CANBERRA REPORT: Want cheaper energy prices? Get cracking

For me, one of the many revelations of the current energy debate has been the large number of people who do not seek a better deal from their electricity and gas retailers. 

It may seem counterintuitive given current high prices, but the energy retail sector is actually very competitive.

The arrival of new retailers and the capacity for consumers to easily switch from one supplier to another has forced the companies to 'sharpen their pencils'. Retailers have been forced to offer discount deals to keep and attract customers.

Generally speaking, they don't come to existing customers with these special deals.

They leave it for them to take the initiative.

Further, the deals usually only last for one year. After that the customer needs to be proactive in signing up for a new deal.

So please, if you haven't done so, jump on the phone or your computer and secure a better deal today. Doing it online is really simple. A phone call (use the number on your bill) can be a little more difficult because you're likely to experience some time 'on hold' but once through, just say you want a better deal and ask what your options are.

Anything you select will be better than the standard arrangement you currently have.

Whether you are using the internet or phoning, have your account number ready and the rest is easy. Do it today and save a considerable amount of money.

SAVE WITH SOLAR

Another way of saving on your electricity account is to install roof-top solar. Depending on your consumption levels and the capacity of your solar system, you could save up to 50 per cent or even more each year.

I know some people are in a better position to afford the solar investment and even though interest-free payments are fairly widely available, you will still pay a bit more for the first four years or so. It's not for everyone, but it's worth considering. You'll have the option of including a battery in your system. A battery will not only let you save more, in the not-too-distant future cheaper technology will be available to allow you to run off the battery for a few hours in the event of a blackout.

Of course you won't just be saving money after the 'payback period', you'll be doing your bit for the environment. If you are considering an interest free payment system, please read the fine print. Late payments can often carry heavy penalties.


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