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s WARNING: Do you really need a loan today?*

It can be expensive to borrow small amounts of money and borrowing may not solve your money problems.


Check your options before you borrow:

  • For information about other options for managing bills and debts, call 1800 007 007 from anywhere in Australia to talk to a free and independent financial counsellor.
  • Talk to your electricity, gas, phone or water provider to see if you can work out a payment plan.
  • If you are on government benefits, ask if you can receive an advance from Centrelink: www.humanservices.gov.au/advancepayments

The Australian Government’s MoneySmart website shows you how small amount loans work and suggests other options that may help you.

*This statement is an Australian Government requirement under the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009

COMPARING ELECTRICITY AND GAS PLANS WHO HAS THE BEST DEAL?

Gas and electricity are a very competitive market with many providers to choose from so its no wonder customers become easily confused and overwhelmed.

Electricity

Electricity prices tend to vary from state to state so the first thing you need to do when comparing prices is ensure you are getting the best deal for your state.

When comparing electricity prices you need to collect your previous bills with your previous supplier, the more bills the better as it gives you a better idea of how much you usually spend and the differences between the seasons.

When comparing electricity plans and contracts the main point of reference will be price for most people.

However there are other things you might like to take into consideration like:

  • Exit fee’s – If you are leaving your current provider and being stung a nasty exit fee, you may want to look around for a new provider who doesn’t charge exit fee’s incase you want to change providers in the future.
  • Online account – Most providers are doing this these days as most companies have gone paperless, this can be handy for keeping an eye on your bills and charges and make paying them much easier.
  • Bill smoothing – Some companies are offering this service now where customers pay the same amount each bill no matter how much electricity they use. Look out for this when comparing your suppliers and see who offers the best deal!

How does the company figure out how much power to charge you?

There are two different kinds of tariff charges, a fixed charge and a usage charge.

A fixed charge is a fee that is charged by the company to supply your house with power.

A supply or usage charge is how much power you actually use and it is charged on top of the fixed charge.

Now that you have the basics down pat you can confidently go and check out the plans offered by the companies in your state and be able to understand the terminology and negotiate the best plan for you and your family.

Gas

What is natural gas?

When I think about gas most of the time I think of the old houses with the giant bottles that needed refilling before you got a hot shower!

Well not anymore! Many new homes have natural gas that is supplied from the street like our water. This can be used for things such as heating the houses hot water, gas cooking stove’s, fireplaces, washing machine’s and more.

There are only 10 gas suppliers in Australia so it makes it a little difficult to change gas suppliers if you live in one of the unlucky states that only have one supplier!

What are the fee’s that Gas Company’s charge?

Gas company’s also charge a fixed and usage charge.

A fixed charge is a fee that is charged by the company to supply your house with gas, much the same as electricity and it does not vary.

Usage charges are fees that are charged on top of the fixed fee’s and are comprised of one or a mixture of the following:

  • Single rate – is a flat rate and is charged at the same rate no matter what time of day it is.
  • Off-peak rate – Customers are charged different rates for different times of the day.
  • Block rate – You are charged by how many blocks you use.
  • Feed in rate – This is a rate for people with solar panels who actually get paid for the electricity that their panels produce.

When choosing a gas supplier you need to consider things such as:

  • Billing period – How often do you want to pay your bills check what your prospective company offers.
  • Tariffs – These are pretty important when it comes to choosing your gas supplier because it can decide how much your gas will cost.
  • Pay your bill on time and get discounts – Many companies offer big discounts for paying on time, something to consider!

In conclusion you now have a pretty good starting point on what the fine print on your bills are all about, so now you can go ahead and compare electricity and gas prices within your area and take advantage of all your options.