Victorian households can fix their electricity and gas rates for up to two years – until 2019 – through a new product launched by EnergyAustralia, one of Australia’s leading energy retailers.
Secure Saver, available immediately, comes ahead of an annual industry-wide review of Victorian energy tariffs, with changes announced in early December 2017 and effective from January 2018.
EnergyAustralia Chief Customer Officer Kim Clarke said energy bills had increased by around 20 per cent this year in some states and the full impact of the Hazelwood power station closing and higher gas costs had yet to flow through to Victorian retail tariffs.
However, Ms Clarke said customers who take up Secure Saver will ensure they cap their electricity and gas to 2017 rates for the next two years while maintaining the ability to benefit from any reduction in tariffs.
"Our customers are worried about energy prices and not just what they are today, but what they’ll be tomorrow" Ms Clarke said. "That’s why we created Secure Saver; it’s for households which want the certainty of knowing their energy rates won’t go up – and can only come down – until 2019.
"It’s like hitting the pause button on some of the cost-of-living pressures people are under," she said.
While products like Secure Saver can play an important role in a comprehensive answer to energy affordability, they’re not long-term solutions on their own. A lasting solution requires significant investment in new electricity supply and for all of industry and state and federal governments to work together.
Ms Clarke said the major investments EnergyAustralia and other companies are making to build new supplies of cleaner energy should mean the pressure on electricity prices will ease, as soon as 2019. In the meantime, Secure Saver is an attempt by EnergyAustralia to ensure energy stays as affordable as possible.
"The truth is, taking the pressure off household electricity prices will take time and it won’t be easy. But until that happens households want to know they won’t be constantly asked to reach into their wallets time and again to keep the lights on; they want to feel like they’re in control of their energy," Ms Clarke said. "That’s the idea behind Secure Saver."
Secure Saver, which fixes gas and electricity usage rates and daily supply charges, provides customers with:
- Protection from rate increases while maintaining their ability to benefit from any rate decreases.
- A competitive pay-on-time discount off energy usage rates; and
- A guarantee customers will be placed on EnergyAustralia’s best new available plan at the end of the two-year benefit period.
Average electricity rates for EnergyAustralia residential customers in Victoria increased by 8.3 per cent for 2017 or $140 a year, while average gas rates increased 6.1 per cent, or around $77 a year. Since the changes were applied in January, wholesale electricity prices have increased by around 55 per cent.
To help address high wholesale prices, EnergyAustralia has committed $1.5 billion to support new supplies of wind and solar energy in Australia’s eastern states and is studying new technology to stabilise the energy system, like a 225-megawatt seawater pumped hydro project in South Australia and energy recovery in New South Wales.
While Secure Saver applies a fixed usage rates, fixed daily supply charges and pay-on-time discount, a customer’s bill may vary based on the amount of energy they use. It will be available until 31 January 2018.
Secure Saver is available in selected areas only. For more information on Secure Saver: www.energyaustralia.com.au/securesaver
For more on what EnergyAustralia is doing to take pressure off electricity prices: www.energyaustralia.com.au/ourcustomers