Reduce energy bills

Electricity bills are sent by your energy retailer. Check out this video below for a quick overview for what parts of your bill are important when you want to budget, find a new retailer or improve energy efficiency.

How to read your electricity bill

By understanding how much you spend on a monthly and annual basis, you can compare other retailers and make sure you are on the best plan for your home. There are two types of charges found on these bills.

Supply charge

This is a fixed, daily rate and includes the CitiPower or Powercor distribution costs to operating, maintaining and managing the network of poles, wires, and smart meters that deliver electricity to your home.

Our supply charges are fully regulated by the Australian Energy Regulator and set annually. On average they account for less than 30% of your total electricity costs.

Variable charges

These are based on the amount of electricity you consume in your home.

They can change based on the season, whether or not you have solar, and how energy efficient your appliances are.

The variable charges are set by your retailer and based on the type of energy plan you are on as well as when and how you use electricity. This is where you can have the most impact on reducing your bill.

As a distribution network, our role is to manage the smart meter that measures the amount of electricity you use in your home. Almost all of our customers have smart meters which send us data about their electricity supply every day. We then provide this information to the energy retailers. So the bills you receive are for the actual amount of electricity you have used, not an estimate.

The energy retailer then prepares your electricity bill based on the energy plan you’ve signed up to.

View an example energy bill.

More detailed information on how to read your bill is available through the Energy Made Easy fact sheet.

Choosing the right tariff can often lead to significant cost savings

You’ll see a reference to different tariffs on your electricity bill. A tariff is the cost for each unit of energy you use measured in kilowatts (kw). Most households are on a single (or flat) rate or time-of-use tariff for their variable charges.

The peak pricing periods are generally between 3.00pm and 9.00pm daily. Lower off-peak pricing has usually been overnight but from July 2021, a new Time of Use Tariff offers lower prices during the day as well. By using power in these new off-peak times, you’ll be making the most of the renewable energy available in the network.

When you are discussing your energy plan with your retailer, you have a choice about which type of tariff or pricing structure would suit your home and lifestyle.

  • Single rate tariffs: work well for families that need a low rate all day, everyday.
  • Time-of-use tariffs: there are various options depending on what kind of appliances you use and when. They are great for people who can plan for using their electricity at different times. For example, if you can schedule to use appliances like washing machines or dishwashers during off-peak times. Or if you have a solar PV or electric vehicle charger.
  • Controlled load tariffs: are usually only for appliances that run overnight or in off-peak times like water heaters or electric vehicle chargers.
  • Demand tariffs: measure how much you use electricity at a point in time, rather than usage over time like a peak demand charge.

Your home’s smart meter that is installed and managed by us, makes it possible for you to access a variety of tariffs.

Remember to take a look at your energy retailer’s Basic Plan Information Document for all the terms and conditions.

To find out more about which tariff would suit you, see the information available through the Australian Energy Foundation and Australian Energy Regulator.

If you are moving addresses or just want to make sure you are paying the right amount, you can compare energy plans offered by different electricity retailers.

Victorian residents can ask energy retailers for a Victorian Default Offer. This is a maximum flat rate set by the Essential Services Commission as a fair electricity deal for people who are unable or unwilling to engage in the retail energy market.

The default offer will not necessarily be the lowest price available to you. So you can use it to compare against energy plans offered by energy retailers.

It’s good to shop around to make sure you are getting the best electricity offer for your home.

Victorian Energy Compare is an independent, government website that uses information you provide about both your household and your energy bills to help find the best energy offers for you.

All you need is a recent bill with your National Meter Identifier (NMI) See image below for where you can find your NMI on your bill. Then visit the Victorian Government’s Energy Compare site to find the best energy offer for you.

Things to think about

There are many energy plans available and which one is best for you depends on factors like:

  • how long you want to sign up to a contract for
  • any fees the retailer may charge
  • discounts or special deals the retailer may offer
  • the best tariff for when you use electricity
  • whether you would prefer electricity generated by renewable energy sources (or Green Power)
  • if you have a rooftop solar system and are looking to export electricity to the network.

For advice on how to switch plans, view with Energy Made Easy checklist.