Victorian consumers are set to get cheaper energy bills from July 1.
Retailers will fight it out by offering cut-price deals to lure savvy customers comparing energy deals on a state government website.
From July 1, Victorians will receive $50 from the state just for comparing energy offers on the website.
Consumers could on average save $300 a year, and some household energy bills are likely to drop more than $1000 a year by changing deals.
The Sunday Herald Sun revealed the unprecedented $50 cashback payment, set aside in the forthcoming state budget.
That inducement followed the Sunday Herald Sun’s extensive Fair Go for Families campaign against rising power bills.
To get $50, users just need to visit victorianenergysaver.vic.gov.au from July 1 and before January 1 and enter their details. This will cost the government $50 million, with only one bonus given per household.
Simon Downes, spokesman for energy comparison website Canstar Blue, said the timing of new offers was a tactical move by retailers so they “stand out from the crowd” when people visited the government site.
“There could be millions of people logging on to it in a few weeks, so it would make sense that the retailers see it as an opportunity to stand out from the crowd,’’ he said.
“The best way to do this is to make sure they are competitively priced.
“There will be nowhere for the retailers to hide — if they are expensive, millions of people will find out.”
Already in the past month, energy giant AGL has increased the discount on its “set and forget” plan from 34 per cent to 38 per cent, and smaller retailer GloBird also cut its rates.
Mr Downes said AGL’s new deal could knock $100 off families’ annual bills.
Premier Daniel Andrews said retailers were now on notice to provide better deals and better prices for households, thanks to campaigns like that run by the Sunday Herald Sun.
“We know that by shopping around Victorians can save on average over $300 a year,” he said.
Alinta Energy’s executive director for retail markets, Jim Galvin, said the state’s cashback initiative was “positive for competition”.
“We encourage all customers to engage and to look closely at all retail offers,’’ he said.
Origin’s head of retail Jon Briskin said there were loads of incentives on offer for customers to sign up and help reduce their energy costs.
“There are many great deals available for customers who engage in the market,” Mr Briskin said.
“The most important thing for customers is to select a plan that is right for them — looking at any conditions attached to discounts, as well as other features that suit their lifestyle.”