THE cost of living is forcing most people to have a close look at where they can make savings.
The word ‘savings’ here is very optimistic, because these days you’re not going to spend less money than you used to, but more. So, ‘savings’ here means: minimising additional spending.
Power, gas and fuel have all gone up enormously, and it is important to find the lowest prices for them.
Fortunately, there are plenty of comparison websites which allow you to find the lowest prices.
If you live in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT, use www.energymadeeasy.gov.au to minimise your power and gas bills.
Victoria has its own comparison website www.compare.energy.vic.gov.au .
Western Australia and the Northern Territory are the odd ones out. For Western Australia, you can use www.comparethemarket.com.au/energy/western-australia-electricity/ , but be aware that it is a commercial comparison website and that there’s no guarantee all energy plans are represented.
The Northern Territory has no comparison website, but the Territory has only five registered energy retailers, which make comparing plans without the help of a website do-able.
Don’t let the name energymadeeasy.com.au fool you. Once you supply the information in your last bill, you will get a list of hundreds of plans, cheapest first and getting more expensive as you go down the list.
However, the assumption is that your energy use will not change. It may be, though, that you are minimising your energy use in light of recent developments, so that your last bill may not be entirely relevant.
As highlighted in THE VOICE, hot water tanks tend to gobble up a quarter of a home’s energy if turned on continuously. Switch it off when not needed, and your energy use is reduced.
Pay attention to the daily service charge and the kilowatt hours usage charges. For example, if you live by yourself, you may be using only a few kilowatt hours each day, which means that a few cents more or less won’t make a great difference. At the same time, it matters a great deal if the daily service charge is, say, 65 cents, or $1.10 a day. Generally, a lower kilowatt hour charge means a higher daily service charge.
A large household, on the other hand, may be better off paying a higher daily service charge while saving on the kilowatt hours charges, simply because the savings from those more than compensate for a higher daily service charge.
Also, pay heed to any setting-up fees, exit fees and what have you, and whether you’re on a contract or month-by-month. Can the provider increase their charges at any time?
Having said all that, it is definitely a good idea right now to do some comparing between energy providers.
Another important outgoing is for car fuel.
It goes without saying that when the litre price is high even for present circumstances, that you refuel by small amounts. When the litre price relaxes a bit, you keep the tank topped up.
NSW and the ACT share a comparison website www.fuelcheck.nsw.gov.au .
South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory all have their own car fuel comparison websites.
Only the Victorian and Queensland Governments have not provided this useful service. People in those two states can access commercial fuel comparison websites, such as www.petrolspy.com.au .
Generally speaking, commercial comparison websites have deals in place with the service providers whose prices they compare. It’s not that the information is necessarily inaccurate, but these websites may leave out information about providers who do not have a deal with them. So, it’s a matter of not taking such information as gospel.
Now is also the time to make sure that you claim any state or territory concessions you may qualify for. Click on the state or territory relevant to your circumstances for up-to-date and complete information:
- New South Wales
- Australian Capital Territory
- South Australia
- Western Australia
- Northern Territory