenient and hassle-free, you need to remember that energy costs can be a significant household expense. Even if AGL supplies your new postcode, you’d have to check if keeping the same energy plan accommodates any changes in your energy requirements and if the same discounts are available. This can be particularly the case if you are moving to another state where the climatic conditions are different, and you no longer need as much heating inside the house.
Suppose you are currently an AGL Energy customer, but you find a more suitable energy plan offered by another retailer. You can usually contact that retailer and apply for an energy connection. They will then process your application and also discuss terminating your contract directly with AGL. While you may not need to contact AGL, you will still receive a final energy bill from them. Remember that if you’ve not opted for eBilling, your bill could be sent to your old address unless you’ve updated your information with AGL.
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How to find cheap gas and electricity?
One of the best ways to find cheaper gas and electricity plans is to compare the plans offered by various service providers in your area. You can compare any perks or discounts available from the retailers and the standard costs and fees. You’ll also be able to calculate the estimated monthly, quarterly, and annual costs.
Be careful choosing based solely on these upfront perks or costs, however. These discounts or lower usage perks may end when the contract or benefit period expires on your current plan. When you compare online, you can often find a better plan.
Your total energy bill includes supply and usage charges, which vary from one provider to another. You can shop around online to find a retailer that offers competitive prices on these charges and any other fees. Discounts can help reduce your bill, and it makes sense to review your bill and think about how to find cheaper gas and electric providers at least once a year.