EnergyAustralia, one of the country’s leading energy retailers, today said there was still time for customers to avoid rises in electricity and gas tariffs for 2018 by signing up for Secure Saver, the company’s new rate-fix product.
Following a review of the company’s energy tariffs, the annual electricity bill for an average EnergyAustralia customer in Victoria will increase 14.9 per cent, or $278 a year, while gas will increase 13.5 per cent, or $192 a year. The changes are effective from January 2018.
However, Victorian households on Secure Saver are protected from the rises. This means on average Secure Saver customers could pay about $940 less for their energy over the next two years than those who do not sign up for the product.
EnergyAustralia Chief Customer Officer Kim Clarke said the cost of buying electricity on behalf of customers had surged in 2017 as big power stations closed and gas markets tightened. Wholesale electricity prices had increased around 55 per cent since the beginning of the year and this had flowed through to the latest round of rate rises, she said.
“Since August, calls to our contact centres are up 30 per cent and it’s easy to understand why: people are looking for a better deal on energy,” Ms Clarke said. “Household budgets are under real pressure and people are worried. Secure Saver puts customers back in control, allowing them to press pause on energy price increases for the next two years.”
Secure Saver, launched in October and available until 31 January 2018, combines in one package:
- Protection for customers from energy rate increases for two years while maintaining their ability to benefit if our market rates decrease
- A 30 per cent pay-on-time discount off electricity usage rates and 18 per cent off gas usage rates, and
- · A guarantee that customers will be placed on EnergyAustralia’s best new available plan at the end of the two-year benefit period.
“There are some costs a retailer can’t control. But here’s what we can do – we’ll give our customers the ability to avoid any rise in energy rates until 2019,” Ms Clarke said.
However, Secure Saver is a short-term antidote only. To help address high wholesale prices, EnergyAustralia has committed $1.5 billion to support new wind and solar energy projects with relatively short construction timeframes in Australia’s eastern states.
EnergyAustralia is also studying new technology to stabilise the energy system, including a 225-megawatt seawater pumped hydro project in South Australia and energy recovery in New South Wales.
“We think the pressure on electricity prices will start to ease around 2019. Secure Saver gives us time to get new supplies of electricity and gas into the system,” Ms Clarke said.
EnergyAustralia has also committed an additional $10 million to expanding its support for its vulnerable customers and for researching approaches to solving long-term, chronic financial hardship.
Secure Saver combines fixed-usage rates, fixed-daily supply charges and a pay-on-time discount on usage rates in one package. However, a customer’s bill will vary depending on the amount of energy used.
Households with EnergyAustralia for six months can opt-in to Go Neutral, a new, government-certified carbon neutral product that allows them to offset all the carbon emissions generated from their home’s electricity, at no cost to them.
For more information:
- Customers experiencing difficulty with their electricity bills are encouraged to contact EnergyAustralia: www.energyaustralia.com.au
- Secure Saver is available in selected areas only. For more on Secure Saver: www.energyaustralia.com.au/securesaver
- For an overview of what EnergyAustralia is doing to take pressure off electricity prices: www.energyaustralia.com.au/ourcustomers