In 2017 the Turnbull Government acted to reduce cost of living pressures for Australians by helping them drive a better deal on their energy bills and petrol prices.
As the New Year starts, we are encouraging Australians to jump on online and pick up the phone to get a better deal by taking advantage of tools now available to help you achieve real savings on household essentials.
We have worked to deliver Australians the best possible deal from energy retailers.
Consumers can save as much as $1,000 by switching retailers. However, consumers are often forced to choose between hundreds of deals which can be hard to compare due to varying discounts and off-peak rates.
The Australian Energy Retailer’s (AER) online price comparison tool www.energymadeeasy.gov.au helps make this process easier to understand. It has now introduced new tools for more personalised advice, for example by enabling households to upload their existing energy bills.
Households can also call their energy retailer directly to ask for a better deal. Action taken by the Turnbull Government means energy retailers now have to notify customers when their energy discounts are about to finish. If you’re on a standard offer, they also have to tell you what alternatives are available.
Retailers have also agreed to produce user-friendly fact sheets to help consumers better understand the terms and conditions of their energy deal.
In August the Government secured an agreement from retailers to contact all customers who are on expired discounts to tell them how much they could save on a better deal. 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. This equates to a fall of around 18 per cent or almost 1 in 5.
Over the first quarter of 2017-18, the average number of weekly visits to the Energy Made Easy Website was around four times larger than the weekly average for 16-17. In all around 570,000 people visited the site in the first three months of 17-18, more than in the entire 16-17 year (600,000).
In addition, as of November more than 366,600 letters had been sent by energy retailers to customers who are on expired discounts, telling them how much they can save on a better deal. The Government is expecting a total of 1.84 million letters to be sent to households.
The Turnbull Government also understands petrol prices can put a strain on the family budget, especially around the holidays.
A number of fuel price websites and apps have been introduced which provide greater transparency in the petrol market.
These include MotorMouth and FuelCheck, and apps from the NRMA, 7-Eleven, and GasBuddy. These join existing apps, such as those from Woolworths and United.
By using these websites and apps consumers can shop around to ensure that they are not paying more than they need to.
The Turnbull Government will continue to act in 2018 to put further downward pressure on the cost of living for Australians including empowering consumers to get better deals.