Australian homes have two main sources of energy: gas and electricity.
Gas connections come in two forms – natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Natural gas is drawn from a mains line while LPG is consumed in large refillable tanks. Since natural gas is more common in Australian households, we will cover natural gas connections in this article.
Given the choice, should you go gas or electric? Let’s break it down for you.
Natural gas is readily available in NSW, VIC, WA, and SA. It is quite affordable but application may only be limited to heating, cooking, and drying clothes.
Electricity, on the other hand, powers almost your entire home – from lights to television sets to wall outlets. Some homes do not have a natural gas connection, but if both are available in your area, is it practical for you to sign up for both?
To weigh the benefits and drawbacks of electricity and gas, we have to look at the appliances that can run on both connections.
Heating and cooling systems are the top two consumers of energy in Australian homes. Hot water systems that are based on continuous heating keep water hot all the time. On the other hand, hot water systems that are based on stored heating will heat water only as required. The way they operate can already give you an idea which one is more expensive.
Compared to electric water heaters, gas water heaters are more energy-efficient and, therefore, cheaper to run. Hot water requires a lot of power, and because gas systems are more economical, homeowners can save thousands of dollars when heating water through a gas burner. Look at the energy efficiency rating at the back of your water heater to find out how much electricity or gas it consumes.
The same argument applies to space heaters. Gas heaters can quickly heat a small to a medium sized room. Even if they run throughout the winter, gas heater charges are lower compared to that of electric heaters.
While gas heaters are cheaper in the long run, they are more expensive to purchase and install. There are also fewer choices for gas-powered heaters compared to a plethora of models that run on electricity. Another disadvantage of gas heaters is the installation of a flue to eliminate toxic fumes. Also, the gas is been compressed through compressors and leakage of it could dangerous.
Gas stoves heat up more quickly than electric stoves, so they are more energy efficient and therefore cheaper to maintain.
Although modern technology has made vast improvements in the energy efficiency of electric stoves in recent years, but they still use more energy than gas stoves.
Electric cooktops have three distinct advantages:
Similar to stovetops, gas ovens heat up more quickly than their electric counterparts. Additionally, ovens consume a lot of power. Thus, energy efficiency should always be taken into consideration when choosing between gas and electric versions. Although gas ovens are more expensive to purchase, the long-term savings more than cover the price disadvantage.
Electric ovens are more widely available and often include more features than gas powered ovens but the high cost of electricity makes these ovens more expensive to run.
As with the other appliances on this list, gas clothes dryers are expensive to purchase but cheaper to maintain than electric dryers. Gas clothes dryers also require a flue to put out hazardous fumes.
When choosing between gas and electricity, one significant factor is the price of buying and installing the unit. Upfront prices can be high if you opt for a gas water heater. If you do not use your water heater all the time, the initial cost for purchase and installation might not be worth the long-term savings. In this case, it might be more practical to stick with electricity connections.
If natural gas connections are available in your area, you could save plenty of money by having some of your appliances run on gas instead of electricity.
The decision ultimately comes down to your energy consumption. Switching to gas could mean long-term savings if your family consumes plenty of hot water or cooks a lot.
If you do not plan to remain on the same property for a long time, purchasing a gas-powered heating, cooking or drying system may not be worth it.
Stop Paying Too Much On Electricity and Gas!
Many businesses are now making an effort to go "green" by adopting eco-friendly practices. If you are looking for an energy company that is conscious of its impact on the environment, we can help. This guide aims to compare the green ratings of Australia's top energy providers so you can determine which retailer to choose. Here, Green Ratings are Explained
A Quick Summary about Australia Green Ratings
What is the Green Electricity Guide?
The Green Electricity Guide (GEG) is an independent, unbiased, ranking of the green performance of all retailers across the states/territory that sell electricity to Australian households. Produced by the Total Environment Centre (TEC) and Greenpeace, this guide has been released in 2014, 2015 and 2018.
The 2014 and 2015 versions of the GEG scored retailers out of 10 points for an overall green rating. However, in the latest 2018 version, the GEG added a star scoring of 1 to 5 stars while still maintaining the 1-10 point scoring. Let's look closely at how the green scoring works.
How the GEG scoring works
The GEG ranks electricity retailers based on certain criteria, each of which is weighted according to its importance. The cumulative scores for each criterion are added to determine the overall score of each electricity retailer.
The GEG ranks electricity retailers based on:
What are the GEG star ratings?
The final score of each retailer determines its GEG star rating. Although the report uses the term "scores" and "stars" interchangeably, you can easily set them apart by checking if the rating is out of 5 or out of 10. Also, scores are always written in numbers, while stars are represented by a visual symbol.
Here's how scoring translates to star rating:
|Score (out of 10)||Stars (out of 5)|
|9.1 to 10||5|
|8.1 to 9||4.5|
|7.1 to 8||4|
|6.1 to 7||3.5|
|5.1 to 6||3|
|4.1 to 5||2.5|
|3.1 to 4||2|
|2.1 to 3||1.5|
|1.1 to 2||1|
|1 or less||0.5|
Best (and worst) 'green' electricity retailer
Even if you do not have time to go through the entire Green Electricity Guide, you can easily compare the green performance of different retailers as we have listed the scoring for some of the top companies here. Powershop and Diamond Energy are far and away from the best in this group while the majority of retailers poorly scored between 3 and 6, with three energy providers actually getting a score below 3.
|Electricity retailer||Green score|
|Dodo Power & Gas||4.4|
|Pacific Hydro Retail||4.4|
|Alinta Energy Retail||3.1|
Note: The table above represents the results of the 2018 Green Electricity Guide. For updated information on green retailers that operate in your state, check out our detailed energy provider guide.
Need more help? Try these 7 Tips for Spotting the Best Energy Provider For Me.
Finding the best energy brand in Australia is one of the most complicated tasks you can do. No energy company has, hands-down, the best plans, or deals out there. Even then, there are ways to pick the right business for you.
A variety of offers, plans, and even deals are available in an array of postcodes. We picked the three best energy brands overall to give you a simpler pick.
The top three energy brands in Australia we picked have a variety of advantages to them. Our general picks are for the price, customer service, and green credentials. Our energy finder has more granular ways to filter the right energy company for you.
With that said, we picked:
Our picks look deeper than the price and discounts itself. While we have a pick for “price,” we look into the value of the plans offered.
The most common trap is people picking the lowest numbers in a list, only to find limited discounts or restrictive plans. Compare the rates themselves between each company.
When it comes to price, the indie player ReAmped Energy offers good value. ReAmped is among the newer energy companies that give no conditional discounts. Its goal is to “simplify” the energy industry with their accessible tariff structures.
ReAmped has many non-traditional offers that tie into their low base rates. They offer some market contracts per state, with different options for each. ReAmped’s whole gimmick is they are 100% digital.
ReAmped offers online-only billing. You can sign-up online, do online chats, and get electronic bills. You can call a phone number, which then lets their team give you a callback.
They’re a robust option for people who don’t mind not having a brick and mortar provider. As always, it’s better to compare, but ReAmped Energy is superb for their value pricing.
AGL Energy is among the oldest energy brands in Australia. They’re the biggest electricity and gas company for a reason: their customer service is top-notch.
AGL offers electricity services in NSW, QLD, VIC, and SA. They have solar and green energy options too, though not every option is available in every area. What makes AGL great, however, are their customer service options.
Out of many energy companies in Australia, AGL has loyalty rewards. They give out discounts on gift cards, tickets, travel, and accommodation. Their value-added incentives balance with their robust customer service.
AGL is seldom the cheapest option, but they try to add value to their offers somewhere else. If you’re looking for a long-term energy brand to stay with, AGL pays dividends. They give more value in the longer run.
Powershop is Australia’s greenest energy brand for the past several years. Their green power initiatives make them 100% carbon neutral. Meridian Energy also owns them, which owns a 100% renewable energy generator.
Their energy offerings go as far as NSW, Southeast QLD, SA, and VIC. Through their “Powerpack,” homeowners can pre-purchase energy and be granular with their spending.
If you’re fine with more active involvement with your power, they’re the pick for you. If you instead not think about your power consumption every other month, however, it’s best to look somewhere.
Powershop is a different proposition for the average Australian. If you’re green-conscious, their green-energy credentials will be attractive for you. They’re much more than a simple protest vote against big energy companies.
When looking for the best energy brands in Australia, compare rates and see what value offers they can give to you. Consider what is essential - from value pricing, customer service, or green ratings.
Are you looking to find the right energy company for you? Use our comparison tools and find out the right company that fits your needs. Contact us today and find out how we can help you do the right pick.
Moving to a new house is both exciting and excruciating. It’s exciting because it’s the start of a new life in a new home, and excruciating because it involves a lot of work. Although moving is more than just a day’s work, it doesn’t mean it can’t be made easier.
Here is the checklist for you to navigate your way for a smooth and stress-free move.
Creating a calendar of events can make you see the packing and moving process in an organised manner, making you less likely to panic or break down due to stress. A calendar also makes you look at the things that you will need in the packing process, as well as the things you need to book in advance like a moving truck or company. Planning ahead can also help you get more things done efficiently.
Make sure that you have complete packing supplies like boxes, pens, markers, packaging tape, scissors, cleaning supplies, bubble wrap, and packing paper. Having all these supplies with you keeps you well on your packing schedule.
Packing is more than just stuffing your things in boxes. Start packing a few weeks before your move. By assessing your things early, you can determine how many boxes and containers you’ll need.
But before you start packing, purge out the things that you don’t need any more and donate them or throw them away. Finally, organise your items and start on those that you won’t be needing in the next few weeks.
Any task can be more easily done when you have some extra helping hands. Even your young’uns can assist you in their small ways like sorting small things or labelling boxes. You can also call family and friends to help you with packing, sorting, and cleaning. If you have toddlers and pets, it will be a good idea to hire babysitters and pet sitters.
To make unpacking easier, pack things per room and colour code their boxes. Label each box and provide a general description so you can find things easier. Mark also the most essential boxes, and make sure they are loaded last so that you can unload them first.
Make an inventory of your things as you pack them. Keep a separate box for the essential things that you will need immediately such as toiletries, medicines, and some clothes that you will use on the first night of the move.
Do not put valuables like jewellery, important documents like passport, birth and marriage certificates, in a box. Put them in a hand carry bag and make sure that you always have it with you.
A map of your new house can make your unpacking and organising easier. Know the floor area and measure the doors and other entryways to ensure that all your furniture will fit. Make a sketch of where you want to put your furniture and coordinate it with your hired movers.
Solar is booming in Australia, with solar power able to recently meet 100% of South Australia’s needs. Homes and businesses are investing in green energy now. If you’re looking towards solar, you want quality systems and affordable pricing. You need quick guide to solar power systems.
The cost of installing a solar system depends on many different factors. These crucial details can make or break a solar installation for you. These include:
The average solar power system costs around $10,000 for a 7 kW solar system, and this number is before the government rebates come in.
With the current prices of solar and small-scale technology certificates (STCs), you’ll get around $550 in rebates per kW. Calculating the rebate, the cost of a solar system should run at $6150.
These will vary from state to state. You would also need to account for the number of solar panels that you have.
Over time, a solar installation will pay for itself. A 10 kW system, for example, pays for itself in about 6 to 7 years, depending on the number of solar panels. There’s also the question of willingness to wait.
Solar panels are long-term solutions, not short-term installations. It takes years for them to pay for themselves, usually between 5 to 8 years.
Homeowners would need to be sure of the long-term investment they’re looking for. Solar panel installations can last between 20 to 30 years. You can expand the system over time too.
Many will think this is too much money, however it's best to understand the payback for solar and why they make valuable investments. You can also find installers who can help with the financing of your solar system.
Australia has many solar installers, and it’s avoiding inferior installers might be a bit challenging. You need to know what you’re getting into and do your homework. With such big money at stake, knowing is half the game.
The best way to find the right solar panel installer is to do lots and lots of research. The quote process needs to be intensive, getting quotes from at least a dozen installers.
You need to do your due diligence by reading reviews online. You need to take your time and make yourself a minor expert for the job at hand.
When talking to solar power installers, you want someone who looks at your house in detail. A local retailer should care to look at your home. They need to see your roofing and shading, and give you a proper recommendation for system size.
It’s easy to get a quote for the number of solar panels in the installation. It’s much harder to find someone who cares about the work.
Installations can run into some issues midway as not all solar installers will have everything planned once they do the work. Like with any trade installation, there is the potential of breakages occurring.
What matters is how they deal with the problems they create. You want an installer that will fix any tiles or roofing they break. They need to have specific people for the type of job.
Solar power is an excellent alternative to current energy sources in Australia. The technology is changing, and we’re at the peak of solar technology in the country.
If you want a solar installation, keep yourself abreast with the technology. Do your due diligence and compare solar installers as much as you can.
Find experts who can help streamline the list even further. Solar experts can help compare the best solar panel installation teams out there. Find out how you can get more energy savings today.
Electricity and gas bills make up a large part of the monthly expenses of an Australian household. Do you know what is in your current contract? Would you explore the idea of searching for another energy provider if it promises to save you money?
Price is not the only determining factor in finding the right electricity and gas plan for your family. While some may value the lowest available price, others prefer the versatility of no lock-in periods. For those who are passionate about the environment, the highest green energy rating is a top priority.
How to Find the Best Electricity and Gas Plan for Your Home
1. Do your own research
Online comparison tools are great if you are looking for a side-by-side review of different plans from different companies. The problem with heavily marketed comparison websites is that they do not include every plan available in your state. They often promote deals that offer a commission from the energy retailer.
You could do your own research and find the best plan for your home. Electricity retailers are required to publish a fact sheet for every plan they offer, and you can review these at www.energymadeeasy.gov.au
2. Read the fine print
You should know what to look for when comparing energy deals. Here are some of the things you must take note.
3. Standing contract vs. market contract
In standing contracts, electricity rates are regulated by the state or territory government. They cannot be changed by the energy retailer.
Market contracts, on the other hand, are flexible. They may offer discounts, rebates, and sign-up incentives to keep up with the highly competitive energy market.
The downside to market contracts is the lock-in period during which time you cannot switch to a different provider or pay an exit fee for ending your contract early.
4. Single rate vs. time-of-use
Time-of-use tariffs use a special meter to determine peak, shoulder and off-peak rates. If your schedule is flexible, then you can adjust your consumption habits to save money during off-peak time.
5. Bundle your electricity and gas accounts
Many retailers offer discounts and other incentives if you purchase electricity and gas under a single bundle plan. This is one of the easiest ways to reduce your monthly energy expenses.
Another advantage of combining your plans is you only have to deal with one company instead of separate accounts and providers.
If you are going to do this, make sure you check if the bundle rates plus incentives are indeed cheaper than purchasing electricity and gas from different retailers.
Stop paying too much on Electricity and Gas!
If you have been getting sky high electric bills in your household, don’t fret just yet! Instead of dreading the time of the month when you have to pay the bill, think of ways to lower your energy consumption. However, lowering your electricity bill could mean altering your lifestyle. You have to think of ways you can change the way you consume energy.
Start by looking at how you usually consume energy in your household. Ask the following questions:
After evaluating your energy usage, you may find that altering your habits and changing some of your appliances can make a huge difference in your next electricity bill. Here are six tips to help you save.
Heating and cooling your house is likely take up a big chunk of your energy consumption. During summer, maximise your natural insulation by making sure that the vents are open in your home.
To make sure that warm air goes out your house and the cool air stays in, open your windows during the night. Use curtains and blinds to keep heat and light out during daytime. Also consider having your roofs and walls insulated, this may cost you money but will surely benefit you in the long run.
During the colder months, keep the heat inside your house by letting in light and heat during the morning. Rather than using your heater all the time, use heavy curtains, insulate your windows and doorways, use warm water bottles and add extra blankets to your rooms. You can also make sure your heater is situated away from windows or other openings.
This may be something that all households take for granted. We often keep appliances like television, computers, electric fans, and lights on even when they are not being used. Make a habit of turning off appliances when you are not using them. During the day, take advantage of natural sunlight to light your rooms.
Your fridge may be contributing to your high electric costs without you even knowing it. Check if your fridge door is still working and in good condition and make sure that your fridge is set at the right temperature. Between -15° to -18° for your freezer and 3°C to 5°C for your fridge is the ideal temperature.
Make sure your kitchen appliances are energy efficient. Older devices usually need more electricity to run. Upgrade your appliances to newer and smaller ones and check if they have the energy efficient label on them.
Solar energy is slowly getting the rightful attention that it deserves. Not only is it energy efficient, but it’s also renewable energy so you can reduce your carbon footprint. Although initial installation is expensive, you can be sure that your electricity bill afterward will be significantly lower.
If you have done all these tips and you still feel like you’re paying a fortune, you might want to change your electricity supplier. A comparison website can help you compare the cheapest and most efficient energy provider in your area.
Follow these six tips and see the significant change in your electric bill. By doing some changes in your lifestyle, you can save up your money and conserve electricity for others for more important things.
Stop Paying Too Much On Electricity and Gas!
Read Here for Our ANZ Home Loan Review:
How do you feel about doing business with one of Australia’s Big Four banks? If it makes you feel more secure and confident about taking out a home loan from a leading banking institution, check out ANZ. If being in the top 4 is not enough, they bring more than 180 years of banking experience to the table.
ANZ is also the largest banking group in New Zealand and the Pacific region, and among the top 50 banks worldwide. They operate in more than 30 countries in Asia, Pacific, Europe, the Americas and the Middle East.
Like a true trailblazer, ANZ has recorded numerous achievements in the last 10 years. Here are a few of their accomplishments, especially in digital banking.
The Bank offers various home loan products for both occupiers and investors.
This is a flexible home loan that helps you adjust to changes in your life or spending power. It can be useful if you want to pay your loan off early or withdraw from the extra repayments that you have made.
The interest rate is fixed for two years on owner-occupied home loan under the ANZ Breakfree package.
This is a competitive variable rate home loan with basic features and no monthly fee.
This product combines home and residential investment loans with a choice of variable or fixed interest. It allows you to borrow more than 80% of the property value.
It Makes Heaps of Sense to Compare
There are a lot of home loan lenders to choose from. At Makes Cents, you can access more than 25 lenders to find the best rate and product. Start comparing today. Read our home loan reviews and see the various features loan providers can offer you.
Our ANZ Home Loan Review is just one of many.
In today’s day and age, having a bank account is necessary whoever you are and whatever you do. As much as we want to say that all banks are created equal, they are not. Each individual bank has differences, and these differences will make or break a bank for each customer, depending on certain habits and financial factors.
Choosing a bank can be a tad daunting at first, but finding the right bank for you is worth it. There are some things that you need to consider, however, before finally choosing to settle on a bank. These can include some of your personal preferences and habits.
[su_button url="/home-loan/" target="blank" style="soft" size="10" center="yes" radius="round"]Find a great Home Loan Now![/su_button]
Are you currently pondering on choosing a bank to settle with? Here are 7 useful tips for spotting the best bank for you.
Many banks have minimum fund requirements before they can let you open an account with them. Consider if you can meet the minimum amount before opening. Also make sure that you can maintain this amount since some banks will also have fees if you withdraw past the minimum maintenance amount.
Do you use the ATM often? Would you like to be able to deposit money through a machine? Are you into online banking? These are essential factors that you have to consider since not all banks will have these. Check with the bank that you’re considering.
Some banks have more ATM machines compared to others. Check if your bank has enough just in case. Even if you’re not one to use an ATM, having one around in case of an emergency can be a lifesaver. If you can, also try to check if their ATMs tend to go offline more than other banks do.
This is one of the most important, as some banks will require you to transact mainly with the branch where you first open your account.
Excellent customer service is always valuable, as in-bank visits are inevitable for all of us. Some things to look out for when checking the reviews for a bank include friendliness of staff, ethics, facilities, accessibility, and more.
Your money will generally be safer if the bank is credible, and is part of the Australian Government Guarantee Scheme. If so, then this should mean that even if the bank closes down, the money that you deposit into the bank is insured and you can still get at least part of it back.
Some banks will charge higher for overdraft fees, ATM usage fees, and have higher balance fees. Make sure that you check which banks have the lowest or the most acceptable rates for you. In addition to these, check the transaction records for the bank as they should give you an idea if the bank has any excess or hidden charges.
[su_button url="/home-loan/" target="blank" style="soft" size="10" center="yes" radius="round"]Find a great Home Loan Now![/su_button]
Read Here for Our Australian Unity Home Loan Review:
Real wellbeing is more than just being physically healthy; it is about your personal relationships both with people close to you and the community at large. Australian Unity agrees with this definition, and it has been looking after the wellbeing of its members since 1840.
As a member-owned company, it has the freedom to invest money back into products and services that are closest to the hearts of its members and customers. Taking out a home loan with Australian Unity means you can benefit from thoughtful services honed over the past 180 years.
Home loan products for owner-occupiers and investors
Australian Unity offers home loan products for both owner-occupiers and investors.
This is a no-fuss variable rate home loan with a one-time establishment fee of just $600. This is the product for you if you want the flexibility to make additional repayments whenever it suits you, or if you want a home loan that can pause repayments in case you lose your job or has a critical illness.
The simple, no-frills home loan product got you covered. It has a redraw facility so you can access your funds easily, which is free when you request online. What’s more, Kickstarter has no monthly or annual fees.
You can borrow up to 80% of your property’s value, or any amount between $200,000 and $1 million. Want to pay off your loan early? Just pay the $375 discharge fee, and it’s done.
This is a home loan package with lots of savings and extras. It has a 100% offset facility and free unlimited extra repayments. You can borrow between $200,000 and $2.5 million, or up to 80% of the value of your property.
If you want more savings, you’ll be glad to know that this package waives both the $600 establishment fee and $249 split fee. The Health Wealth Happiness Package has an unlimited redraw facility, free if done online or through their mobile banking app. It is suitable for people who want to earn discounts and save on fees, or to change from fixed to variable without the fuss and fees.
This loan is linked to a transaction account that has smartphone pay and PayID. You’ll also be able to use the ATMs of the Big 4 Banks for free. With this loan, you can even apply for a construction loan if you want to build or renovate your home.
This is suitable for people who only have a 10% deposit. It has the same features as Health Wealth Happiness Package, including loan amounts and terms, 100% offset facility, and unlimited additional repayments. The only difference is that this product requires establishment and split fees.
This is a fixed and variable interest rate loan with an option to add an offset account for just $10 per month. It comes with a $600 establishment fee, and you can borrow up to 90% of your property’s value. Redraw is free when you have a variable rate, and you are allowed to make unlimited extra repayments.
This package comes with extra benefits and savings, such as a low annual package fee of $399 and a 100% offset account. It has no ongoing annual fees, and you can borrow up to 90% of the property’s value. You can take out this loan even with just a 10% deposit.
Think this lender is great, but you want to be sure? You can compare them with over 25 home loan lenders at Makes Cents for your peace of mind. Act now!
Australian Unity Bank Australia Home Loan Review is just one of many.