Are you paying too much for your power bills?

Over the past year or two, I have sometimes heard friends talking about how
most of us are paying through the nose for our power and the huge discounts
that are available, if you get off your bum and ask for them. But like most of
us, ringing up my electricity and gas service provider to talk about anything
is about as inviting as a trip to the dentist. So I put it off. And off. And

Until finally, fed up just one too many times by what seemed to be
ridiculously high electricity and gas bills, I bit the bullet and 
telephoned my power company.

I won’t mention the name of my power service provider as I don’t want to
give it free advertising and I assume that all power companies, or at least,
all Australian ones, are the same in the way they operate. I have been with the
one company, in one or another of its permutations, for ten or more years. For
the last couple of years I’ve been getting an 11% discount on my electricity
and gas bills if I pay them on time. (Before that, there was virtually no
discount at all.)

Anyway, I finally pulled my finger out and phoned my service provider. Half
an hour later, I am advised that I will now get a whopping 34% off my
electricity bills and 27% off my gas bills (as long as I pay them on time).

Looking back at my power bills last year, and the year before that –

I said the same to my service provider and she said, matter-of-factly and
politely, that it is always best to pop into your power service provider’s
website around this time of year to see the latest deals on offer; as if
everybody knows that – as if it’s okay for power companies to charge exorbitant
rates to their long standing customers who don’t know they are being ripped
off, and up to the customers themselves to ensure that they are not being
ripped off.

So this is the way power companies operate: it is up to the customer to shop
around and find the best deals for him or herself, otherwise we WILL and WE ARE
ALLOWED TO charge our customers through the nose.

In this system, people who are more educated and internet-savvy get the best
deals for their electricity and gas; whereas pensioners, poor people and people
with less education – those who don’t tend to jump onto websites to compare
prices, and who would rather eat chopped liver than telephone their power
company – continue to pay exorbitant prices.

This system rewards people who already have the advantage and are likely to
be richer. It disadvantages people who are already disadvantaged and are

Is this way of doing things legal? It seems to be. Is it fair? No.

I suggest that anyone who has been procrastinating like me and not getting
around to phoning their power company to get a better deal : JUMP ON YOUR POWER
was vaguely ask for a better deal and they gave me 34% off without batting an

Then jump onto the phone or however you talk to your family, and ask your
Mum, Dad, Grandma and Grandpa and any of your relations what sort of discount
their power company gives them on their electricity and gas. Tell them to ring
up their power service provider to get a better deal and if they reply, ‘No,
I’d rather eat chopped liver,’ then get another family member to ring up the
service provider for them, and ask the company to match that 34% discount.

Which the power company will, because they know they never should have been
charging your Mum/Dad/Grandma/Grandpa those exorbitant prices in the first
place, and that even with that large discount the company is still laughing all
the way to the bank.

Postcript: if you do contact your power company and get a better deal
than 34% please let us know in your comments. If you’d like to know which power
service provider I am with, just ask in the comments and I’ll tell you.