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Relief in sight from electricity price hikes as ActewAGL offers 25% discount for customers opting to pay by direct debit

By Glynis Quinlan 12 June 2018 8

ACT’s main electricity provider, ActewAGL, is offering a 25 per cent discount for customers who sign up for it via their website.

Relief is in sight for Canberrans concerned about forecast price hikes in their household power bills with the ACT’s main electricity provider, ActewAGL, offering a 25 per cent discount for customers who sign up for it via their website.

According to ActewAGL, the deal more than compensates for the 14.29 per cent increase in the ACT’s residential electricity prices announced late last week by the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission – a move which was expected to cost Canberrans about $300 extra a year.

It means that Canberrans now have the opportunity to cut their electricity bills rather than suffer an increase, with the only catch seemingly being that customers signing up for the discount need to opt-in to pay their bills by direct debit and to receive their bills electronically.

Importantly, ActewAGL customers need to sign up for the 12-month ‘discount market offer’ via the website at www.actewagl.com.au and can’t just receive the discount automatically.

When The RiotACT tried it out we found that you could only access details about the discount offer through your current online account or through registering for an online account if you don’t currently have one.

Interestingly, we found that there was also a separate discount offer of 12 per cent for people who didn’t want to sign up for direct debit.

Many Canberrans were concerned at the ICRC’s recent announcement that the ACT’s regulated retail electricity prices could be increased by a maximum of 14 per cent for the financial year starting from July 1, 2018.

The ICRC said that if ActewAGL Retail increased prices by the full 14.29 per cent, this would translate to an increase of up to $299 in the annual bills (or about $5.73 a week) for a typical Canberra household consuming about 8,000 kWh per year.

The RiotACT’s readers showed their dismay at this news with comments such as “we can’t afford this”, “I’d like a wage increase of 14% please” and “we had a big rise last year as well”.

ACT Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, Shane Rattenbury last Friday wrote to ActewAGL chief executive Michael Costello asking whether ActewAGL could decrease or freeze its electricity prices for ACT customers given that on June 8 it announced that it would decrease prices for NSW, Queensland and South Australia.

ActewAGL Retail General Manager, Ayesha Razzaq, told The RiotACT that even after the 1 July increase of 14.29% announced by the ICRC, ACT residential electricity prices would still remain cheaper than in NSW.

“We recognise however that energy prices hit households hard and that’s why we are responding in two major ways,” Ms Razzaq said.

“Firstly we are offering a 25 per cent discount market offer on electricity usage for customers who sign up via our website www.actewagl.com.au.

“All ACT electricity customers are eligible for the market offer.

“We also know there are many in our community really struggling and we have a range of services to help,” Ms Razzaq said.

“In conjunction with the ACT Government we’ve created a half a million dollar Energy Support Fund.

“Through the fund, energy vouchers will be distributed through local community groups (Care Financial Counselling, Salvation Army Moneycare and St Vincent De Paul), who provide emergency relief services – providing people with direct support to help cover bills. Funds will also go to financial counselling services.”

Ms Razzaq said that ActewAGL doesn’t want any of its customers to go without this winter and encouraged those experiencing hardship to call ActewAGL’s Bill Helpline on 13 12 93.

Mr Rattenbury welcomed ActewAGL’s discount offer but also said it was important for Canberrans to shop around to get the best deal to suit their needs.

Shane Rattenbury has welcomed ActewAGL’s discount offer but also said it was important for Canberrans to shop around.

“The 25 per cent discount offer that’s been put out by Actew is very welcome,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“I think people should take this opportunity to sit down, look at their electricity account and make sure they are getting the best deal for them.

“There are a range of options out there. They have certain conditions attached to each of those options so I’d say to people, do have a look at what you’re currently signed up to, see if there is a better option for you, and ask the energy companies what the best deal is for you given your electricity usage.”

Another ACT electricity provider, Origin Energy, last week announced that it would freeze its base electricity tariffs in the ACT from July 1 in order to deliver modest relief from rising prices.

“We’ve absorbed higher costs in the ACT, turning what would have been an increase into a freeze on our base tariffs for our customers there,” said Origin Retail head Jon Briskin.

Mr Briskin said Origin Energy also has a current ‘Dual Fuel’ offer in the ACT, with a 25 per cent discount off both electricity and gas usage charges for customers who have both gas and electricity with the provider.

To see ActewAGL’s energy price fact sheets click here and scroll down.

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8 Responses to
Relief in sight from electricity price hikes as ActewAGL offers 25% discount for customers opting to pay by direct debit
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BlackLine 5:16 pm 16 Jun 18

Check out Origin Energy’s Origin Maximiser plan. They are already offering 25% discount, but aren’t putting up their current prices on 1 July 2018. For my situation as a low level user of gas and electricity it’s a better deal than the latest 25% discount from ActewAGL. Just have to remember to shop around again in 12 months time when the discount expires then their prices are not so good!

mc 11:40 pm 12 Jun 18

If you have solar then the feed in tariff varies between the different plans. The 25% discount plan pays you less for your solar. You may or may not be better on the 12.5% plan with a higher feed in tariff. (I only read a couple of plans….so many)

    realityskin 12:43 pm 13 Jun 18

    Offer only available to Residential customers. It is not available to customers receiving an 11.0c/Kwh solar tariff under ActewAGL’s ACTSmall-Generator Buyback scheme or the “1 for 1” scheme. Small-Generator Buyback rate of 8.0c/kWh applies to this offer.

    Pretty simple, you lose 3.0c/kWh if on the 25% off plan

    JohnH 3:10 pm 14 Jun 18

    I currently get only 6c/kWh so I would gain 2 c/kWh.

actcyclist 7:35 pm 12 Jun 18

I can’t believe how hard ACTEWAGL make it to understand your current plan and compare it to another one. The name of my plan is different depending on where I look so I have no idea whether the 25% offer is cheaper or not.
I suspect this is a bit of a scam actually because there is no mention of off peak or shoulder discounts, and removing those would wipe out most of the discount.
We need a better regulator in Canberra!

    JohnH 3:14 pm 14 Jun 18

    I agree that they make it hard. At the end of the article above it tells you how to get to the Fact sheets. The one for the 25% discounts does include Peak and Shoulder rates, but these have increased from those that apply to the current 12% discount plans.

Grimm 3:49 pm 12 Jun 18

Just tells me that ActewAGL are overcharging by at least 25%.

    chewy14 8:53 pm 12 Jun 18

    No, it means that due to recent reductions in the wholesale cost of electricity, they believe there’s a bit of wriggle room in the finances to get people on to direct debit and paperless contracts and prevent them moving to the competition.

    Then next year the prices will go up again and they’ve saved themselves administrative costs as well as made it less likely that customers will move.

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