The Financial Impact of Switching Energy, Water or Gas Supplier

7 min read

When was the last time you looked closely at your monthly utility bills? For many people, the answer to this question is probably never. It doesn’t exactly make for fascinating reading – but paying closer attention to your utilities could actually save you LOTS of money each year.
An increase in the time we spend at home, whether due to lockdowns, remote work or socialising, has also resulted in an increase in electricity, gas, phone and internet bills for most Australians. You could continue to cough up more without questioning it… or you could shop around for a new provider and potentially save yourself big bucks. It’s a little bit of effort that could yield major results.

Always negotiate for discounts and savings

For a start, if you’ve been with your current provider for a while, it’s worth seeing if they can do you a better deal as a long-term customer. Your loyalty is valuable to them, so it’s a good idea to give them a first chance to offer you a better deal.
Make sure you have all of the details of your account ready to go when you call, including your account number, the number of years you have been a customer and what you’ve been paying. It’s also a good idea to do a bit of research on rates for new customers with your current provider plus rates for other providers so you can use these as examples during your call.
Most importantly, stay calm at all times. There’s no point in getting upset during the call, even if you don’t get what you want. Remember you can always walk away and get a better deal somewhere else, so if they don’t fight to keep you as a customer then thank them for their help and let them know you will be exploring other options. The power is in your hands, and they know it.

Speak to managers or those in power

When negotiating with your current provider, don’t be afraid to escalate the issue to a senior manager if you don’t get a reasonable offer. As a customer, it’s entirely within your rights to request a higher level of service when you need it.
Maintain a respectful approach at all times, but if you feel like you are getting a slow or unsatisfactory response, then it’s sometimes useful to politely ask to speak to a manager to resolve the issue.

Be prepared to walk away

If you still don’t get a satisfactory offer or you’re unhappy with the service with your current provider, then you should consider walking away.
It’s advisable to assess the costs (both time and money) of doing this in advance so you know if it’s a path you’re willing to choose, and have this up your sleeve during your negotiation. You can even let your current provider know this is something you would consider.

Compare current provider vs competition

If you don’t get a better offer from your current provider then it’s time to look for a better deal. Start by doing a deep dive and look at all of the adverts, offers and promotions provided by all of the competition, and make a list of the best options available to you.
Also make a list of any issues you have with your current provider (such as late fees, service disruptions, contract restrictions) and think about whether these can be addressed by the competition.
It’s also very important to check your credit score as this can help you get a better deal. When you sign up to MoneyHub you can check your current score and make adjustments to improve the score, if needed.
Once you are ready to change, contact the provider with the best offer and see what they can do for you. When you find an option that works for you, go for it and politely contact your current provider to let them know you are moving on.

Don’t be afraid to ask for a better deal

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that YOU are in the driving seat when it comes to your utilities and you have every right to get good service and choose the best option for you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and remember the immortal words of JFK: “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.”
Not doing anything could mean putting up with poor service, excessive costs and bad customer support, and you deserve more than that. If that means staying with your current provider, or asking them for a better deal, then great. Or if you need to move to a new supplier then that’s okay too. Making a change can mean huge savings for you, especially over a period of years, and that’s definitely something worth fighting for.

The information in this blog post is general in nature and does not constitute personal financial or professional advice. It is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual. We do not guarantee the accuracy and completeness of the information and you should not rely on it. Before making any decisions, it is important for you to consider your personal situation, make independent enquiries and seek appropriate tax, legal and other professional advice.

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