Consumers’ focus on the cost of energy has grown razor-sharp in recent years, and none more so than older Australians on fixed incomes, who can’t afford for the cost of electricity or gas to eat up any more of their household budget.
That’s prompted many energy providers to offer deals and incentives to appeal to these price-conscious customers. But with so many products on the market, it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to making sure you are getting the best deal possible.
Of course, you can compare the best deals on the market thanks to comparison websites, but that’s not always helpful if you’re not sure what to look for to find a deal that has the right balance of benefits and charges for your circumstances.
To aid your search, we’ve put together a checklist of things to look out for or ask suppliers about, next time you’re shopping around for a new energy plan.
An easy way to reduce your energy bill is to take advantage of special offers for seniors. AGL Energy offer specific products for seniors with its Seniors Plus plan.
Offering fixed usage rates for 24 months and no lock-in contracts, AGL Seniors Plus is available to over-60s living in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, with plans for both gas and electricity. Fixed rates mean you don’t have to worry about energy price fluctuations on your usage charges, while no lock-ins allow you to continue to shop around for a deal that suits you better if prices should fall.
The plans also offer rewards, including a $30 credit on the electricity plan and a $25 credit on the gas plan every six months throughout your two-year plan, along with AGL Rewards (an incentives programs that gives members access to discounts on a range of products and services, from mobile phones to electrical goods and travel) and flybuys points. You can learn more about AGL’s rewards program here and we talk more in depth about rewards below.
And you can still claim the Seniors or Pensioners Card discounts that all energy providers are required to provide card-holders, which means your bill is discounted twice, as we explain below under rebates and concessions. AGL Energy also operates a 24/7 customer support helpline solely for its Seniors Plus customers. To find out more, you can check out the plan’s basic information document here.
Many providers now recognise that low supply charges are not enough and so offer a range of added incentives in a bid to win over potential customers. One way they do this is by partnering with external rewards schemes to offer benefits exclusively to their customers.
AGL customers get access to AGL Rewards. This rewards program lets you enjoy discounts on movie tickets, groceries, fuel and popular restaurants. AGL’s Seniors Plus customers may also be able to accrue flybuys points simply by consuming energy. These points can then be used to shop at a variety of big brands ranging from Target to Coles and eBay. Find out if you’re eligible here.
As with any contract, it is essential to read the details carefully – and that includes what can be a lot of fine print.
This is particularly important where discounts or special offers are involved because many benefits actually only apply for the first 12 months or less, rather than the duration of the contract. However, AGL Energy offers fixed usage rates for the entire 24-month duration of its Seniors Plus plans so you can be assured the usage rates that are a part of your deal won’t suddenly change.
While discounts are great, not all providers offer them. However, there is another way that you can reduce the cost of your energy usage.
The state governments in Australia offer energy concession rebates and grants for older Australians who hold a relevant concession card within your state. The discounts available vary from state to state and may apply to both your gas and electricity invoices; for example pensioners in Victoria may receive up to 17.5 percent off their bill. For more information on government concessions and how they might apply to you, visit AGL’s helpful concessions and rebates page.
Some providers, including AGL, apply the annual concession amount to customers’ bills automatically if you’re eligible, so it’s important to ask suppliers if they offer this convenient service when you’re shopping around.
IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your financial situation, objectives or needs. That means it’s not financial product advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a financial decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get independent, licensed financial services advice.
AGL have special energy plans for seniors. There are no fees for paying your bills at Australia Post or for receiving paper bills. Plus, you benefit from 24/7 support via our dedicated seniors line and you receive access to AGL Rewards, so you can enjoy discounts on movie tickets, groceries and more.