If you live in Victoria, you might have noticed some changes to your energy bills.
We’d like to take you through them so you can have a good understanding of the changes and why they’ve been made.
Regardless of your political leanings, it’s worth acknowledging that the Victorian government is trying to make things better for consumers, in this case asking all energy companies to move to a standardised presentation of costs and charges.
The underlying premise is that the energy market can be confusing and so anywhere we can implement greater consistency across the entire industry will make it easier for the average person to understand and compare offers.
Most importantly, there has been no change to the rates and costs.
However, the layout and display of our bills is a bit different and, hopefully, clearer.
There are six places where important figures are displayed:
- Invoice Summary
- Best Offer advice
- Billing Details
- Meter Reads
- (Electricity or Gas) Charges
- Usage Graphs
The items that have changed are the Invoice Summary, Billing Details and Charges, where the dollars and cents amounts are now all shown inclusive of GST, and the Best Offer statement.
If you compare an older bill with a new bill, you’ll see that the rates used to be shown without GST, initially, with GST only added at the end total.
We now show the rates including GST upfront (as of July 1, 2019).
You can check out a sample version of each bill via our Understanding your bill page, with the contents of each section explained in plain language.
Here’s a snapshot of what you’ll find:
What is the Best Offer advice message?
We’ll review your energy plan regularly throughout the year to determine if it’s still the best plan for you. If we find a better one, this is where we’ll tell you on the bill.
It works like this: we use your annual usage data (or an estimate if we don’t have a full years’ worth of data available) to estimate your annual cost.
Then we run the numbers to see how much each of our other available plans would cost for the same usage profile.
If another plan would likely save you more than $22 – any less than that might not make a change worthwhile in reality – we’ll let you know. If none of our other plans will save you more than $22 a year, we’ll tell you that you’re already on the best deal.
If you’re not seeing this on your current bill, don’t worry. It’s in the process of being implemented and all customers will see it regularly every few months after October 1, 2019.
Has the discount percentage changed?
While the above items are legal requirements, we decided it was also a good time to make another important change, so we have changed the way we structure our price and our discounts for new products.
Again, you shouldn’t be concerned about what you’re paying, because the after-discount price hasn’t changed.
We determined that it was easier for customers to use a pricing structure that had a lower base rate. So, we lowered our base rates, which meant making our discount percentages smaller to end up with the same after-discount pricing.
The feedback we’ve received tells us that people like this way of pricing, and we’ll keep listening to customers and moving in the right direction.
As we’ve explained previously, we know we can’t be the cheapest for everyone, but we’re always working to find the sweet spot that allows us to offer as many people as possible the lowest rates.
At the same time, we continue to support any initiative that makes things easier to understand, more consistent and comparable, and simpler to navigate for all customers in what remains a constantly evolving industry.
You can find out more about the new bill layout here.