Easy way to save $622 a year
CHOICE says it has helped Australians save a combined $1 million on their annual electricity bills since launching its electricity switching service in May.
The consumer group says customers have saved an average of $622 by using its website CanISaveOnEnergy.com.au.
While Choice declined to reveal numbers, that would work out to about 1600 people so far.
Customers in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and southeast Queensland can simply scan a copy of their bill and upload it to the website.
A team then analyses the bill to determine whether a better deal is available out of more than 3000 offers tracked by an automated system.
"We do quarterly research into cost of living concerns, and consistently energy is number one or two, electricity particularly," said Choice spokeswoman Nicky Breen.
"We know Australians are worried about their electricity prices, and we decided we can intervene and save them money."
The website uses an analytical system developed by energy economist Dr Bruce Mountain to estimate the customer's annual bill if they don't switch, as opposed to going with the best deal on the market.
It gives the customer an estimate of their possible savings.
For a $99 annual fee, Choice will then take over and manage the customer's account and will switch the customer's electricity provider "every time we find you a better deal" in that 12-month period.
"We'll do the hard work, call the energy providers," Ms Breen said.
"We know electricity is a big concern, it's estimated 10 per cent of people switch energy providers simply to save money, but something we've come across is it's really complicated to change. What we do is take the pain out of that."
Ms Breen said there were "hidden costs" to using free online comparison sites.
"They take commissions, we know around $250 per customer," she said.
"What this means is those sites don't have your best interests at heart, they may not provide the best deal and you may not have access to all deals. We have three times as many and don't take commissions. That's the reason we charge a one-off fee, we're committed to getting the best deal possible."
According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry, energy prices increased by 56 per cent between 2007-08 and 2017-18, with the average household now spending $1636 a year.