Assumptions we make about your energy consumption
- Estimating your usage
Where you do not have a bill handy, or where you are moving house, we use your Average Spend or Household size to estimate how much electricity and gas you use per year. Household size uses industry averages per state for energy usage by property type and number of persons per household. When you provide us with your average spend, we assume that you do not have any pay on time or guaranteed discounts; or any other discounts (such as sign up rewards or vouchers) associated with your account. We also assume you are on a "Standing Tariff" for your postcode as published by one of Australia's largest energy retailers.
A "Standing Tariff" is a basic plan that is required to be published by the largest energy retailers in the competitive markets of Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland. The plan is for customers who do not want to enter into a Market Contract and does not attract any discounts or incentives. Standing Tariffs are approved by each state based regulator.
Our estimate of your energy usage is provided in the top right hand corner on the page where we provide you a range of energy plans from our partners that are available to you. You can validate our estimate by comparing it to your actual energy bills
Once we have estimated your energy usage, the Switchwise calculator applies it the energy plans offered by our partner retailers in your location to provide you with an estimate of the costs of those plans over a 12 month period. It assumes the retailers do not change their prices over the period.
- We annualise your energy use where less than 12 months usage data is provided (relevant only for customers who are not moving house)
If you provide us with details of your actual energy usage for a month or a quarter or other period of less than 12 months we annualise this usage in making our calculations. So if you tell us your usage for a quarter we will multiply that usage by 4 to get an annual figure. Similarly, a monthly usage figure would be multiplied by 12 to get an annual figure. If the usage figure for the period in question is unusually high or low then your annual usage may be over or under-estimated and the estimated annual cost of the plans of our partner retailers may be correspondingly over- or under-estimated.
Usually a household's energy consumption will change from month to month depending upon the seasons and weather patterns. For example, if you experience unusually hot weather one month it would be normal to expect that your electricity consumption in that month would be higher than normal (assuming you use an air-conditioner or fan to cool down).
- We assume you have a single-rate meter if you do not provide detailed usage data (relevant only for customers who are not moving house)
As we are unable to determine the type of electricity meter you have at your property we assume you have a single-rate meter and that you therefore pay the same rate for all your electricity consumption 24/7 unless you actually provide us with detailed usage data form your bills..
Single rate meters are currently the most common meter type. However, there are different meters such as a two-rate meter, where you have off-peak hot water heating for example, or a time-of-use meter, which allow for different rates to be charged across three daily time intervals. If you do have a different meter to a single rate meter, this will not be reflected in our estimated cost for the plans of our partner retailers. ,. However, if you select a plan from one of our partner retailers, they will determine your correct meter type and send you as part of your welcome pack the pricing information for that meter type. Remember that you have a 10 business day cooling-off period to cancel should you be unhappy with the rates provided by your new supplier.
If you want to get the most accurate estimate for the cost of the plans offered by our partner retailers we recommend that you take the time to enter usage information from your energy bills into our search form.
Please note that using the usage estimation options provides estimates only - every household has a different consumption pattern depending upon many factors resulting in unique yearly costs and savings but the usage assumptions we make should still provide you with a good relative ranking of our range of plans from cheapest to most expensive.
Assumptions we make about electricity and gas tariffs
- Potential savings are estimated on the basis of current tariffs
The estimated costs displayed on the search results page are calculated only for the first 12 months of the plan and are based upon the usage and other information you tell us. These estimated costs are based upon each relevant retailer's current published tariffs and do not factor in future price changes.
Energy suppliers do not usually offer fixed price (tariff) contracts. They will usually change their prices periodically so you must understand that the tariffs quoted today could change at any point in the future and this might impact the level of savings you could achieve by switching. Unfortunately, we do not have a crystal ball so we cannot make predictions about future price changes or other new offers that might become available. We base our calculations upon the pricing information provided to us by our partner retailers which is also approved by them prior to the release of any price or plan updates.
- A range of estimated costs and savings is displayed for homes in suburbs with multiple distribution networks
If your home is located in a suburb where there are multiple electricity and/or gas distribution networks, our calculator will estimate costs and savings for all network areas in your suburb. In such a situation our search results table will display a range of costs and savings for each applicable retailer and plan. Upon receipt of your completed application your new energy supplier will confirm which distribution network is applicable to your property and the tariffs that will apply.
- A range of estimated costs may be displayed where off-peak usage data is provided
If your home has a two-rate electricity meter to support a dedicated off-peak electricity appliance such as electric hot water or storage heating (also called off-peak controlled load) there might be a range of off-peak tariffs that could apply depending upon the type of appliance you have. When you enter off-peak usage data into our search form our calculator will estimate costs and savings for all relevant off-peak tariffs and our search results table will display a range of costs for each applicable retailer and plan. Upon receipt of your completed application your new electricity supplier will confirm which off-peak tariff is applicable to your property.
There is a slight variation to this rule for Victorian residents, where there are five sets of off-peak controlled load tariffs that can be bundled with the single rate GD/GR tariff as well as a separate 'Winner' time-of-use tariff any which of could apply to your property. When you enter off-peak usage data our calculator will estimate costs and savings across all these six tariff types and display the results as a range. Click on this link to read more about off-peak electricity in Victoria. Upon receipt of your completed application your new electricity supplier will confirm whether one of the five controlled load off-peak tariffs or the time-of-use tariff is applicable to your property.
Assumptions we make about discounts and bonuses
- We assume you qualify for all discounts and bonuses associated with each plan offered by our partner retailers
We assume you qualify for all discounts and bonuses associated with each plan offered by our partner retailers that is displayed in our search results table. Clicking on view details for any plan shown in the results table will display all the details of that plan including what has and hasn't been included in the cost and calculation.
Each supplier usually offers different discounts, bonuses and other incentives to reduce the amount you pay for your electricity and gas. The most common form of discounting used by energy retailers is to offer pay-on-time discounts, which means that you only receive a discount if you pay your bills before the due date. Some retailers also offer standard discounts, which mean you receive a discount regardless of whether you pay your bills on time. A few suppliers also offer sign-up rebates or bonuses which are credited to your energy bills - usually spread over a couple of billing periods or credited on your next bill after your first 12 months.
The first year cost estimates for each electricity or gas plan shown on the Switchwise website are calculated by determining the electricity and/or gas tariffs applicable to your home, multiplying them by your annualised electricity and/or gas consumption and deducting any applicable discounts and first-year bonuses or rebates. The Switchwise calculator assumes that you pay your bills on time.
- We assume you will stay with your new supplier for a minimum of 12 months
The Switchwise calculator assumes that you intend to stay with your new supplier for a minimum period of 12 months. It is important to note that any sign-up bonuses or rebates are often one-off amounts and do not occur each year. In other words, you would receive bonuses or rebates only in the first year so the savings you could receive in the second year would be lower by the amount of the bonus. If you are likely to remain with your new supplier for several years then you should take this into account when choosing a new energy supplier and plan.
- We do not include gifts and other incentives in the estimated savings figures
The Switchwise calculator does not include the value of benefits given to you as a customer but not credited to your energy bills. Some energy providers might offer cash vouchers for use in their retail shops or to offset the cost of other services they offer. Others might offer free gifts such as a gift card, magazine subscriptions, movie tickets or DVD players. These types of incentives are not included in the cost and savings calculations we make as we believe either that their value is too subjective or that they do not actually reduce the size of your energy bills. However, if such incentives are of benefit to you personally and you value them then you should factor this into your final decision about which supplier and plan to select.
Switchwise is a useful tool to provide a comparison of the costs of a range of energy suppliers and plans available in your suburb. We recommend that you also use other information sources such as energy suppliers' websites to assist you to determine the right supplier and plan for your particular situation.