Want real savings on your energy bills? Think beyond discounts and rebates!

Energy is one of the essential services that we all cannot afford to lose. However, due to the price crunch that the energy industry is experiencing, the cost of electricity becomes really distressing for us. Having to worry every time the energy bills arrive makes us look for any discounts and rebates we can get. However, for financial viability, we should look for other value-added services and not just focus on minor discounts and rebates. Dealing with an energy broker should be more than just about money, there should be other value-added services that they should offer you. Here are the top 5 value-added services that you should look for before accepting your new energy deal:

1. Dedicated Account Manager

As you know over the last 10 years the energy prices have gone up 10 times. There are new discounts and offer coming in all the time. And now the change made by the government in the form of Victorian default offer and Default Market Offer. It can be extremely time consuming and confusing to keep on top of all these changes and also to make sense of how these changes affect you. Having a dedicated account manager who knows your lifestyle and usage pattern can take the guess work out of energy bills. This is a sure shot way to ensure you are always getting a great deal. A great deal that works for you.

2. Hassle-Free Switch

The job of an energy comparison company is to make sure to be at your service in any way possible. If you, as a customer, wish to switch to a better energy plan or retailer, the company should be able to help you make the switch smoothly and promptly. Keeping you informed with email communication about the status of your accounts comes in as a great value added service. Peace of mind is priceless.

3. An On-going Health Check

What good is it if your energy broker give you a good deal today and never checks back to see if you are constantly on a competitive offer. Periodic health check of your accounts is a great way to stay on top your bills and anyone who wants your business should at least offer this as a value add. You and your account deserve ongoing service commitment.

4. Moving houses Worry-free

How many stories have you heard about people moving into new properties and all the excitement watered down as they get in and there is no power. Candle light dinners can be romantic but not if its not by choice. Waiting in queue to talk to a customer service rep from your energy retailer who is most likely based somewhere overseas can be one of the most frustrating jobs especially when you have better things to do. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just send an email and everything worked like magic?

5. Lifestyle focused energy deals

Your energy bills should be match your lifestyle, and not the other way around. Energy bills shouldn’t be only about discounts and rebates but how to best manage your usage.


How would you like an offer that comes with free movie tickets for your family but charges you $5 extra per month on your energy bills? You are paying more on your energy bills but enjoying 1 evening per month on your energy retailer. What the cost/value of that? Find out how.

How to find and avoid hidden charges on your electricity bills?

I know power bills can be distressing. We are paying some of the highest power bills in the world right now. Things are tough and power retailers keep changing their pricing all the time. It is extremely challenging to keep a track of all that is changing (for the worse) in the energy industry.

With all this going on can you imagine finding an unknown charge on your bill? I don’t want to ask how that would make you feel because I know I would be furious to see something like that.

So, I thought I will list out a few charges to look out for.

After all, there is more to life than paying off expensive bills, right?

Here are the top 5 hidden fees you should look out for-

1. Paper Bill Fees

Paper is expensive and the logistics involved in transporting 'paper' from one place to another makes it even more expensive. If you receive your bill in the form of a paper bill, you are charged a certain fee by the retailer for receiving it by post. This fee can be up to $3 depending upon the retailer.
The best way to avoid this fee is by switching to eBilling or receiving the bill via email, this way you can circumvent these extra charges and also become environment-friendly!

2. Merchant Service Fees

It refers to the fee charged by a retailer/bank for paying your bills with a credit card. This is one of the most important fees that should be negotiated. This fee can be anywhere between 0.3% and 2% of the total bill depending upon the type of credit card you use and which retailer is charging it.
To avoid these added charges, see if you can pay the bills directly from your online banking portal, BPay or direct debit, instead of bearing the inconvenience of having to mail it yourself and paying postage fees.

3. Over The Counter Payment Fees

If you pay your bills over the counter at Australia Post, it may cost you $2 per payment (including GST).
The best way to avoid this fee is by paying your bills using BPay or direct debit, saving you the hassle of over the counter payments.

4. Late Payment Fees

This can be the most upsetting fee charged by the retailer for not paying your bill by the due date. The costliest, this fee is usually approx $10.

This is one fee you can avoid if you pay your bills on time. To be more organized and punctual and avoid such fees, you can set up the account with a direct debit, this way you can ensure that your bill will always be paid on time as long as there are sufficient funds in the nominated account.

5. Dishonor Fee

This fee is charged to you by a few retailers when you try to pay the bills by the direct debit account that has insufficient funds in it. The retailer might charge a dishonor fee usually between $10 to $20.
By ensuring that there are sufficient funds in your nominated account required for covering the bill amount, you easily avoid this fee. You can find this fee in the adjustment section on the front of the bill or the back page of the bill under all the charges.


These are some of the hidden charges to look out for but there can be quite a few other factors that would increase your bills too. As always, the easiest way to avoid the frustration is to talk to an expert. Compare energy rates and get a deal that best suits your needs.

Credit Checks When Switching Utility Providers – How Does It Affect My Credit Rating?

When switching utility providers, your credit rating is checked to ensure you are a good risk for the new provider. This is because utility providers want to make sure you will pay your bill on time.

What is Credit Rating?

A credit rating is a number that shows how likely you are to repay a loan on time. The higher the number, the better your credit rating. A good credit rating means you're a low-risk customer who is more likely to repay a loan on time.

How Credit Rating Affects Utility Service?

You will not have any problems switching utility providers if you have a good credit rating. However, if you have a poor credit rating, the new provider may require you to pay a higher deposit or may refuse to provide service to you altogether.

There are a few things you can do to improve your credit rating, such as:

  • Registering on the electoral roll
  • Making all your loan and credit card repayments on time
  • Keeping your debt levels low
  • Not applying for too much credit in a short period

If you're considering switching utility providers, checking your credit rating first is a good idea. This will give you an idea of whether the new provider will likely accept you. You can check your credit rating for free with Noddle. Sign up and create an account.

When reviewing your credit report, look for any inaccuracies dragging down your score. If you find any, you can dispute them with the credit reference agency.

If you have a poor credit rating, options are still available. Some utility providers offer basic bank accounts that come with a prepaid card. This means you can't go into debt and can only spend what's on the card. Alternatively, you could consider a guarantor loan, where someone else agrees to repay the loan if you can't.

Do Utility Credit Checks affect My Credit Rating?

When you switch utility providers, your new provider will do a 'soft' credit check. This means they'll look at your public records, such as whether you've been bankrupt or have had any CCJs (county court judgments) against you. They won't be able to see your complete credit history, but this information is enough for them to decide whether you're a good risk.

Utility credit checks will not affect your credit rating. This is because they are known as 'soft searches,' which are only visible to you and don't appear on your credit report.

On the other hand, a 'hard search' is visible to potential lenders and can impact your credit score. Hard searches are usually carried out when you apply for a loan, credit card, or mortgage.

Final Thoughts

When you switch utility providers, your new provider will carry out a 'soft' credit check. This means they'll look at your public records, such as whether you've been bankrupt or have had any CCJs against you. They won't be able to see your complete credit history, but this information is enough for them to decide whether you're a good risk. Utility credit checks will not affect your credit rating.

If you're thinking of switching utility providers, it's better to check your credit rating first. This will give you an idea of whether the new provider will likely accept you.