Money How to outfox soaring power bills

08:57  14 november  2017
08:57  14 november  2017 Source:   MSN

Is it time to fix your power costs?

  Is it time to fix your power costs? Few moments can induce greater sweaty-palmed terror in householders then approaching the letter box and finding inside a bill from the power company. Depending on which state you live in prices rose up to 20 percent on the first of July. And this at a time when wages are increasing at less than two percent on average.No wonder our greatest worry as a nation is power prices.But there is a little-used option to keep your power prices locked in. Fixed-rate energy plans mean you pay the one rate for power over the life of the contract.

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Local. How to outfox soaring power bills . Mum of two Tamika Hicks saw her power bill more than double between March and September.

When Melbourne mother-of-two Tamika Hicks opened her latest electricity bill, she almost fell off her chair.

"I really can't explain it. From the start of the year to the end of the year, my bill has more than doubled," she told A Current Affair.

In just three quarters, Ms Hicks's electricity bill had soared from $456 in March to $1023 in September.

The child care worker is at a loss as to why the amount had climbed so much.

"It doesn't make sense," she said.

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"March was over the summer period, so we had the air-conditioner on. In the September quarter, we were using the heater a bit more, but not as much as we were using the air-conditioner earlier in the year."

Ms Hicks said she and her husband had already been struggling with rising grocery prices and sport and school fees for their kids.

"All of our expenses are going up every year, and our wages aren't matching that," she said.

Ms Hicks's story is all too common now, with new research from iSelect revealing monthly household bills are rising at close to twice the rate of household income.

On average, Australians spend $2374 on their monthly mortgage or rent, and household bills - an increase of almost 40 percent in the past two years.

According to the data, 42 percent of Aussies feel overwhelmed by their rising bills and expenses, and 60 percent believe the high cost is having a negative impact on their life.

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Laura Crowden from iSelect said Australians could save money, particularly on their energy bills, if they shopped around.

"Only 44 percent of Aussies switched providers in the past year and those that got a better deal reported saving an average of $790, which adds up to around a staggering $4.3 billion nationwide," she said.

iSelect is a free service you can call that will help you get a better deal on household utilities, and personal finance products.

Tamika switched to AGL, on iSelect's advice, and now she's projected to save upwards of $500 a year on her electricity bills.

Big energy companies are also working in overdrive to try and win customers over, or keep them from switching providers.

Origin energy has just launched a new bill comparison website Savernator that provides instant personalised savings calculations to customers.

A customer with a rival company can upload their bill to the website, and it will work out how much they can save if they swap to Origin.

Energy Australia also has a new, competitive offer right now called Secure Saver.

The plan is available to selected households in Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland, and allows customers to fix their electricity and gas rates for up to two years.

EnergyAustralia's Chief Customer Officer Kim Clarke said the offer was an Australian first.

"A really important fact of this product as well, is that we make sure that if the prices do go down during that period, customers' prices will go down as well," she said.

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