Consumers lose: The true price of your power bill revealed 48



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If you thought you were paying too much for your electricity, you’re right, new research reveals.

There are new calls for the government to overhaul the energy market after retail margins for energy retailers have soared.

Research by St Vincent de Paul Society show the retail competition margin of gas and electricity retailers has risen to $600 per customer, making up a huge chunk of our electricity bills.

“The retail component of bills is too high in the deregulated, competitive electricity market,” the report found, says SMH.

“This is either because the cost of competition is high or because competition is ineffective.

“We have an energy retail market that ensures customers are paying over the odds for an essential service unless they annually dedicate time to compare energy plans and switch retailer”.

Shockingly, as much as 45 per cent of our electricity bill is paid to the retailer if you live in Victoria, with just 11 per cent of the bills reflecting the true cost of the electricity usage.

If you’re in NSW, the retail margin is 30 per cent.

The report also found that many households have not shopped around for the lowest prices on offer, and could be paying more than 50 per cent more for their electricity than households who have shopped around.

“There will always be customers who will not or cannot participate in the market, and allowing retailers to charge them a significant premium, just because they can, is not an acceptable outcome,” said Gavin Dufty, policy and research manager with the St Vincent de Paul Society.

“With the outrageous retail premiums that customers are currently being charged, we need the market model fixed rather than just blaming consumers for failing to shop around.

“In other markets, your contract expires and then the company has to ‘price to entice’ you to continue to use their service. There is no competitive pressure with energy. We need to address that market failure. The retail cost component looks very expensive: the more competition, the bigger the margin”.

So what can be done? Mr Dufty said the government needs to put competitive pressure on the market as the due diligence should not be left up to households. “People have got better things to do”.

Perhaps the reason why we don’t know who’s the cheapest or can’t get the best deal is because we’re confused: In Victoria, there are 18 energy retailers offering 4000 products.


Tell us, are you shocked at this information? Has your energy bill gone up? Have you shopped around? What should the government do?

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  1. We only have one power company in Tassie. Although I think the price of power is way too expensive because there is no competition and had some massive bills in my time, since being on a pension, I have found that even their attitude is different. I had a lot of fights with them over the years and found them not only unsympathetic but rude. Now if I have had occasion to talk to them, they are polite and helpful, even thrown in a joke or two. The great thing is pensioners get what I think is a pretty good discount here in Tassie from them.

  2. We only have one power company where I live. I do check my bill when it arrives and I am happy to say that the majority of my bill is usage. I am not complaining. Telstra is the one that I keep an eye on.

  3. I agree, however due to the rising costs while I was still working I wanted to make life easier for myself when I retired so I put SOLAR on and for the first 18 months my bills averaged out $200 per annum, then the power companies decided they were not happy with that so they increased their service fees so that now my annual bill is almost triple out of greed, yes I agree I’m still lucky that my bills are manageable however if something is not done and soon these GREEDY Companies will keep increasing their fees, just because they can.

  4. I have the choice of a few electricity providers where I live, I currently with Origin, so far they have been the best, they read the meter, unlike some companies but I am constantly being mailed and rang and door knocked to change companies. I think we are well and truly being overcharged and it will get worse for those on the grid because many are getting off the grid and getting solar panels and someone will have to pay for their departure and it will be us

    1 REPLY
    • Your provider is one of the most expensive. Try and get quotes from other such as Click.

  5. We got what we deserve, we voted in governments that deregulated power and submitted to biggest backhanded payment. We now need to show those in power that we expect our representatives to be representing us not business and certainly not their trough behaviour. They should get one term only to prove their worth then throw out the idiots that are not functioning, the hangers on, the wallet liners, the glory seekers. a state politician that spends three years having his picture taken at every social event in that electorate is not representing your interests. he is looking for reelection only so as to ensure his pension and perks.

  6. Which is exactly why it’s appalling that governments are selling off commodities which are imperative to our everyday living. Governments are supposed to be a service to the community, not a business to make profits, which is the sole reason a private company is in operation. If they cut back on unnecessary or wasteful spending of our money, (it never was theirs to do with what they please and then line their pockets with in retirement), and actually cared about their constituents, there would be no need to sell these necessities off.

  7. It is just fine for governments to support deregulation to provide competition to lower prices, but what about all those consumers who live in areas where there is only one provider, no competition there and no lower prices.

    1 REPLY
    • Depends on which state you live. In WA there is a uniform tariff policy. So it doesn’t matter where you live, the tariff is the same.

  8. What happened to the price going down when the Libs repealed the carbon tax? Say no more!

    6 REPLY
    • Glenice, we had a talk at our Probus meeting from a person who worked for an energy company who said the carbon tax had very little, if anything, to do with the price increases, yet the Libs said they would decrease with the abolition of same. Yes, private enterprise is to blame, and the costs of their infrastructure – private enterprise works both ways under the Labor or Libs , so why did the Libs blame the carbon tax. Total furfy it was.

    • Carbon tax was an extra cost on the generators of electricity. The Bligh Government and the independent regulator set the price structure for electricity in Queensland for five years and it is coming up for review. Now another Labor government is in they are already flagging no change except up. As announced last week the Labor government has paid itself 100% of the profits of the three government owned electricity providers as an alternative to reining in spending. This allows them to “tax” people indirectly through higher electricity prices while claiming the price is set by an independent body. Removing the carbon tax reduces costs for electricity providers which leads to increased profits. The state government has taken these profits so the providers aren’t in a position to pass savings on to consumers.

    • John I think some went down but the majority went up. Because the energy companies left the “infrastructure” in a mess, it eventually increased the price structure because it had to be fixed. This was told to us by an employee.

    • Poles and wires need to be maintained Christa. That’s a fact of life, and the costs to maintain are increasing. The reliability of supply is now much better than in the past as consumers expect and always on grid. That costs money.

  9. have tried but with solar panels and a pool they all say stay where you are

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