How to Find Savings on Your Business Energy Bills in Australia
It’s natural for anyone running a business to think about ways to save on running costs. One of the best ways of doing this is by choosing a smart business energy plan.
Not too many entrepreneurs are aware of the long term cost-saving benefits of conducting a market comparison of different energy rates.
To find a great energy plan it is important to get one that reflects your businesses electricity and gas needs. In short, each energy bill a business receives covers the amount of energy you use, at what time energy is used and the access to the network.
At Make It Cheaper, we work with businesses of all sizes to find an electricity and gas retailer with a plan to suit their needs.
Every month our energy experts save Australian businesses and households thousands of dollars off their energy bills by reviewing what they are paying now against multiple retailers to find a competitive plan.
It all starts with a simple phone call to Make It Cheaper. Our energy experts will then begin the process by conducting a free energy bill review.
Why Should You Consider Switching Your Gas and Electricity Providers?
Australian energy prices tend to skyrocket for business. We have found that at least 80% of Australians are paying too much for energy usage. In fact, prices rose as much as 17% in the gas crisis of 2016 and 2017.
As recently as 2019, a countrywide energy analysis reflected these relatively high prices. SMEs consuming 20,000 - 100,000 kWh of electricity each year pay around $2,120 -$7,940 for electricity.
The consequences of failing to compare different plans are real. On average, SMEs can pay $1,100 more for electricity per year.
During unprecedented times such as these, every dollar saved counts.
Australian businesses need a dependable energy supply. But a business doesn’t necessarily need to retain the same provider to get the best plan. Make It Cheaper looks through our extensive provider panel to find the best options.
Finding a good energy deal can really cushion businesses.
Make it Cheaper was able to make this a reality for Ben Walker of Port MacDonnell Dairying. The team helped this South Australia based farm save $9,000 off their annual energy bills.
“I didn’t even realise that we weren’t getting a power discount for our usage and Make it Cheaper brought that to light and saved us 20% on our power which is marvellous. The team at Make it Cheaper were super easy to deal with, the process was really straight forward and they understood my business. Make it Cheaper helped us save over $9000 worth of electricity per year – that’s over a truckload of hay for us.”
Watch Ben’s savings story here.
Other reasons drive SMEs to switch business energy providers. Or complete energy market comparisons. They include:
- Going green. More energy retailers now offer both sustainable and renewable electricity and gas options. Businesses looking for cleaner energy now have the choice of retail plans such as wind, hydro, solar, and biomass.
For SMEs looking to reduce their environmental impact, our team can help find greener energy plans.
- Moving business locations. In some cases, SMEs may need to change addresses. This may prompt the need for a new energy plan. This is especially urgent when a current energy contract comes to an end, or if the business moves away from a deregulated state.
Deregulation is the removal of retail price regulation set by the government for private companies. While most Australian States are under deregulation, some aren’t.
- Changing business energy requirements. When a business is scaling up, they may outgrow their existing energy plans. An energy retailer comparison will help them find a new plan that suits their evolving needs.
Transition periods present excellent opportunities to review plans or options. In most cases, this is when a business can easily switch to a better deal or a cheaper electricity supplier.
- Switching over to one bundle. A great way to reduce business costs is by bundling plans. Combining your gas and electricity into one package. Or by consolidating all of your energy suppliers into one package with one supplier and one renewal date. It’s a simple way to save on your energy bills.
- Customer service delivery. With deregulation in place, business energy retailers now have to compete for customers. If a business is dealing with unsatisfactory customer service experience, they should consider making the switch.
Can All Australian Business Compare Energy Plans?
As much as recent years have reflected high Australian energy prices, prices are lowering for customers who stay on competitive market offers.
Current electricity plans could be cheaper than SMEs are aware of. Close monitoring of energy supply networks is still necessary. This is why bodies like the Australian Energy Regulator exist.
However, deregulation offers better outcomes for businesses.
SMEs located in the following states have the freedom to switch energy providers.
- New South Wales
- Southeast Queensland
- Coastal South Australia
- Victoria or the Australian Capital Territory
Due to low competition, some regions in Australia are still under government regulation. These are:
- Regional Queensland
- Northern Territory
- Western Australia
Some SMEs in Western Australian residents can choose their provider. This only applies to premises using less than 50-megawatt hours (mWh) of electricity per annum. The business should also be located within the South West Interconnected System.
How Make It Cheaper Renegotiates an SME’s Energy Contract
Make It Cheaper can do all the work, saving businesses so much time and hassle. Our team does it all. From the comparison, renegotiation and changeover to the new service provider.
First, we need to understand the terms outlined in an energy bill.
On average, each bill covers two broad costs. The bill accounts for the supply cost incurred by the energy providers’ supply costs. This goes for both electricity and gas.
The information on an energy bill gives our energy experts the information to find out what tariff a customer is on, any discounts they are receiving, their NMI and usage patterns. With this information, contract renegotiation is easier. In most cases, Make It Cheaper can find a more competitive energy provider.
When looking for a better electricity or gas deal Make It Cheaper considers the following:
- Contract terms. As we compare retail providers, we make sure to review their price terms. The electricity providers may offer plans with set time periods or fixed rates. Sometimes a customer can be on a cheaper rate, that will expire and they may end up on a higher cost plan. We help prevent that from happening.
- Business retail plans. We pay close attention to the plan an SME is on. Suppliers set the market retail plan prices. This means that they can change rates on a plan at any time.
The Australian energy regulator is there to make sure they stick to one obligation. They have a duty to let their customers know when their next bills are due. The good news is that many market retail plans have great discounts.
Otherwise, the government is responsible for setting standard retail prices. Their prices do tend to be higher than market retail plans. In this case, flexibility is limited. A business may only switch electricity providers twice in a year.
- Quality customer service. We look for suppliers who are capable of handling a full spectrum of service requests depending on your business energy requirements, from bill consolidation to green energy solutions.
Ideally, the best quality of customer service is one that can be accessed via phone and online.
Our energy experts at Make It Cheaper will, therefore:
- Take a detailed look at your current rates, discounts, your location, usage and when the time of day you use the most energy.
- Carefully consider contract terms that work for your business.
- Assess which electricity providers among our panel will suit your business. We can do this for your gas too.
- Find beneficial discounts, however we always look for the most competitive overall pricing and not the discount percentage which can often be misleading.
- Organise the transition to a new plan and cancel your previous plan.
- Offer you DiFY our auto renewal solution, so when your contract is about to expire, we automatically go out to market to find you a new one without you having to lift a finger.
The Retail Costs and Tariffs in an Energy Bill
There are certain terms found in an energy bill. Here’s a brief look at what they mean:
Daily supply charge: A fixed charge appearing on each bill. This charge is not based on the businesses energy usage. Rather, it goes to the daily cost of providing energy to their business.
Usage charges: These are unit charges payable for the total gas or electricity used by a business. The electricity provider calculates the bill using cents per kilowatt-hour (c/kWh). One unit charge covering the cost of gas prices is in cents per megajoule (c/MJ).
Consumption charge: This is a changeable cost that covers overall usage entirely. It sometimes looks different, depending on the retailer’s bill model.
The terms below do not show up on the retail electricity or gas bill. But they are part of the complete cost of energy too.
Retail costs. Approximately 20% of the gas bill and 10% of the electricity bill covers the cost of retail services. These services are already included in the energy plan. They include:
- Customer service
- Account management
- Bill processing (sending bills to the client)
Wholesale costs. One-third of an entire energy bill covers wholesale costs. The charges are paid to wholesalers responsible for gas extraction and electricity generation.
Network costs. These are charges paid to distributors of electricity and gas. Thus energy distributors are responsible for:
- Constructing, maintaining and operating electricity wires and gas pipes.
- Transporting and distributing gas and electricity to various homes or business premises.
5% of the entire bill is meant to cover green costs. These support continuing initiatives by the Australian government towards renewable energy. Examples being wind and solar energy.
Some energy retailers have dedicated green energy initiatives, if this is important to you, let your energy consultant know.
Comparing Energy Tariffs for SMEs
There are types of tariffs that apply to most SMEs. The choice is between single-rate tariffs or a specific time of use plan.
The specialists at Make It Cheaper help businesses make this comparison. We try to find cheaper rates based on your business energy needs.
Retail business electricity rates are separated into two categories. There is a fixed daily supply charge and a variable usage charge. Variable usage charges work around a specific business energy plan. In other words:
- Single rate business electricity tariffs. These are standard kWh rates. The rate is the same all throughout the year.
- Time of use business electricity tariffs. The energy provider uses different kWh rates. The tariff is dependent on the time of day during which the energy is used.
- Depending on the electricity providers, SMEs can find retail energy plans with 'peak and off-peak hour' rates. Peak hours are for time slots in the highest demand. Other retail plans offer ‘shoulder' rates. Shoulder periods occur between the peak and off-peak hours.
- Controlled load tariffs. These are unique or customised rates. They are used for independently metered appliances. These appliances mainly run during off-peak hours only. An appliance example is a timed electric hot water heater.
Our experts have an effective process here at Make It Cheaper.
We can compare current energy plans for SMEs against our great panel of providers. We analyse each providers’ definition of peak or off-peak hours.
This research allows us to maximise negotiations. The intent is to find rates that match each business’ electricity usage. We also look into any discounts a business could have missed.
Making the Energy Switch: The Comparison Checklist
There are a few considerations that go into renegotiating a provider contract.
Termination fee clauses- for residential & small business accounts these are usually minimal
There are terms of exit outlined in most electricity plans. Knowing the cost does help make switching planning easier.
Make It Cheaper researches possible usage discounts tied to an ongoing contract too. We found that some providers show these discounts on the bill. We use that to find electricity deals with the most value.
Pending bills or invoices.
Before we switch business to a new provider, any pending debts or due invoices should be sorted.
Certain business energy plans have financial hardship agreements. This is a great feature to have. But it might limit a business from switching to another retailer.
Some providers don’t double bill SMEs after switching as long as all overdue invoices are cleared.
Accessing new business energy needs.
A small business employing less than 10 employees has completely different needs from an 8000 room hotel. The same goes for the needs of a printing press or a busy restaurant.
Before comparing energy providers, Make It Cheaper checks the level of electricity and gas each business needs.
The best way to figure out consumption is by reviewing energy bills.
Business Electricity Rate Discounts
Many retailers offer discounted energy plans to retail businesses. But because of minimal marketing, some SMEs miss out. We have been able to find highly competitive providers and electricity deals for them.
Business energy needs may look the same but prices can still vary. Pricing packages all depend on energy retailers. The possibility of finding different plans for each business need is high.
This is why Make It Cheaper ensures that we compare as many energy plans as available. Price comparisons really assist in making informed decisions.
Why should you believe in our comparison service? We could save your company tens of thousands of dollars per year.
Business electricity plans fall under three main categories:
- Standard retail offers
- Negotiated market contracts
- Market offers
Aside from usage rates business energy providers offer two types of discounts. There are other discounts applicable during a changeover to a new plan. Our team can compare these two options to find one that suits each business.
- Conditional discounts: Set by the provider but based on specific conditions.
- Guaranteed discounts: Applied throughout the contract term and are less conditional.
New or continuing discounts offered by an energy retailer will have different features. This is a great reason to compare retailer to retailer. By maximising saving opportunities, your business will thrive.
Find the Right Energy Provider with Make It Cheaper
Make It Cheaper has been in service since 2009.
Between March 2010 and March 2020, we found savings of $358 million for our customers.
No time? We have a Do it For You service (DiFY) in place. While you are still on your current plan, we will get to work. We can come up with competitive electricity and gas providers for you.
Our service is absolutely free. There are no hidden costs or obligations.
Perhaps the thought of thinking about switching service providers seems too complicated. But that is why our team is here to help.
Our team is rigorous when assessing each energy plan.
It is very easy to get caught up with attractive new offers and discounts. In some cases, prices can go up after the discount period expires.
We pay attention to the right details. Our experts understand the Australian retail market. We pay close attention to any new tariffs or changes to electricity structures.
Our goal is to ensure that we find the best energy plan for your business goals.
Our process is quite simple, whether we are working with small, medium or large-sized businesses.
In minutes, our savings experts will search our network of Australian energy retailers to find you a better deal.
Compare plans with us today.