You could be paying more than $700 too much for electricity
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You could be paying more than $700 too much for electricity

Queensland households on the market's worst electricity deals are overpaying between $705 and $775 a year compared to those on the best offers, new research shows.

Analysis by the St Vincent de Paul Society also reveals households that do not pay their bills on time are losing out on massive savings.

St Vincent de Paul's tariff-tracker report says households must shop around to pocket the savings on offer.

St Vincent de Paul's tariff-tracker report says households must shop around to pocket the savings on offer. Credit:Carla Gottgens

Customers on government-linked provider Alinta’s offer, for example, may pay $641 more each year if they do not pay by the due date.

Bills for all-electric households on AGL and Origin’s standing offers on the standard residential tariff (tariff 11) have dropped by around $40 since July 2017.

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But a household switching from Origin or AGL’s standing offer to the best available deal can save between $540 and $600 per annum.

Gavin Dufty, St Vincent de Paul’s social policy unit manager, said the report highlighted how the deregulation of the energy market had created significant price differences for the same essential service.

“There’s encouraging signs of energy bill relief for Queensland households,” Mr Dufty said.

“After a few years of significant price increases, there are falls in electricity prices and no change in gas prices.

“But don't be fooled, these prices will not be magically handed back to you.

“To pocket the savings, households will have put the squeeze on their energy company or actively shop around.

“People that haven't shopped around, or called their retailer to refresh their energy deals, are paying hundreds of dollars more than they need.”

About 20 per cent of south-east Queensland households are on the worst deals, according to the report.

Tariff 11 customers pay the same price for each unit of electricity used, whatever the time of day, plus a daily supply charge. As retail charges are no longer regulated, the supply charge varies between retailers.

St Vincent de Paul’s tariff-tracking report revealed Q Energy, Mojo, Energy Locals, Dodo and Red Energy were applying higher supply charges to their standing offers.

Since January, energy prices have tumbled thanks to a drop in wholesale costs, and unprecedented pressure from state and federal governments on power companies to provide consumers with a better deal.

For customers on the ‘time of use’ tariff (tariff 12), the annual bill has decreased by $60 (or 2%) since July 2016.

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This tariff has higher usage charges during peak times, such as week days in the summer months, with lower charges the rest of the time plus a daily supply charge.

Queensland households with a 3kW solar system installed were paying an average of $1420 annually, while households with a smaller 1.5kW system were paying $1835 each year.

Compared to last year, the average market offer for solar customers with 3 kW systems has decreased by $160 or about 10 per cent.

Mr Dufty also warned Queensland customers to watch out for the traps on some deals.

“If you regularly pay late you can not only lose your pay on time discount, but also get whacked by late fees, costing you hundreds of dollars per year,” Mr Dufty said.

“Solar households have also seen reductions in their annual costs. We are looking for this downwards price trend to continue as the Federal Government implements the recommendations from the ACCC report.”

Customers thinking of making the switch can compare energy plans on the Australian Government’s Energy Made Easy website.